A senior Iranian lawmaker said Israel would be the first casualty of any U.S.-led strike on Syria, according to regional media reports.
Hossein Sheikholeslam, the director general of the Iranian parliament’s International Affairs bureau, claimed the United States would not dare attack Syria but said that if it does, “the Zionist regime will be the first victim.”
“No military attack will be waged against Syria,” Sheikholeslam was quoted as saying on Monday by Iran’s state run Fars News Agency.
“Yet, if such an incident takes place, which is impossible, the Zionist regime will be the first victim of a military attack on Syria,” Sheikholeslam said in an apparent response to the Obama administration’s increasingly stern rhetoric against Syria.
Iran has been one of embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s chief allies. It has sent Hezbollah reinforcements to battle rebel forces and acted as Assad’s chief defender in the Middle East.
As the Obama administration hints that it is gearing up to intervene in Syria following the reported use of chemical weapons, Iranian officials have similarly ramped up their rhetoric.
Sheikholeslam said Assad would immediately respond to a U.S. attack by going after the Jewish state with the full force of his military.
Iran warns west against military intervention in Syria
Iran has warned that foreign military intervention in Syria will result in a conflict that would engulf the region.
The threatening rhetoric from Tehran came in response to a statement by the secretary of state, John Kerry, on Monday that the US would respond to the “undeniable” use of chemical weapons in Syria.
In the strongest signal yet that the US intends to take military action against the Assad regime, Kerry said President Bashar al-Assad’s forces had committed a “moral obscenity” against his own people.
“Make no mistake,” Kerry said. “President Obama believes there must be accountability for those who would use the world’s most heinous weapon against the world’s most vulnerable people. Nothing today is more serious, and nothing is receiving more serious scrutiny”.
Iranian foreign ministry spokesman, Abbas Araqchi, indicated it was equally resolved to defend Assad.
“We want to strongly warn against any military attack in Syria. There will definitely be perilous consequences for the region,” Araqchi told a news conference. “These complications and consequences will not be restricted to Syria. It will engulf the whole region.”
via Iran warns west
PM: Israel Ready to React if Syria Attacks
Israel will strike back “fiercely” if Syria attacks, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu warned Tuesday.
“The state of Israel is prepared for every scenario,” he said. “We are not part of the civil war in Syria, but if we detect any attempt to hurt us, we will react, and react fiercely.”
A top Syrian official warned Monday that if attacked, Syria will react against Israel. Syrian Deputy Information Minister Halaf Al-Maftah claimed that Iraq, Lebanon and Iran would join Syria in hitting Israel if Western nations attack in Syria, and that Syria has “strategic weapons” it could use against the Jewish state.
Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Chairman Avigdor Lieberman made similar comments to Netanyahu’s earlier in the day. Israel “may have no choice” but to get involved in the fighting in Syria, Lieberman warned, adding, “I hope that everyone knows how to read the map correctly and understand that Israel has no interest in entering the whirlpool of the Arab world.”
Top United States officials said Tuesday that the U.S. could strike in Syria as early as Thursday. U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has warned that if reports reveal that the Syrian regime was behind a major chemical weapons attack near Damascus, immediate action may be needed in order to prevent a repeat attack.