Washington Says It Warned, Not Asked, Iran Against Attacks On US Troops


By Kian Sharifi

(RFE/RL) — The United States has warned Iran against attacking its troops and bases in the Middle East as Tehran plans its response to a suspected Israeli strike that killed seven military men on April 1.

A deputy to the Iranian president’s chief of staff said on April 5 that Iran had told Washington in a written message to “stay away” from Israel or risk getting “hurt.”

“In response, [the] U.S. asked Iran not to target American facilities,” Mohammad Jamshidi wrote on X, formerly Twitter.

Responding to a request from RFE/RL for comment, a U.S. State Department spokesperson disputed Jamshidi’s claim.

“We did not ‘ask,'” the spokesperson said in written comments. “We responded by warning Iran not to use this as a pretext to attack U.S. personnel and facilities.”

A building that Iran says housed the consular section of its embassy in the Syrian capital of Damascus was destroyed in suspected Israeli air strikes on April 1. Seven members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), including two generals, were among 12 people killed.

Israel, as per its usual policy, has not commented on the strike.

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei pledged retaliation after the attack, vowing that Israel would be “punished by the hands of our courageous men.”

The IRGC’s chief commander, Major General Hossein Salami, reiterated the threat on April 5, and a top military commander on April 6 again renewed the promise.

General Mohammad Bagheri, Iran’s joint chief of staff, told mourners gathered for the funeral of General Mohammad Zahedi in Isfahan that Iran will decide when and how to stage an “operation” to take revenge. Zahedi was the highest-ranking commander slain in the April 1 attack.

“The time, type, plan of the operation will be decided by us, in a way that makes Israel regret what it did,” he said. “This will definitely be done.”

CBS News on April 5 reported that U.S. intelligence indicated Tehran is planning an attack involving a mixture of Shahed drones and cruise missiles. The target and timing are unknown, but striking an Israeli diplomatic facility would be a proportional response, the report said.

At least 18 Iranian members of the IRGC, including key generals, have been killed in suspected Israeli strikes in Syria since early December. Iran has vowed to avenge them, but has yet to deliver.

Pressure from its hard-line support base is growing on the Islamic republic to retaliate.

Analysts have told RFE/RL that Tehran may have reached a point where it needs to take action, but any response would need to be calibrated to reduce the odds of a direct conflict with Israel.


RFE/RL journalists report the news in 21 countries where a free press is banned by the government or not fully established.

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