Iran's Khamenei praises success of military after Israel attack

AFP , Sunday 21 Apr 2024

Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei praised the country's armed forces for their "success" in his first public comments since Tehran launched an unprecedented direct attack on Israel last week.

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A handout picture provided by the office of Iran s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on April 21, 2024, shows him speaking to a group of commanders of the Iranian armed forces in Tehran. AFP

 

In a meeting with Iranian military commanders on Sunday, Khamenei praised the armed forces for their "success in recent events", a week after the country's first-ever direct attack on Israel from its own territory.

"The armed forces showed a good image of their abilities and power and an admirable image of the Iranian nation," Khamenei said. "They also proved the emergence of the power of the Iranian nation's determination at the international level."

The remarks from Iran's supreme leader are the first since Iran offensive on Israel and since a reported Israeli attack on a military airbase in central Isfahan province on Friday.

"The armed forces' recent achievements have created a sense of splendour and magnificence about Islamic Iran in the eyes of the world," Khamenei said in quotes posted on his official X account.

The Friday strike, which Khamenei did not mention, was a presumed response to Iran's unprecedented drone and missile attack on Israel which was itself a retaliation for an airstrike on the Iranian consular building in Damascus.

That Israeli attack leveled the consular annex of the Iranian embassy and killed seven members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, including two generals.

Israel said it intercepted 99 percent of the more than 300 drones and missiles fired at it, with the aid of the United States and other allies and that those which got through caused only minor damage.

Addressing his country's retaliation on Israel, Khamenei said "the issue of the number of missiles fired or the missiles that hit the target" was "secondary".

"The main issue is the emergence of the willpower of the Iranian nation and the armed forces in the international arena," he said, according to his official website.

Iran and Israel appeared to have stepped back from the brink of a broader conflict following Friday's attack, which Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian appeared to downplay to US media on Saturday.

Speaking to NBC News, he dismissed it as "no attack" and said the weapons used were "at the level of toys", adding that if there was "no new adventure" by Israel then Iran "would have no response".

The comments helped to dampen fears of an all-out war between the arch-foes which could spread into a wider regional conflict.

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