| 21 February 2024, Wednesday |

Tehran Declares ‘Countdown’ to Retaliation for Killing of Mousavi

Iran has vowed on Tuesday a harsh response to the killing of Razi Mousavi, supply officer of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards in Syria.

Mousavi was killed in an airstrike on the Sayeda Zeinab in Damascus countryside.

The Israeli airstrike claimed the lives of three fighters loyal to Tehran, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

“Two foreign fighters and one Syrian fighter were also killed in the Israeli strike,” said the Observatory.

It added that Moussavi was targeted shortly after he entered a farm. Residents in the Sayeda Zeinab district south of Damascus, where the strike hit, reported that Iran-backed groups have tightened security there.

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Abdollahian said in a post on X that “Tel Aviv faces a tough countdown.”

Iranian Chief of Staff Mohammad Bagheri said, “Israel committed a strategic mistake, and their crimes will not remain unanswered.”

General Jafar Assadi, former commander of the Revolutionary Guard forces in Syria, said that the Zionist entity targeted in recent weeks one of the headquarters frequented by Reza Mousavi, and he was not there at the time, but this time spies were able to determine his location, according to an agency affiliated with Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps.

Assadi did not identify the spies or how they were informed of Mousavi’s movements.

He added: “What the Israelis did was not rational and correct. It seems that they want to cling to anything, but this will not benefit them.”

“They want to expand the war. Israel’s friends always advise it to exercise restraint, but what benefit will restraint do for it?”

Assadi pointed out that Mousavi “carried out many actions in Syria, and had the trust of General Soleimani,” noting “everyone knows him in Syria, from Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to others.”

Iranian Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the UN Amir Saeed Iravani warned in a letter to the Security Council that “Iran has its legitimate and inherent rights based on international law and the United Nations Charter for a decisive response at the appropriate time,” according to IRNA.

Despite Iranian accusations, Israel did not claim responsibility, but the US website Axios quoted Israeli officials as saying that the Israeli army is preparing to take revenge on Syria and Lebanon.

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant hinted on Tuesday that the country had retaliated in Iraq, Yemen, and Iran for attacks carried out against it as the war in the Gaza Strip widens to other areas of the region.

“We are in a multi-front war and are coming under attack from seven theatres: Gaza, Lebanon, Syria, Judea and Samaria (West Bank), Iraq, Yemen and Iran. We have already responded and taken action in six of these theatres,” he told lawmakers.

“I say here in the clearest way: Anyone who acts against us is a potential target, there is no immunity for anyone,” he added.

Gallant says the war in Gaza will be “a long, hard war.”

“It has costs – heavy costs – but its justification is the highest that can be.”

“Without meeting the goals of the war, we will find ourselves in a situation where… the problem will be that people will not want to live in a place where we do not know how to protect them,” he said.

For his part, Iranian Defense Ministry Spokesman Brigadier General Reza Talai said Israel will receive a decisive and intelligent response.

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi pledged that “Israel will certainly pay the price for its crime.”

Shortly after his death was confirmed, a statement from the Revolutionary Guards said that Mousavi was the supply official in the Resistance Front in Syria, and one of the companions of the former official of foreign operations in the Revolutionary Guards, Qassem Soleimani, who was killed in an American air strike in Baghdad in early 2020.

Mousavi was the last person to accompany Soleimani in the last hours before he left Damascus for Baghdad, according to the Revolutionary Guards’ websites.

Iran’s Ambassador to Damascus Hossein Akbari said that Mousavi was at the Iranian embassy at 2 p.m. local time and lost his life after being struck by three missiles upon returning home.

Meanwhile, the Revolutionary Guard media provided additional details of Mousavi’s roles outside Iranian borders.

Tasnim said that he “played roles for 25 years in the (Resistance Front).”

  • Asharq Al-Awsat