A man carries a giant flag made of flags of Iran, Palestine, Syria and Hezbollah, during a ceremony marking the 37th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution, in Tehran, Feburary 2016.
(photo credit: RAHEB HOMAVANDI/REUTERS)
The Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council said on Saturday that important changes would occur this year in Iran’s deterrence against Israel’s actions in Syria.
He predicted that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would be wary of a conflict prior to the April 9 election, and that his political career would be over if he entered into one.
“Zionism will pay the cost for its stupidities,” he said, in a series of threats challenging Israel.
Rear Admiral Ali Shamkhani said that Iran and its allies in the “resistance axis” would change their policy this year in responding to any Israeli attacks in Syria. In the statement given to Tasnim news agency on Saturday, he accused Israel of supporting terrorists in Syria. He argued that Israeli intelligence had made mistakes in Syria, and that Iran had been able to achieve “90% of its goals.”
Israel’s airstrikes have not had a strategic impact, he said. His assessment was that Israel would not seek a war in the north this year, and argued that this showed the weakness of Israel in the region.
Shamkhani said that Iran would continue to support Syria, arguing that Iran was advising the Assad government in its war on terrorism. The comments are the latest bluster from Tehran in what has become near-daily statements about its successes in the region.
Shamkhani also made comments about the US, claiming it would not start a war with Iran. He further claimed that the UAE and Saudi Arabia did not see eye-to-eye on issues in the region, adding that Oman, Qatar and Kuwait are seeking to prevent tensions in the region.
The comments also hinted at Iran’s belief that the US presence in the Middle East will be reduced under US President Donald Trump’s administration.
“The sensitivities to the US military presence in Iraq are very high,” he said. This appears to hint at looming trouble in Iraq, where local parties allied with Iran have pushed for a US withdrawal.
Israel has repeatedly said that it will not tolerate Iranian entrenchment in Syria, and will take action to stop it. Netanyahu is scheduled to fly to Moscow on Wednesday to discuss the situation in Syria with Russian President Vladimir Putin.Herb Keinon contributed to this report.
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