April 22, 2018

During his weekly press conference on April 16, Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman, Bahram Ghasemi, condemned the attack by the Israeli air force on Tiyas airbase, known as T4, near the Syrian city of Homs on April 9, which reportedly killed seven members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps’ Qods Force (IRGC-QF).

‌Bahram Ghasemi

“Iran will formulate a response to the attack by the Zionist regime in Syria. Meanwhile, it is the Syrian people’s right to counter Israeli aggression in their country,” Mr. Ghasemi said.

Ghasemi sidestepped a question about Iran’s possible response to Israel if the latter were to continue its attacks in Syria. Instead, he condemned Western missile strikes against Bashar al-Assad’s suspected chemical weapons’ sites on April 13.

“The attack violated international norms. But it was characteristic of warmongering Washington and its expansionist policies. The U.S. has destabilized the region,” Ghasemi said.     

Many Iranian news agencies have not accurately reported Ghasemi’s comments on Iran’s possible response to the Israeli attack. The IRGC-affiliated Tasnim News Agency, however, published a complete report of his remarks under the headline “Israel will receive the appropriate response sooner or later.”

The report said: “Ghasemi declared that the Israeli attack violated international laws. But it was part of Israel’s systematic oppression of the Muslim population in the region. These actions will not go unanswered. We offer our sincere condolences to the survivors of the military advisers who lost their lives in the attack. The forces in the region are quite capable of dealing with Israel. Relevant parties are also considering legal actions against Israel.”

Meanwhile, the commander of the IRGC, Major-General Mohammad Ali Jafari, has made no comment on the Israeli or Western strikes in Syria. At a ceremony introducing the newly appointed deputy commander of the Basij Forces (volunteer militia), Mr. Jaffari said: “We are at a sensitive juncture in our Islamic Revolution. The enemies are making a concerted effort to spread despair and division in our society.”

He added: “The IRGC relies on the Basij Force and the public. People play a key role in countering instability.”

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