Iran increased its military budget by 40 percent this year, allowing the Islamic Republic to provide financial and political support to Sunni and Shi’ite terror groups around the world, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman told the World Summit on Counter-Terrorism at the Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) in Herzliya Monday.
In a keynote address, Liberman compared Iran to the former Soviet Union, saying that as long as radical ideologies exist, they will breed violence and terror.
“After the Soviet Union fell apart, there was no more terrorism from the radical left,” Liberman said. “It’s the same way today: As long as radical Islam [is in power], it won’t be possible to beat it,” Liberman said.
The defense minister said that the two personalities driving radical Islam were both traceable to Iran: Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the cleric who oversaw the 1979 revolution and served as the country’s supreme leader until his death in 1989, and General Qassem Soleimani, the commander of the military’s Quds Force, an elite unit of the Revolutionary Guards unit.
He also said that Iran has a four-pronged approach to destroying Israel: Non-conventional weapons (nuclear program), conventional forces (support for Hezbollah), cyber attacks and terrorism. As a result, he said that Hezbollah is currently the most potent threat that Israel faces in conventional terms.
“Let me put it like this: Could Hezbollah exist without Iranian funding, technical support? No way. Could Hamas exist without Iran? Not a chance. Islamic Jihad? [Syrian dictator Bashar] Assad? Again, no chance,” Liberman said.