Iran planning to launch barrage of missiles against Israel
18 May, 2018, 01:47 | Author: Wade Massey
Tehran, meanwhile, is under pressure from the US and Western allies to negotiate a new deal, one that goes beyond restricting the nuclear program to curb Iran's military power in the region. Fill us in on the details.
Iran's foreign minister will embark on a diplomatic tour to try to salvage the nuclear deal amid high tensions following the USA withdrawal and global fears over reports of unprecedented clashes with Israel in Syria.
Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah said Monday that Israeli forces were attacked in the occupied Golan Heights for the first time since 1973 last week.
U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called for an immediate halt to "all hostile acts" to avoid "a new conflagration" in the Middle East after Israeli forces bombed Iranian targets inside Syria.
He noted that in contacts with the leadership of both countries, including a meeting Wednesday between Netanyahu and Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow, "we underlined the necessity of avoiding any actions that might be mutually provocative".
Assad spoke in an interview with the Greek Kathimerini newspaper published Thursday, before Israel carried out airstrikes in Syria in response to what it said was a cross-border rocket attack by Iranian forces.
"They want to build a second Hezbollah-stan", he said, referring to the Iranian-backed Lebanese Shiite militant group that last fought a war with Israel in 2006.
In a lengthy government statement on Friday, the Iranian government warned that it would take "whatever reciprocal measures it deems expedient" if it is not fully compensated for the US withdrawal from the nuclear agreement as provided for in the accord. Some protesters set a U.S. flag on fire in Tehran with the nuclear deal scribbled on it. Others stomped on a picture of U.S. President Donald Trump. Moscow - which enjoys warm ties with Israel and has had ever-closer relations with Iran in recent years - in particular called for "restraint from all parties", Mikhail Bogdanov, a Russian deputy foreign minister, was quoted as saying by the Russian news agency Interfax. Le Maire asked. "Or do we want to say we have our economic interests, we consider we will continue to do trade with Iran?".
Avigdor Lieberman's comments were followed by threats from an Iranian cleric that Tel Aviv or Haifa would be in danger if Israel did "anything foolish". In 1974, Israel and Syria reached a cease-fire and a disengagement deal that froze the conflict lines with the plateau in Israeli hands. Israel accuses Tehran of seeking to establish a foothold on its doorstep, something it has vowed never to allow.
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Israel said among the targets were weapons storage, logistics sites and intelligence centers used by elite Iranian forces in Syria.
"I will take this opportunity to send a message to Assad: Get rid of the Iranians, get rid of Qasem Soleimani and the Quds Force, they are not helping you, they only cause damage, and their presence will only cause problems and damages", Lieberman said.
Israeli strikes overnight were one of the country's largest aerial operations in decades across the Syrian frontier and by far its broadest direct attack yet on Iranian assets.
Late Tuesday, Syrian state media said Israel struck a military outpost near the capital of Damascus.
Syrian state TV and the Observatory said police forces are getting ready to enter the area on Friday to guarantee security. Israel responded by attacking anti-aircraft positions in Syria, and an Israeli warplane was shot down during the battle.
A U.S. defense official told CNN that it was an Israeli military strike that hit suspected Iranian weapons near Damascus.
An April 9 strike killed seven Iranian military personnel at a Syrian airbase.
The two sides have been on a collision course for months.
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The Israel Defense Forces said the Iron Dome was activated (rocket battery pictured) but it later turned out to be a false alarm. Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, leader of the Lebanese group, said the attack marked a "new phase" in the war in Syria.
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