Iran's FM not ruling out war with Israel

Mohammad Javad Zarif accuses Israel of “adventurism” in Syria, says Iran "cannot exclude" possibility of military conflict.

Elad Benari,

Mohammad Javad Zarif
Mohammad Javad Zarif
Reuters

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Wednesday accused Israel of engaging in “adventurism” with its bombing campaigns in Syria, saying he could not rule out the possibility of a military conflict between the countries.

Speaking in an interview with the German Sueddeutsche Zeitung newspaper and quoted by Reuters, Zarif said that Iran was in Syria at the invitation of the Syrian government, while Israel was violating Lebanese and Syrian air space, as well as international law.

“There is adventurism on Israel’s side, and adventurism is always dangerous,” he said.

Asked if he saw an emerging military conflict between Iran and Israel, Zarif replied, “I do not, but we cannot exclude the possibility.”

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu recently broke with his country’s long-standing policy of not publicly accepting responsibility for airstrikes in Syria, and acknowledged that Israel’s air force had attacked Iranian targets in Syria.

While Iranian leaders deny that the Islamic Republic has a presence in Syria, Iran is a key supporter of the Assad regime in Syria, having providing the regime with both financial aid and military advisers against a range of opposing forces since the start of the Syrian civil war in 2011.

Near the start of the Syrian civil war, it was reported that then-Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had personally sanctioned the dispatch of officers from the Iranian Revolutionary Guards to Syria to fight alongside Assad’s troops.

Ali Akbar Velayati, a top aide to Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, made clear last summer that Iran would withdraw its “military advisers” from Syria and Iraq only if their governments wanted it to.

Zarif, speaking at the Munich Security Conference on Sunday, accused Israel of looking for war and warned that its actions and those of the United States were increasing the chances of a clash in the region.




top