US Assures Iran It “Had No Involvement” In Embassy Strike As IDF Claims Only A ‘Military Building’ Hit

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US Assures Iran It “Had No Involvement” In Embassy Strike As IDF Claims Only A ‘Military Building’ Hit

The Biden administration was notified just minutes before the major Israeli airstrikes on the Iranian Embassy complex in Damascus on Monday, US and Israeli officials have told Axios; however, the Israeli side wasn’t asking for a greenlight, the report emphasizes. 

The US on Tuesday directly communicated to Iran that it “had no involvement” or advanced knowledge of the strike on the embassy annex which killed top Iranian commanders, including Brig. Gen. Mohammad Reza Zahedi, who reportedly oversaw IRGC Quds Force operations in Syria and Lebanon.

Attack aftermath, via Reuters

Crucially, Zahedi’s death marks the highest ranking Iranian official killed since the 2020 US assassination of Qassem Soleimani by drone strike outside the Baghdad airport. In the aftermath of the attack on the embassy annex the death toll had risen to eleven. Iranian state television has since said that included among these were 6 Syrian citizens killed.

A National Security Council (NSC) spokesperson has been cited by Axios as underscoring that the United States “had no involvement in the [Israeli] strike and we did not know about it ahead of time.”

Iranian state TV described that the attack “was carried out by F-35 fighter jets” which fired six missiles at the building, leaving it flattened. It housed the embassy’s consular section as well as the residence of ambassador Hossein Akbari, who apparently wasn’t there at the time and thus was unharmed.

Iran and Hezbollah have vowed revenge and that this will be “punished” while Russia has also expressed outraged, as we reported earlier. Saudi Arabia’s foreign ministry on Tuesday expressed “the Kingdom’s categorical rejection of targeting diplomatic facilities for any justification, and under any pretext.”

A strike against an embassy which is supposed to be ‘protected’ by international diplomatic norms upheld by the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations is unprecedented and so marks a massive escalation by Israel. 

There are simply no examples in all of recent history of a sovereign nation’s military intentionally targeting the embassy and diplomatic facilities of another sovereign country. The one exceptional historical instance is NATO bombing the Chinese embassy in Belgrade in 1999, which killed 3 Chinese journalists, but which the US said was inadvertent, resulting in then President Clinton issuing a formal apology to the Chinese government.

As for the Israeli explanation, it has not officially owned up to the attack, but a military spokesperson has called the embassy annex which was hit a “military building of Quds forces” – in reference to the IRGC’s foreign wing.

“According to our intelligence, this is no consulate and this is no embassy,” Israel Defense Forces spokesperson Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari has said in a statement. “I repeat, this is no consulate and this is no embassy. This is a military building of Quds forces disguised as a civilian building in Damascus.”

Israel is trying to provoke a war with Iran to get the US directly involved https://t.co/VdV3rQUPm6

— Dave DeCamp (@DecampDave) April 1, 2024

A Tuesday Bloomberg note comments on the shock geopolitical event’s impact on oil:

In commodities, crude futures pierced $85 for the first time since October, the latest milestone in a market that has rallied against a backdrop of OPEC+ cuts, strong demand and heightened geopolitical risk. WTI added as much as 1.8% in New York, while the global Brent benchmark neared $89 a barrel, after Iran vowed revenge on Israel after blaming it for a deadly air strike on its embassy in Syria — a rare direct confrontation in the adversaries’ escalating proxy conflict over the war in Gaza. Israel “will be punished. We will make them regret their crime,” Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said on Tuesday, according to the state-run Islamic Republic News Agency.

Peter Tchir of Academy Securities reviews the fast-moving events of the last several days running up to the embassy strike: 

This recent strike follows Israeli airstrikes last Friday in Aleppo which killed over 40 people, including 36 Syrian soldiers and six Hezbollah fighters (including a local Hezbollah field commander).
As Israel steps up its strikes against Hezbollah and IRGC targets in the region, Israeli representatives met with senior officials from the U.S. today to discuss potential alternatives to a ground operation in Rafah.
Last week, a previously scheduled meeting was cancelled by Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu after the U.S. opted not to veto a United Nations Security Council resolution calling for a ceasefire/release of hostages in Gaza.
On Sunday, Netanyahu stated that “there is no victory without entering Rafah and there is no victory without eliminating the Hamas battalions there.”
Finally, earlier today, it was also reported that the Biden administration is close to approving an $18 billion sale of F-15 fighters to Israel, which would be the largest sale of military equipment to Israel since the war in Gaza began.

There has been ongoing speculation that Israel may be trying to provoke a war with Iran to get the US directly involved on its side. Ultimately Israeli leadership would like to solve the Hezbollah (and Iran) problem once and for all, and likely understands that it needs Washington’s full backing to to this.

Tyler Durden
Tue, 04/02/2024 – 11:40