WASHINGTON – Iran has supplied Hezbollah with more than 10,000 short-range rockets, most of which are deployed in southern Lebanon within reach of Israel, an Israeli diplomat said Thursday.
Syria also provided some of the weapons, which have a range of up to 68 miles, said Jeremy Issacharoff, the new deputy Israeli ambassador to Washington.
"In Israeli terms, that range can be a heavy weight," Issacharoff said at a conference on Iran sponsored The Israel Project, a nongovernment advocacy group.
Besides backing Hezbollah, a Lebanese group that has fought a cross-border conflict with Israel, Iran is supporting Palestinian terrorist groups, the Israeli diplomat said.
He also said Israel takes seriously a recent call by Iran's president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, that Israel be "wiped off the map."
Rep. Brad Sherman, D-Calif., urged diplomatic and economic pressure on Iran and said he was proposing legislation to ban Iranian goods from coming into the United States.
He said his main aim was to stop Iran's nuclear program and that an economic squeeze would undercut the government in Tehran.
"The people of Iran need to be convinced that Iran's nuclear program is costing them development and jobs," Sherman said.
But Sherman said he doubted the U.N. Security Council would impose political and economic penalties on Iran if it takes up Iran's nuclear program.
China, for one, would veto any such resolution, partly to protect its oil interests in Iran, Sherman said.
The U.S. has not had diplomatic relations with Iran since the Islamic revolution in 1979. Some $150 million worth of Iranian products, mostly carpets and some caviar, are imported by the United States annually, according to Sherman's office.