The US is bracing for a threatening Iranian response to an attack blamed on Israel

The US is bracing for a threatening Iranian response to an attack blamed on Israel


Tracy Wilkinson

April 12, 2024

The US and its allies are sounding an unusually urgent alarm over Iran’s possible plans to retaliate against Israel in the coming days


assassination of senior Iranian officials at a diplomatic mission in Syria.

An Iranian action, it

There are fears that this is likely to provoke an Israeli response, which could fuel violence

in the region.

U.S. officials said this week that Iran appears to be pursuing a range of potential retaliatory actions, including direct attacks on Israeli assets in Israeli territory or on diplomatic missions, or operations carried out by proxy groups such as Lebanon’s Hezbollah on Israel’s northern border. and pro-Iranian militias in Iraq.

“Iran is threatening to launch a major attack on Israel,” President Biden said on Thursday. “Our commitment to Israel’s security in the face of these threats from Iran and its allies is unwavering.”

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak expressed similar thoughts. “Threats from Iran are unacceptable,” he said.

The trigger for the latest standoff between Israel and Iran is the April 1 bombing of an Iranian building next to the Iranian embassy in Damascus, which killed seven senior Iranian military officers of the Islamic Republican Guard. Israel has neither confirmed nor denied responsibility.

Iran continues the attack on its diplomatic mission in violation of international law. US officials say that regardless of whether the building had diplomatic status, it was used for what they call “terrorist” operations targeting Israel from Lebanon.

‘The evil regime [Israel] made a mistake and must be punished,” Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said this week.

Biden administration officials are unhappy with the latest tensions, which come as Israel and the Palestinian militant group Hamas try to negotiate a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip and the possible release of dozens of Israeli hostages, including several American citizens.

In recent days, senior administration officials have said the US has been exchanging regular messages with Iran and Israel in an effort to defuse tensions.

The US is strongly resisted by Iran and warns that no attacks should be carried out on US targets. To Israel, the US says it will provide support in the event of a major attack, but also insists on a calibrated response from Israel, which commiserates with the scale of Tehran’s operation.

The US has insisted to Iran that the country was not involved in or aware of the April 1 attack.

Other countries, including several Arab countries, are also putting pressure on Iran to show restraint, diplomats said.

Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken has made clear “that escalation is in no one’s interest, and that countries should urge Iran not to escalate,” State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said Thursday. “Escalation is not in the interest of Iran, not in the interest of the region and not in the interest of the world.”

Conventional wisdom dictates that Iran does not want a war with the United States. But beyond that, the Islamic Republic’s retaliation should be carefully carried out in a way that causes only minimal damage to Israel while demonstrating its determination to resist external attacks from a hated enemy.

The April 1 attack, blamed on Israel, came as Hamas, Persian Gulf states and the US were involved in complex negotiations over the release of hostages in Gaza seized by Hamas in October. 7 attack.

Some analysts believe Hamas is now less likely to release hostages as it awaits the next move from its patron, Iran.

Hostage release negotiators are discussing the release of 40 people in the categories of women, children and men over 50 years old. But U.S. officials say it appears there are no longer 40 living hostages who fit into that category, so Hamas should be willing to add other hostages, such as younger nonmilitary men. In return, Israel would release a still-fluctuating number of Palestinians held in Israeli prisons.


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