| 2 March 2024, Saturday |

Iran Hints at Responding to Attacks on its Forces in the Region

The Iranian Foreign Ministry on Monday hinted that it will respond to any attacks on its interests and “advisory forces” in the region.

The announcement came two days after the Iranian Revolutionary Guards said two of its military advisers in Syria have been killed in an Israeli attack, in the first reported Iranian casualties during the ongoing war in Gaza.
A Revolutionary Guards statement did not give details of the attack.

On Monday, Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Nasser Kanaani warned that attacks on Iranian interests and its “advisory forces” in Syria “will not go unanswered.”

In his weekly press conference, he reiterated Iran’s accusations against the United States, echoed by Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian during a press conference with his Omani counterpart Sayyid Badr al-Busaidi in Tehran on Saturday.

“The new round of Israeli military attacks and aggressions began when the US Secretary of State attended the Israeli war cabinet,” Kanaani said, accusing Washington of sending tons of bombs to Israel.
“America is a party to the war,” the spokesperson affirmed.

Iran Rejects US Accusations

Without mentioning the attacks launched by the pro-Iranian Houthi group on ships in the Red Sea, Kanaani described the US Central Command (CENTCOM) operating in the Middle East as “terrorists” and said that their presence “undermines regional security.”

Kanaani reiterated earlier statements that armed groups facing charges of ideological loyalty to his country, also known as the “axis of resistance,” do not take orders from Iran. “We offer them instructions. But, they represent their own people and make decisions based on their interests,” he affirmed.

The spokesperson then rejected reports accusing Iran of sending drones to the Houthis.
“These are propaganda claims that provide cover for the crimes of the Zionist entity,” he said, adding that Washington must stop its support for Israel.

On the nuclear deal, Kanaani said the Omani foreign minister had not delivered a US message to Iran. However, he welcomed Muscat’s efforts to return to the commitments made in the 2015 nuclear deal in exchange for the lifting of US sanctions imposed on Iran.

Also, the spokesperson commented on the $6 billion recently transferred by the US to Qatar in a prisoner swap deal with Iran. “The US must fulfill its commitments,” he said, adding that Iran has received enough guarantees, because dealing with America is not based on trust.

“We can access these funds and use them according to our needs,” he added.

Kanaani also spoke about the recent statements of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) chief Rafael Grossi, as well as the phone call between Amirabdollahian and High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borrell on Saturday evening.

“We expect Grossi to raise issues related to Iran’s program from a technical standpoint away from political suspicions,” he said.

In the same context, Kanaani added: “It is remarkable that the European Union is taking unconstructive positions on issues related to the nuclear program and the IAEA. It is unfortunate that the Union is making unilateral accusations against Iran without paying attention to the US for evading its commitments and to Europe’s inaction.”

On Saturday, Borrell expressed hope that constructive cooperation between Iran and the IAEA will continue, according to a statement by the Iranian Foreign Ministry.

The EU’s foreign policy chief later wrote on X that he spoke over the phone with Amirabdollahian, but did not address the nuclear talks, which have been stalled for over a year.

Borrell emphasized on a two-state solution to the longstanding Israel-Palestine conflict.

He added that he urged Iran to “use its influence and to actively work towards avoiding any further escalation in the region.”


  • Asharq Al-Awsat