The Israeli ambassador to the UN revealed earlier this week a photo of an alleged Iranian base near Damascus, holding up to 80,000 fighters.
In response, Israel insisted the country would launch a military strike to prevent Tehran from launching a ground invasion across the nearby border.
Ambassador Danny Danon presented the aerial photograph on Thursday, telling the UN Security Council: “There are over 80,000 extremists from all over the Middle East who are members of Shia militias in Syria under Iranian control.
“It is at this base, just over five miles from Damascus, where these dangerous extremists are trained and then assigned their missions of terror throughout Syria and the region.”
In a shocking threat to the Tehran regime, the ambassador added: “Israel has a very clear policy. We will not allow regimes that seek our destruction to acquire nuclear weapons.”
Speaking on the BBC panel show Dateline, Alex Deane, a British Conservative commentator, claimed an Iranian ground invasion could not be ruled out.
He said: “80,000 so far is not a small manoeuvre, that tens of thousands of troops.
“People don’t want the Iranian regime to be the next North Korea, empowered by nuclear capabilities to reinforce itself and stop conventional intervention with nuclear retaliation.”
Israel insisted that the country would unleash a military strike to prevent Tehran from attacking
Alex Deane, a British conservative commentator, claimed that an Iranian ground invasion was possible.
Earlier in the show, Agnes Poirier, from French broadcaster Marianne, added: “Syria is becoming a sort of Lebanon. Iran is using Syria to pressure Israel.
“There are 80,000 Iranian forces scattered around Syria, and Israel is rightfully concerned. Iran is trying to control Damascus as much as Beirut.
There are growing tensions between Western powers and Iran, ahead of 12th May deadline set by US President Donald Trump, who has threatened to pull out of the Iranian nuclear deal.
Trump has vowed to never let Iran have nuclear weapons, but refused to say if he would consider military force.
Ambassador Danon’s announcement at the UN follows the 9th April attack on Syria’s T-4 air base, which killed seven members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, including the head of its drone program, Mehdi Dehghan.
Iran, Syria, Russia, and some US officials have all said Israel was responsible for the strike but Israeli officials have refused to comment on the matter.
Israeli officials have previously stated that they will not allow Iran to entrench itself in Syria, noting it as a “red line” for military action.
Earlier this week, Israel’s defense minister Avigdor Lieberman agreed that his country will strike Tehran if attacked by Iran.
He said: “We hear many Iranian threats but if they attack Tel Aviv, we will strike Tehran.”