Iran's Hizbollah says ready to attack US, Israel
Tue Jul 18, 2006 2:09 PM ET
TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iran's Hizbollah, which claims links to the Lebanese group of the same name, said on Tuesday it stood ready to attack Israeli and U.S. interests worldwide.
"We have 2,000 volunteers who have registered since last year," said Iranian Hizbollah's spokesman Mojtaba Bigdeli, speaking by telephone from the central seminary city of Qom.
"They have been trained and they can become fully armed. We are ready to dispatch them to every corner of the world to jeopardise Israel and America's interests. We are only waiting for the Supreme Leader's green light to take action. If America wants to ignite World War Three ... we welcome it," he said.
Iranian religious organisations have made great public show of recruiting volunteers for "martyrdom-seeking operations" in recent years, usually threatening U.S. interests in case of any attack against the Islamic Republic's nuclear programme.
But there is no record of an Iranian volunteer from these recruitment campaigns taking part in an attack.
Iran's Hizbollah (Party of God) says it is spiritually bound to Shi'ite Muslim guerrillas in Lebanon but its command structure and funding are unclear.
Despite Iranian Hizbollah's insistence that it takes orders from Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei, government ministries say Hizbollah does not implement official policy. Iran's government has said it hopes for a diplomatic solution to the Israeli offensive in Lebanon.
While Iran did fund and support Lebanese Hizbollah during the 1980s, Tehran says it has not contributed troops or weapons in the latest violence. Israel says Iranian armaments have been fired against it.