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West asked Iran 'don't hit Israel hard', lower intensity of True Promise: FM

Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian talks to reporter on May 08, 2024.

Iran’s foreign minister says the West had asked the Islamic Republic to exercise restraint and lower the intensity of its retaliation before Iran’s daring strikes last month on the Israeli-occupied territories in response to the regime’s deadly attack on the Iranian diplomatic mission in Syria.

Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said, “Ahead of the operation, the request of the Westerners was that if you want to respond, do not hit hard and reduce the intensity of the operation.” 

He made the statement on the sidelines of the Iranian administration’s weekly cabinet meeting on Wednesday.

In a multi-pronged attack, dubbed Operation True Promise, the Iranian armed forces launched more than 300 drones and missiles at the occupied territories late on April 13 in response to the regime's aggression on the Iranian diplomatic premises in the Syrian capital, Damascus, on April 1.

The Israeli airstrikes on Iran’s embassy compound in Damascus had killed two generals of the Quds Force of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), Brigadier General Mohammad Reza Zahedi and General Mohammad Hadi Haji Rahimi, as well as five of their accompanying officers.

“Ever since it was decided to conduct Operation True Promise, intensive contacts by the Westerners and the US’s allies in Europe were established with Iran, and their first request was [for Iran] to exercise restraint and to not respond, to which we firmly stated that the response will definitely be given to the Israeli regime,” Amir-Abdollahian told reporters.

Stressing that the Islamic Republic decided by itself as to when and how carry out the operation, Amir-Abdollahian said, “We did not allow any decisions to be made under pressure from others, but we told the Western and American side that the root [cause] is in the Gaza crisis that should be resolved and they should focus on that issue.”

'US bases lined up in crosshairs'

The top diplomat said Iran had issued a prior notice for the United States and the regional countries where Washington has bases about the Islamic Republic’s retaliatory strikes on Israel.

“Two days before the operation, we announced to the American side and the countries where the US has bases that our targets are not the neighbors or American bases but the Israeli regime,” Amir-Abdollahian said.

“In the notice, we warned that if the US takes action against Iran's interests, our response against the US bases in the region will be immediate and decisive.”

The Iranian foreign minister said the regional countries hosting the US occupation bases had been cautioned by the Islamic Republic that “our relations are based on brotherhood but if the US makes the slightest mistake, we will target American bases."

Amir-Abdollahian added, “Most of the neighboring countries told us that they will not allow any country to launch acts of aggression against Iran from their soil.”

Lasting ceasefire

Elsewhere in his remarks, the Iranian foreign minister pointed to the ongoing situation in the Gaza Strip, and said conditions are ripe for a “lasting ceasefire” in the besieged Palestinian territory should the West live up to its promises.

“We had an unwritten agreement with the Western parties to focus on the ceasefire in Gaza, and the Westerners said they would move in this direction and, today, positive signs have appeared in this regard,” Amir-Abdollahian said.

He said that Palestinian resistance movement Hamas has presented a response to the initiative proposed by Egypt and Qatar “within the framework of its principles and as part of a realistic plan.”

“If the Americans and the West fulfill their promise and truly adhere to the ceasefire, everything is ready for the establishment of a lasting ceasefire and resolution of problems,” he added.   

The top Iranian diplomat also warned that Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and hardliners in his administration favor the continuation of war because “if the war ends, a new Israeli crisis will break out in the occupied territories.”

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