Iranian
Yahya Rahim Safavi, second left, with Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, right, at a graduation ceremony of army cadets in Tehran, Oct. 5, 2013. Photo by AP
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Iran's front line of defense against Israel is now the southern Lebanese border, a senior military aide to the Iranian Supreme Leader declared last week, several Iranian and Arab news agencies reported on Saturday.

Major General Yahya Rahim Safavi said that the coalition of the United States, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Qatar and Europe had failed to overthrow Syrian President Bashar Assad.

“'This is a strategic failure for the Western, Arab and Zionist front and a big victory for the Islamic Republic of Iran,'” he said, according to Iran's Fars.

Consequently, he stressed, Iran's influence had extended far beyond its borders.

"'Our frontmost line of defense is no more in Shalamcheh (in Southern Iran), rather this line is now in Southern Lebanon,'" Safavi was quoted as saying, adding that Iran's strategic depth had reached the Mediterranean Sea.

The Iranian press has noted European recognition of its growing power in the region. Fars quoted Italian parliamentarian Erasmo Palazzotto as saying, "The powerful Iran is helping establish peace and tranquility in the region."

According to Fars, Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics lauded "Iran's important and effective role in solving regional problems" last month.