Mohsen Rezai, Secretary Expediency Discernment Council for the Islamic Republic of Iran and former commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, called for Hamas to step up their campaign of human shields in future wars against Israel on live television on Sunday - disguised, cynically, as protection for the civilian population.
"I would like to tell the mujahideen [terrorist fighters] in Palestine that they should think of a way to protect the civilians," Rezai said, on Al-Alam TV. Rezai's comments were translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI).
"They could dig tunnels, and when a war breaks out, the people could take refuge in these tunnels. All the people will go underground."
"They use the tunnels to launch missiles, but they should also use them to protect civilians," he said. "In my letter to Mr. [Iranian President Hassan] Rouhani, I called for the Islamic countries to provide air-resistance systems to the Islamic resistance."
Rezai also noted Iran's great support for Hamas, as a symbol of "resistance."
"As a mujahid in the army of the great Islamic world, and as a fighter in the great Islamic resistance, I believe it to be my responsibility to help (the Palestinians)," he said. "I felt that I had to write to the commander of the Al-Qassam Brigades [Hamas's 'military wing' - ed.] and to express my support."
"I wrote that they should not be on the defense alone," he continued. "Rather, they should set out from their posts."
According to Rezai, Hamas should employ specific strategies in the war of "resistance."
"As you know, Israel has a weakness: when two or three people - two or three soldiers - are kidnapped, Israel will surrender," he insisted. "From now on, if Israel attacks, it should not expect the (Palestinian) fighters to remain in their posts."
"There are 1.8 million people in the Gaza Strip. Half of them are women, which leaves us with 900,000. If we deduct the children and the elderly from those 900,000, we are left with 500,000 or 600,000 men capable of bearing arms. If only 100,000 begin to take action, Israel will not be able to withstand it."
"In future wars, Israel should expect the Palestinians to wait for the raids in their homes," he added. "They will cross the borders, and a third intifada will begin."
"I personally would like to say that we should provide the Palestinians with defense and weapons technology, so that they will be able to produce weapons even when under siege," he said.
When questioned whether Iran continues to provide Hamas with weapons, following the revelation last month that it had aided the terror organization in Operation Pillar of Defense in 2012, he responded in the affirmative.
"How do you think these missiles were produced?" he asks, smirking. "All these missiles are the fruit of the technology provided to Palestine."
"If Israel was capable of attacking Iran, it would not have hesitated to do so," he dismissed. "What has prevented Israel from attacking Iran is the realization that such a thing would be the end of it for Israel. There would no longer be such a thing called 'Israel."
Interestingly, the idea of using the tunnels for shelter was raised by pro-Israel advocate Lee Kaplan in a recent interview with PressTV.