Iran warned Israel “not to play with fire” on Monday, threatening retaliation for reports of Israel’s involvement in the weekend’s drone attack on a key defense facility in the city of Isfahan.
The site hit in Saturday’s strike was reportedly a weapons production facility for Iran’s killer Shahed-136 drones, Channel 12 News reported Sunday. According to unsourced reports, the attack incorporates high-quality intelligence and technical capabilities.
Isfahan is also known as the center of Tehran’s missile industry and is where the Shahab intermediate-range missiles, which have a range capable of hitting Israel, are assembled.
An anonymous Iranian official told the Al Jazeera network that Israel appeared to be behind the attack, but he claimed it was a failure.
“Initial signs point to Israeli involvement in the attack on Isfahan, but the investigation must continue,” he said.
His accusation follows Sunday’s New York Times report, which cited a senior US intelligence official who said the attack was orchestrated by Mossad intelligence and was carried out in Israel’s security interests. said.
Iranian officials threatened that Tehran would seek retaliation. “Israel is well aware of receiving a response, as it has in the past.”
“If people who play with fire decide to start a regional war, they are the first to get burned,” the official said.
He also claimed that the strike ultimately failed.
“[The Israelis] They are using propaganda to cover up their failures,” the official said.
Iran had previously believed it had launched drone strikes against US forces and its allies in Syria in retaliation for Israeli attacks aimed at Tehran’s national interests.
Some blamed Israel for the attack, according to a Wall Street Journal report, and the timing of the attack was linked to talks between Jerusalem and Washington aimed at finding new ways to counter Tehran’s nuclear program. He pointed out that it was done at the same time. US Secretary of State Antony Brinken arrived in Israel on Monday.
The US recently hinted at a tougher approach to Tehran, including plans to supply drones to Russia.
The administration of U.S. President Joe Biden has also suggested that it has abandoned the possibility of reviving a deal with Iran on its nuclear program, known as the Joint Comprehensive Action Plan, which then-U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew in 2018. are doing. A “maximum pressure” sanctions regime targeting various sectors of Iran has prompted Tehran to respond by expanding its nuclear program in violation of his JCPOA.
Military ties with Russia over Iran’s invasion of Ukraine and Tehran’s bloody crackdown on anti-regime protests since mid-September have also contributed to Washington’s tough stance.
Last week, Israel and the United States launched large-scale joint exercises in Israel and the eastern Mediterranean. A large military force that is reportedly intended to show adversaries such as Iran that Washington is less distracted by the threat of a Russian invasion of Ukraine and mobilization from China.
In his previous term, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Netanyahu ordered numerous attacks against Iranian targets in Syria and operations inside Iran. He has been open about his intentions to oppose Tehran’s nuclear ambitions at all costs, as Israel generally views Iran’s nuclear bombs as an almost existential threat.
In November, a longtime ally of Netanyahu said in an interview that he believed the prime minister would order attacks on Iran’s nuclear sites if the United States did not secure a new nuclear deal with Tehran and took action in the near future. said.