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Iran’s foreign minister dismisses Israel’s strikes, says it won’t retaliate

In World
April 20, 2024

Iran’s foreign minister dismissed the Friday morning strikes on his country, which hit near a major air base and nuclear site near the city of Isfahan, casting doubt on their origin and downplaying their impact.

“What happened last night wasn’t a strike,” Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said in translated comments during an interview on NBC News’s “Top Story with Tom Llamas.”

The foreign minister positioned the strikes as inconsequential, saying Iran quickly downed the drones, which he described as being “more like toys that children play with.” He also questioned Israel’s role in the incident, saying the military doesn’t have proof that they were behind the attack.

Israeli officials claimed responsibility for the strikes Friday morning but referred to them as “ineffective.”

When asked by Llamas if Iran was warned of the strikes beforehand, Amir-Abdollahian once again minimized their effects, saying, “It wasn’t worth telling us before it happened.”

The foreign minister also noted that Iran won’t retaliate, but will take action if Israel strikes again.

“If Israel wants to do another […] our next response will be immediate and at the maximum level,” Amir-Abdollahian said.

He also said, “If not, then we’re done.”

Israel and Iran both appearing to downplay the importance of the strikes will likely help ease growing concerns of escalation in the region following Iran’s April 13 drone and missile assault on Israel. Those strikes were in retaliation to Israel’s April 1 airstrike on the Iranian Consulate in Syria

The White House, which has remained quiet about the recent strikes, urged Israel to use caution earlier this week as the country vowed to respond to Iran’s strikes.

Iran President Ebrahim Raisi had also made threats regarding a response by Israel, warning even the “tiniest” assault would result in “massive and harsh” response.

Amir-Abdollahian’s comments suggest, however, that the potential tit-for-tat escalation some feared may be avoided.

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