Iran seeks international backing following missile strikes on Israel
    Raisi calls Russia & Qatari leaders amid tension

    ANALYTICS  17 April 2024 - 16:56

    Fuad Muxtar-Agbabali

    Amid rising tensions and speculation surrounding a potential Israeli response, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi reached out to Russia’s Putin and Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani to secure their support. These diplomatic efforts underscore Iran's strategy of seeking alliances to bolster its position amid escalating regional conflict. With the specter of retaliation looming, Tehran aims to strengthen its diplomatic partnerships to mitigate the fallout from any potential military escalation.

    April 2024 will go down in history as a crucial month defined by escalating tensions between Israel and Iran, setting the stage for a series of significant military strikes and actions. As the month unfolds, the intensifying conflict between the two nations bodes further confrontations and raises concerns about the potential for heightened violence.

    President Putin's 'praise' for Iran's response to the Israeli attack on its consulate in Damascus as claimed by Iranian media outlets, underscores the strategic alignment between Russia and Iran in countering threats from regional actors. By commending Iran's "tactful" and "wise" approach, Putin implicitly signals Russian support for Iran's right to self-defense and its efforts to maintain stability amidst escalating tensions.

    Any action by Israel or its allies that is deemed to be against Iran’s interests will be met with a “severe, extensive and painful response,” Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi told Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani in a call a day after Israel said it will response to Tehran’s unprecedented drone and missile attack over the weekend.

    On April 1, Israel delivered an airstrike on Iran’s consulate in Damascus, and on April 13, Tehran fired missiles and drones toward the Jewish state after warning regional players.

    "Vladimir Putin said all parties would hopefully show a reasonable degree of restraint to avoid a new bout of tensions that may cause disastrous consequences for the entire region," according to the Russian presidential press service.

    The Iranian president added that Tehran’s action was limited and assured the Kremlin that Tehran was not "seeking to escalate tensions further," the Kremlin added.

    The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said that together with the USA and Britain, Tel Aviv was able to neutralize 99% of the nearly 300 projectiles launched at the Jewish state. While Tehran said it planned no further actions after the April 13 attack, the Jewish state said it was preparing a response.

    Raisi's alleged expression of gratitude towards Russia for its principled stance against Israeli ‘aggression’ highlights the importance of diplomatic support in navigating complex geopolitical challenges. The reference to thwarting conspiracies in the UNSC reflects Iran's reliance on multilateral forums to address international grievances and underscores the limitations of unilateral actions in tackling regional conflicts.

    Further, both leaders condemned the perceived double standards of certain Western countries in their approaches to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the Iranian source said, adding that Raisi's warning to countries expressing concerns about escalating tensions to address the root causes of conflict rather than merely advocating for restraint highlights Iran's frustration with what it perceives as hypocritical rhetoric from Western powers.

    Putin's purported agreement with Raisi’s sentiment further underscores the growing consensus among certain global actors regarding the need for a more equitable approach to regional conflicts. Tehran’s claim that Putin's assertion that Iran is a pillar of stability and security in the region reflects Russia's broader geopolitical calculus in the Middle East. Despite differences in approach and interests, Russia recognizes Iran's role as a ‘key regional player’ and seeks to maintain constructive relations to safeguard its own strategic regional objectives.

    The discussion on bilateral cooperation in various fields underscores the multifaceted nature of the Russia-Iran relationship. Trade, security, energy, transportation, and technology cooperation reflect the diverse range of mutual interests that both countries seek to advance.

    The rhetoric of deterrence

    President Raisi's stern warning underscores Iran's commitment to defending its interests amid escalating tensions. The rhetoric of ‘the smallest action against Iran's interests will definitely be met with a severe, extensive, and painful response’ carries significant weight, signaling Iran's readiness to respond robustly to any perceived threat or aggression.

    Raisi's words convey a sense of determination and resolve, aimed at deterring potential adversaries from taking actions against Iran's interests. By emphasizing a ‘severe, extensive, and painful response,’ he seeks to dissuade any hostile moves by making the potential consequences clear.

    The reference to the Israeli attack on Iran's consulate in Damascus provides context for Iran's response and frames it within the broader regional dynamics. The criticism of the UN and the international community's perceived inaction further highlights Iran's frustration with the lack of condemnation for what it views as unlawful aggression.

    Raisi's phone conversation with the Qatari Emir reflects Iran's efforts to garner support from regional allies and highlight common concerns, particularly regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The shared condemnation of Israeli actions underscores the solidarity among certain regional actors against perceived injustices.

    By invoking Article 51 of the UN Charter to justify Iran's actions as self-defense, Raisi seeks to legitimize Iran's response within the framework of international law. This framing aimed to portray Iran as acting within its rights in the face of external threats.

    Operation True Promise carries symbolic weight, signaling Iran's commitment to fulfilling its alleged promises and defending its interests. The choice of name serves to underscore the seriousness of Iran's response and convey a message of steadfastness to both allies and adversaries.

    While Raisi's words are intended to deter further aggression, there is also a risk of escalating tensions across the region. The mention of potential retaliation against "all its perpetrators" suggests a willingness to broaden the scope of conflict if necessary, raising concerns about the potential for further escalation.

    President Raisi's statements reflect Iran's unwavering stance in defending its interests and deterring potential threats. By issuing a clear warning against any actions deemed detrimental to Iran, he seeks to assert Iran's sovereignty and resilience in the face of external pressure.

    However, the risk of escalation remains, highlighting the delicate balance of power and interests in the region with the impact of the unfolding developments to shed light on many aspects in days to come.


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