The aftermath of the attack on the Iranian consulate building adjacent to its embassy in Damascus on April 1.

Iranian Hardliners Call For Attacks On Israeli Embassies

Tuesday, 04/02/2024

The Iranian regime is shaken but has vowed revenge after suspected Israeli warplanes struck its consulate in Damascus on Monday, killing two high ranking IRGC commanders and five officers.

The response would come “with the same magnitude and harshness,” Iran’s ambassador to Syria Hossein Akbari said a few hours after the strike. He had not been on the premises and survived. In Tehran, President Ebrahim Raisi accusing Israel of the attack, said it will not go unanswered. Foreign minister, Hossein Amir Abdollahian, accused Israel of violating “all diplomatic norms and international treaties.”

Two Iranian hardliner figures called for attacks against Israeli embassies "in the region," one openly saying that Iran should target the embassy in Baku, Azerbaijan.

The airstrike Monday was by all accounts an unprecedented escalation of hostilities that broke out on October 7th, but has been going on with varying intensity for much longer. Israel has on many occasions hit IRGC-related targets in Syria, but never before a diplomatic site.

The gravity of the attack was highlighted by immediate condemnations from governments across the Middle East –with Pakistan, Iraq, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Oman, and Saudi Arabia all expressing concern and displeasure.

“The Ministry [of Foreign Affairs] expresses the Kingdom’s categorical rejection of targeting diplomatic facilities for any justification, and under any pretext, which is a violation of international diplomatic laws and the rules of diplomatic immunity,” read the statement from the foreign ministry of Saudi Arabia.

Russia also issued a statement, calling the attack on Iran’s consulate in Damascus "categorically unacceptable." But the harshest response came from Hezbollah in Lebanon, Iran’s most powerful ally sharing a border with Israel.

"Certainly, this crime will not pass without the enemy receiving punishment and revenge," the group vowed in a brief but pointed statement. It called Israel "foolish" for believing that assassinating leaders can stop "the roaring tide of people's resistance."

Images emerged on Iranian state-affiliated social media accounts shortly after the attack purporting to show a rally in Tehran to protest against the suspected Israeli targeted assassination of senior IRGC commanders.

The two generals were confirmed by IRGC to be Mohammad-Reza Zahedi, the Quds Force’s top man in Syria and Lebanon, and his deputy, Mohammad-Hadi Haji-Rahimi. Zahedi seems to be the most senior IRGC commander to be assassinated after Qasem Suleimani was killed in a US drone strike in Baghdad in January 2020.

The airstrike on Iran’s consulate in Damascus followed a much bigger Israeli attack inside Syria last week, in which more than 40 people were killed –mainly Syrian soldiers and Hezbollah fighters.

Some sources have suggested that the attack on Iran’s consulate Monday was a response to a drone attack on Israel Sunday night, which hit a naval base in Eilat. A spokesman for Israel army said the drone was “made in Iran” and the attack was “directed by Iran.”

Whether Israel acknowledges the attack or not, the incident is bound to escalate the already tense situation in the region.

The Secretary-General of Kata'ib Sayyid al-Shuhada, an Iraqi armed group backed by the regime in Tehran, posted “You will see Hell” on X, hours after the attack, likely addressing Israel and the United States.

The Pentagon confirmed late Monday a new attempt by Iran proxies in Syria to target a US base after almost two months of quiet on that front. A suicide drone heading towards the Al-Tanf garrison near the Syrian border with Jordan was shot down, the Pentagon said.

Perhaps more worrying for Washington, the Islamic Resistance in Iraq also issued a statement claiming to be ready to equip “the brothers, the Mujahideen of the Islamic Resistance in Jordan,” a US ally and the only country with no visible hostile force on Israeli borders. The statement claimed there were 12,000 fighters in Jordan.

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