Iran sends ‘warning to Israel via US officials’
Tehran says Israel should ‘await consequences’ for the recent killing of an Iranian general in an air strike in Syria.
Tehran said it sent a warning to Israel through the United States over the recent killing of an Iranian general in an Israeli air strike in Syria, the official IRNA news agency reports.
“We told the Americans that the leaders of the Zionist regime should await the consequences of their act,” IRNA quoted Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian as saying. Israel has “crossed our red lines”, he added.
Amirabdollahian said Iran had sent the message on Tuesday through diplomatic channels to US officials, to hand over to Israel. He did not elaborate.
The January 18 strike in the Syrian-controlled part of the disputed Golan Heights killed Iranian General Mohammad Ali Allahdadi, a senior commander in the Revolutionary Guards, along with six Lebanese Hezbollah fighters.
Allahdadi was one of the highest ranking Iranian officers known to have been killed abroad in decades.
Amirabdollahian spoke during a commemoration on Tuesday for the Iranian general. The Guards’ acting commander, General Hossein Salami, said Iran will soon retaliate for his death.
“We tell them [Israelis to] await retaliation but we will decide about its timing, place and the strength,” Salami said at the ceremony.
US disregards threat
Both Iran and Hezbollah, close allies of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, blamed Israel, which is believed to have been behind a number of air strikes in Syria in recent years. Israel has neither confirmed nor denied the air strike.
In Washington, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki would not comment on private diplomatic talks with Iran, beyond saying that no threat to Israel was delivered in the latest round of nuclear talks between US and Iranian officials.
“We absolutely condemn any such threats that come in any form,” Psaki told reporters.
Iran and the US have had no diplomatic relations since Iranian armed students stormed the US embassy in Tehran and held Americans there hostage for 444 days in 1979.
The two nations normally exchange diplomatic messages through the Swiss embassy, which looks after US interests in Iran.
Diplomats from both countries also meet directly on other occasions, such as the current negotiations to limit the scope of the Iranian nuclear programme in exchange for easing harsh international sanctions against Tehran.