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Iran says it had "no choice", Israel calls for sanctions

Iran claimedé Sunday à the UN had “no other choice but to exercise its right” self-defense" by launching hundreds of drones and missiles towards Israel, which for its part demanded "all possible sanctions" against Tehran.

This unprecedented attack, called “Honest Promise”, was launched on the night of Saturday to Sunday, in response to a strike attributed to Israel against the Iranian consulate in Damascus on April 1. It raises fears of a regional conflagration, in the midst of the war between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

Israel claimed to have “foiled” the nighttime operation by shooting down, with the help of the United States, the United Kingdom, France and other countries, 99% of the more than 350 projectiles — drones, ballistic missiles and cruise missiles — which were heading towards its territory.

“Iran's unprecedented attack was countered by an unprecedented defense,” said congratulated the spokesperson for the Israeli army, Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari.

Iran for its part said it had “achieved all its objectives”.

Only a few ballistic missiles “entered and lightly hit” a military base, which remains active, said Admiral Hagari, reporting several minor injuries as well as 'a 7 year old girl placed in intensive care.

The Iranian agency IRNA reported “serious damage in the most important air base in the Negev”, in southern Israel.

The UN “failed to its duty to maintain international peace and security” by not condemning the April 1 strike against the Iranian consulate in Damascus, Iranian Ambassador to the United Nations Amir Saeid Iravani told a Security Council convened in emergency Sunday evening.

“Under these conditions, the Islamic Republic of Iran had no choice but to exercise its right to self-defense” , he declared.

He assured that Tehran did not want escalation, but would respond to “any threat or aggression”.

– “On the edge of the precipice” –

The Israeli ambassador, Gilad Erdan, for his part, called on the Security Council to “impose all possible sanctions against Iran before it is too late”.

Iran says it had "no choice", Israel calls for sanctions

Iranian Ambassador Amir Saeid Iravani speaks during an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council, April 14, 2024 © AFP – Charly TRIBALLEAU

Speaking at the Security Council, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned that “the Middle East is on the brink of a precipice.” He condemned both the Iranian attack and the strike against the Iranian consulate in Damascus, emphasizing the “principle of inviolability” of diplomatic establishments.

This strike had cost the lives of seven members of the Revolutionary Guards, Iran's ideological army. Tehran accused Israel, which neither confirmed nor denied.

Iran launched this attack more than six months after the start of the Israeli-led offensive in the Gaza Strip against Palestinian Hamas, an ally of the Islamic Republic, which has further increased tensions between the two enemy countries.

They also pledged to provide “more humanitarian aid” to the Palestinians in Gaza while “continuing to work towards an immediate and lasting ceasefire and the release of hostages by Hamas”, time when the two camps continue to display contradictory demands.

In parallel with this attack, Tehran's allies, the Lebanese Hezbollah and the Yemeni Houthi rebels, fired rockets and drones towards Israeli territory.

Israel has been the sworn enemy of Iran since the 1979 Iranian revolution, which calls for its destruction. But until now, Tehran had refrained from attacking Israel head-on, and the two countries were used to confronting each other through third parties, such as Hezbollah.

Iran says it had "no choice", Israel calls for sanctions

The “Iron Dome”, Israeli air defense system © AFP – Source AFP

Several analysts consider a response from Israel almost inevitable. However, before retaliating, “it is not only a question of consulting, but of obtaining approval from Washington,” assured Tamir Hayman, former head of Israeli military intelligence.

< p>Iran, for its part, seems to have wanted to avoid an escalation, underlined Nick Heras, analyst at the American research group New Lines Institute for Strategy and Policy. This attack “was intended to be seen around the world, but not to degenerate the situation into an all-out regional war,” he told AFP.

– Hostages in Rafah –

Meanwhile the war continues in the Gaza Strip, where the Hamas Ministry of Health on Sunday recorded 43 deaths in 24 hours, bringing the number of deaths, mostly civilians, in Israeli military operations to 33,729.

Iran says it had "no choice", Israel calls for sanctions

Hundreds of displaced Palestinians walk along the coast to reach the northern Gaza Strip, April 14, 2024 © AFP – –

The war was sparked by an unprecedented attack carried out on October 7 in southern Israel by Hamas commandos infiltrated from Gaza, which resulted in the deaths of 1,170 people, mostly civilians, according to a report established by AFP based on official Israeli data. More than 250 people have been kidnapped and 129 remain held in Gaza, 34 of whom have died, according to Israeli officials.

Hamas, in power in Gaza since 2007, is classified as a terrorist group by Israel, the United States and the European Union.

On Sunday, Mossad, the Israeli intelligence service, claimed that Hamas had ” rejected the main lines” of the plan negotiated for a truce by Qatar, Egypt and the United States.

Hamas is calling in particular for a cease-fire -definitive fire while Israel maintains its plan for a ground offensive against the city of Rafah, refuge for a million and a half Palestinians in the south of the Gaza Strip.

The army said on Sunday that hostages kidnapped on October 7 were in Rafah, in the far south of Palestinian territory. “We will do everything in our power to bring them home,” Admiral Hagari said.

All rights of reproduction and representation reserved. © (2024) Agence France-Presse

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116