Iran Tells US to Step Aside as It Readies Response to Israel

Iran said it asked the US to “step aside” as the country prepares a response to a suspected Israeli attack on its consulate in Syria while Hezbollah, its main proxy in the Middle East, warned the Jewish state it’s prepared for war.

Bloomberg
First Published6 Apr 2024
Iran Tells US to Step Aside as It Readies Response to Israel
Iran Tells US to Step Aside as It Readies Response to Israel

(Bloomberg) -- Iran said it asked the US to “step aside” as the country prepares a response to a suspected Israeli attack on its consulate in Syria while Hezbollah, its main proxy in the Middle East, warned the Jewish state it’s prepared for war. 

In a written message to Washington, Iran “warned the US not to get dragged into Netanyahu’s trap,” Mohammad Jamshidi, the Iranian president’s deputy chief of staff for political affairs, wrote on X, referring to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The US should “step aside so that you don’t get hit.”

“In response, the US asked Iran not to hit American targets,” Jamshidi said. 

The US hasn’t commented on the alleged message Iran had sent.

CNN reported that the US is on high alert and is preparing for a “significant” response from Iran against Israeli or American targets in the region. The network cited an unnamed US official. 

NBC, citing two unnamed US officials, said President Joe Biden’s administration is concerned any attack could be inside Israel, specifically against “military or intelligence targets, rather than civilians.”

The Biden administration did take the unusual step of communicating directly to Iran that the US was unaware Monday’s strike in Damascus would happen, Bloomberg reported. That suggested the US was trying to prevent its own forces and bases in the Middle East being attacked.

The Islamic Republic has said it will deliver a “slap” to Israel, its arch enemy. Still, it’s unclear when that would happen or whether Iran would try to attack Israel directly or through one of its proxy groups such as Hezbollah, based in Lebanon.

Read More: The Israel-Iran Shadow War Reaches a Risky New Phase: QuickTake

The airstrike hit the Iranian consulate in Damascus, killing at least seven Iranians, including two generals. While Israel has repeatedly targeted Iran-linked assets in Syria over the past few months, this was the first time an attack struck an Iranian diplomatic building.

Israel has been on alert since then, canceling home leave for combat troops, calling up reserves and bolstering air defenses. Its military scrambled navigational signals over Tel Aviv on Thursday to disrupt GPS-navigated drones or missiles that might be fired at the country.

Hezbollah’s leader, Hassan Nasrallah, on Friday said a response from Iran is undoubtedly coming. But, he said, his group won’t “interfere in such decisions.”

Read More: Tel Aviv GPS Scrambled as Israel Awaits Iran Revenge Attack

“And after that, how Israel will behave, the region would enter in a new phase,” Nasrallah said in a televised speech. 

Nasrallah, who lives in hiding, highlighted the coordinated work of Iran’s so-called resistance groups in the region.

Hezbollah, the Middle East’s most powerful militia, said the group hasn’t used “its primary arsenal” in the daily skirmishes with Israel along the southern border of Lebanon since the start of the Israel-Hamas war on Oct. 7.

Hezbollah is “completely prepared and ready” for any war with Israel, Nasrallah said.

(Updates with reporting from CNN and NBC starting in fifth paragraph.)

More stories like this are available on bloomberg.com

©2024 Bloomberg L.P.

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