Spokesman of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps' (IRGC), Brigadier General Ramazan Sharif, has accused the media of misquoting recent remarks made by a veteran IRGC General, threatening to reduce Tel Aviv to ashes from the Lebanese territory.
Earlier on Tuesday, December 10, Mizan, a conservative website in Iran had cited the IRGC General Morteza Qorbani as saying, "If the Zionist regime (Israel) makes the smallest mistake toward Iran, we will reduce Tel Aviv to ashes from Lebanon."
While claiming that his words were "a response to Israeli statements about launching military action against Tehran," General Qorbani said, "Iran is not seeking to acquire nuclear weapons and Israel is too small to make any mistake toward Iran. If the Supreme Leader (Ayatollah Ali Khamenei) orders a missile attack against Israel, all Zionists will raise their hands and surrender."
Gen. Qorbani's remarks triggered a series of bitter criticism from Lebanese officials, including some closely allied to Tehran.
Lebanese caretaker Defense Minister Elias Bou Saab deplored Qorbani's comments as a violation of Lebanon's sovereignty.
Bou Saab, who belongs to the Free Patriotic Movement allied to Iran-backed Hezbollah, stressed, "The independence of the Lebanese must not be affected in any way."
"These statements are unfortunate and unacceptable. They are a violation of the sovereignty of Lebanon, which enjoys ties of friendship with Iran that should not infringe on its independent decision-making in any way, shape or form," Bou Saab twitted.
Lebanese Minister of Information, Jamal Al-Jarrah, also dismissed Qorbani's remarks, asserting, "Iran can defend itself however it wants, but Lebanon is not a mailbox for the IRGC and is not an arena for external use by any country. These words are completely unacceptable."
Now, the IRGC spokesman Ramazan Sharif has rushed in to downplay Qorbani's remarks.
"Reviews show that General Morteza Qorbani's remarks have been misinterpreted and misquoted by the media," General Sharif said on Wednesday, December 11.
The spokesman said, "General Qorbani in fact meant to speak of a response to Israel by possible various means and capacities."
Furthermore, according to Sharif, General Qorbani "is not an advisor to the IRGC commander at present," and works elsewhere at the Iranian Armed Forces.
However, local news outlets have frequently referred to Gen. Qorbani as the senior advisor to the IRGC Chief Commander, and an advisor to the Chief of Staff for the Armed Forces of the Islamic Republic of Iran, IRGC Major General Mohammad Hossein Baqeri (Bagheri).
As recently as May 25, 2019, Russia Today also presented Qorbani as a senior advisor to the IRGC Chief Commander.
Referring to Qorbani, as an adviser to Iran's military command who does not mince his words, RT cited him issuing a warning that should Washington "commit the slightest stupidity; we will send these ships to the bottom of the sea along with their crews and planes."
Iran, he promised, would do so "using two missiles or two new secret weapons." He did not specify what type of "secret weapons" he was referring to, RT reported.