Iran Admits Overnight Air Attack Was Israel but Dismisses Strike as ‘Desperate’

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian at a joint news conference with Russian

Foreign Minister of Iran Hossein Amir-Abdollahian appeared to concede on Friday that Israel had launched an aerial attack on his country in the early morning hours after Iranian state media and senior officials spent much of the day claiming they had observed “suspicious objects” but denying they had anything to do with Israel.

Amir-Abdollahian — speaking from New York, where he is to attend United Nations meetings on the ongoing tensions between Israel and its Islamist neighbors — derided Israel as “desperate” to claim the attack as a success despite reports not documenting any casualties.

“In a desperate attempt, the media supporters of the Zionist regime (Israel) tried to make a victory out of their repeated defeat,” the state-controlled PressTV propaganda outlet quoted Amir-Abdollahian as saying.

Reports began circulating in the early morning hours (local time) of Friday of explosions occurring near multiple major cities in Iran. The report causing the most concern was about explosions near Isfahan, which is close to a site believed to be home to a key nuclear development facility. Other reports suggested that Israeli forces had targeted Iranian jihadist outposts in Syria and Iraq at the same time.

ABC News reported on Friday that one potential target was an air defense radar site used to protect a nuclear facility outside of Isfahan rather than the nuclear site itself. The fighter jet attack did not reportedly cause significant damage.

The reports followed an unprecedented and failed attack directly by the Iranian military on Israel on April 13, in which Tehran reportedly fired more than 300 cruise missiles, ballistic missiles, and drones at Israel. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) confirmed they successfully intercepted 99 percent of the projectiles. Minimal damage and only one casualty, an injured Arab Bedouin girl, were documented. Iran has taken to calling the failure “Operation True Promise” and has falsely claimed that it hit Israeli military targets and that the operation was a success.

WATCH — Israeli Interception! Aerial Defense System Obliterates Drones & Missiles

IDF via Storyful

Iranian officials claim “Operation True Promise” was necessary in response to an April 1 airstrike on an Israeli consulate in Damascus, Syria, that killed seven members of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) terrorist organization, including commander Mohammad Reza Zahedi. IRGC-affiliates subsequently claimed that Zahedi played a role in the October 7 massacre of about 1,200 people by the Iran-backed terrorist organization Hamas.

The Associated Press

Emergency service workers clear the rubble at a destroyed building struck by Israeli jets in Damascus, Syria, on April 1, 2024. (SANA via AP)

The Israeli government did not directly take responsibility for the attack on Friday, but multiple Israeli officials made public comments appearing to confirm that the IDF took action to infiltrate Iranian airspace. Similarly, the Iranian government initially denied that it was under attack at all.

“No foreign aerial attack has been carried out so far against Isfahan or other areas of the country,” Hossein Dalirian, a spokesman for Iran’s space agency, said on Friday, according to PressTV. Other officials confirmed the existence of “suspicious objects” in the sky over Isfahan but suggested they could have been privately owned drones deployed domestically.

The IRGC-affiliated Tasnim News Agency published an “exclusive,” claiming, “There are no reports of an attack from abroad against Isfahan or any other part of Iran,” citing “informed sources.”

“Air defense units were activated in some places such as Isfahan and Tabriz, but that measures were due to the high sensitivity of the air defense systems due to the current situation and the ‘possibility’ of detecting some small drones,” the anonymous sources claim.

Al-Mayadeen, a media outlet linked to the Lebanese Iranian terrorist proxy Hezbollah, also cited anonymous sources who denied that any attack within Iran had occurred.

“What is being circulated about an Israeli attack on Iran are lies and are part of a misinformation war, according to our sources,” al-Mayadeen claimed.

Amir-Abdollahian’s declaration of victory on Friday, naming Israel, leaves unanswered how Iran will respond. Less than 24 hours prior, the foreign minister had stated that Tehran had “concluded” its retribution for the Damascus airstrike but warned that Israel would face a “decisive and proper response” against any military action.

“Certainly, in case of any illegal use of force by the Israeli regime, the Islamic Republic of Iran will not hesitate a bit to assert its inherent right to give a decisive and proper response to it to make the regime regret its actions. This is an unchangeable decision,” Amir-Abdollahian said on Thursday.

On Friday, the foreign minister promised an “immediate, maximum, and firm” response to any future “Israeli adventurism” but did not specify if such an escalation would follow after the attack on Isfahan.

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