Iran threatens larger attack if Israel retaliates

Iran has warned that it will launch a larger attack if Israel retaliates for Saturday night's offensive. It’s not clear whether Israel is planning a counterattack, but an influential Israeli politician has said his country will make "Iran pay the price”. US president Joe Biden has made it clear that the US will not support a counter-offensive by Israel.

Iranian president Ebrahim Raissi said that with Saturday's attack “the punishment for the aggressor was carried out”, but his country's response will be even "stronger" in the event of new "reckless behaviour" by Israel.

Iran's ambassador to the UN, Amir Saeid Iravani, spread a similar message. "If the Israeli regime launches another military strike, Iran's response will certainly be stronger and more decisive," he said in a letter to UN secretary general António Guterres.

Earlier, Iranian Revolutionary Guards commander Hossein Salami had declared that Iran's attack on Israel could have been much more powerful. "We limited the scope of the operation to the part of the facilities that the [Israeli] regime used to attack our consulate," he said. Iran’s offensive was retaliation for the attack on the consulate of Iran in Damascus, Syria, ealier this month. Israel has not claimed responsibility for that attack, but it is widely considered to be behind it.

US president Joe Biden, who had earlier confirmed America’s “ironclad commitment to the security of Israel”, has told Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu that the US will not support an offensive operation against Iran. A spokesperson for the White House National Security Council said on US television that the US didn't want an "escalation" or "wider war in the region".

It’s not clear whether Israel is planning a counterattack. Benny Gantz, a member of Israel's war cabinet, has said his country "will make Iran pay the price in a way and at a time that suits us". According to Gantz, the Iranian attack proved that the world is behind Israel. "Israel against Iran, the world against Iran, that is the result,” he said. “This is a strategic achievement, which we must use as leverage for Israel's security.”

Iran's ambassador to the UN, Amir Saeid Iravani © PHOTO YUKI IWAMURA / AFP


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