A top Iranian official said on Monday that his country still has the right to avenge itself against Israel for an apparent IDF strike in Syria that killed an Iranian army general, despite a Hezbollah retaliatory attack last week that took the lives of two Israeli soldiers.
Alaeddin Boroujerdi, who chairs the Iranian parliament’s national security and foreign policy committee, said in an interview with the Al-Manar television channel that Iran reserves the right to respond to the January 18 attack on a convoy near Quneitra on the Syrian Golan Heights.
Six Hezbollah operatives, including a top commander, and one Iranian general were confirmed killed in the strike, which was followed by threats of severe retaliation from Hezbollah and Tehran.
Among those killed was Mohammed Ali Allahdadi, a decorated Iranian general reportedly advising the Syrians on their war effort.
Boroujerdi had previously stated that Tehran received messages from Jerusalem that Israel — which has not officially taken responsibility for the air strike — is not interested in an escalation.
The full interview was to be broadcast later on Monday evening.
Boroujerdi’s comments came after two IDF soldiers were killed and seven injured in a Hezbollah ambush on a convey traveling in the Mount Dov area of the border between Israel and Lebanon. Hezbollah, a Lebanese Shiite terror organization backed by Iran, said the clash was revenge for the Quneitra incident, and later sent a message to Israel via the UN saying it did not want to escalate further, according to Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon.
After the attack, Iranian and Hezbollah officials declared a united front along Israel’s northern border, but analysts warned that Tehran may look to exact its own revenge for the strike separate from the Hezbollah strike.
Days before the Hezbollah attack, Israel’s Channel 10 television news reported that Jerusalem had sent calming messages to the Iranians and Hezbollah via Russia in an effort to prevent an escalation of the tinderbox situation on the northern border.
According to Channel 10, Israeli officials told Moscow that Israel viewed the Quneitra strike as an act of self-defense, and that Hezbollah had forced Israel’s hand by building an offensive infrastructure on its border.
Jerusalem stressed it did not want the situation to deteriorate into a regional conflict. Russian leaders conveyed this message to Beirut and Tehran.
Hezbollah, Syria and Iran had all vowed to strike at Israel in the wake of the attack. There have been conflicting reports as to whether Israel knew that Allahdadi was in the convoy hit during the airstrike.