Iran’s President Warns of ‘Massive’ Response If Israel Launches Invasion

Jack Phillips
By Jack Phillips
April 17, 2024Middle East
Iran’s President Warns of ‘Massive’ Response If Israel Launches Invasion
Iran's President Ebrahim Raisi attends a military parade alongside high-ranking officials and commanders during a ceremony marking the country's annual army day in Tehran on April 17, 2024. (Atta Kenare/AFP via Getty Images)

Iran’s president has warned that an invasion by Israel would trigger a significant response from Iran, after some Israeli officials said there would be a response to Iran’s attack over the past weekend.

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi spoke at an annual army parade on April 17 that was relocated to a barracks north of the capital, Tehran, from its usual venue on a highway in the city’s southern outskirts. Iranian authorities gave no explanation for the relocation, and state TV did not broadcast it live, as it has in previous years.

Describing the weekend attack on Israel as “limited,” the Iranian leader claimed that if Iran had wanted to carry out more attacks, “there would be nothing left of the Zionist regime.” If Israel invades Iran in any way, it would trigger a “massive and harsh” response, he warned.

“That is the time when the supporters of the Zionist regime will find out that their hidden power will not be able to do anything,” Mr. Raisi said, according to a transcript published on his website.

Iranian naval chief Shahram Irani said this week that Iran will bolster its military presence in the Red Sea, which has seen an increase in disruptions to commercial shipping. U.S. officials have said the Iran-backed Houthis based in Yemen have attacked shipping vessels in recent months, triggering a response from the United States.

“The Navy is carrying out a mission to escort Iranian commercial ships to the Red Sea, and our Jamaran frigate is present in the Gulf of Aden in this view,” Mr. Irani said, according to the state-backed Tasnim news agency.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on April 17 that his country will make its own decisions about how to defend itself after some Western countries pleaded for restraint in responding to the Iranian missile and drone attacks, which were mostly intercepted by Israel and the United States.

Meanwhile, the United States, the European Union, and G7 industrialized nations all announced plans to consider tighter sanctions on Iran.

Mr. Netanyahu met with the German and British foreign ministers, who both traveled to Israel as part of a coordinated push to keep the confrontation between Israel and Iran from escalating into a regional conflict fueled by the Gaza war. His office said he thanked the two respective ministers, David Cameron and Annalena Baerbock, for their support, while telling them: “I want to make it clear: We will make our own decisions, and the State of Israel will do everything necessary to defend itself.”

Earlier, Mr. Cameron said it was apparent that Israel plans to retaliate for the Iranian missile and drone strikes, which Tehran launched on April 13 in response to what it said was an Israeli airstrike that killed military officers at the Iranian Embassy in Syria on April 1.

Ms. Baerbock said escalation “would serve no one, not Israel’s security, not the many dozens of hostages still in the hands of Hamas, not the suffering population of Gaza, not the many people in Iran who are themselves suffering under the regime, and not the third countries in the region who simply want to live in peace.”

The Iranian missiles and drones launched on April 13 were mostly shot down by Israel and its allies and caused no deaths. But Israel says it must retaliate to preserve the credibility of its deterrents. Tehran has said that it would not launch any new strikes, saying the weekend attack was launched in retaliation.

“It’s right to show solidarity with Israel. It’s right to have made our views clear about what should happen next, but it’s clear the Israelis are making a decision to act,” Mr. Cameron told reporters on April 17. “We hope they do so in a way that does as little to escalate this as possible, and in a way that … is smart as well as tough.”

Earlier this week, the Israel Defense Forces chief told reporters that there would be a response to the Iranian attack. He did not elaborate.

“Iran wanted to harm the strategic capabilities of the State of Israel—that is something that had not happened before. We were prepared for the ‘Iron Shield’ operation—preparation that brought Iran to also meet air superiority,” Herzi Halevi said. “Last Monday, we saw what was being organized, and we think that the State of Israel is very strong and knows how to deal with it alone, but with a threat so numerous and so far away, we are always happy to have [the United States] with us.

“Looking ahead, we are considering our steps, and this launch of so many missiles, cruise missiles, and UAVs into the territory of the State of Israel will be met with a response.”

Reuters contributed to this report.

From The Epoch Times

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