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Iranian MP Vows Punishment Against Israel Amid Latest Attack

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A hardline Iranian lawmaker has said Tehran will punish Israel over its recent attack on air defense systems in Isfahan as the tit-for-tat conflict continues to escalate. 

“The Islamic Republic of Iran will not leave unanswered any action against its national interests … Iran’s response can come in many shapes and forms but we will do it tactfully,” said Mahmoud Abbaszadeh Meshkini, who serves as a member of the National Security and Foreign Policy Commission of the Iranian parliament.

Reiterating the positions of senior Iranian officials, Abbaszadeh tried to downplay the Isfahan offensive, calling it “a show” performed by Israel in an attempt to “restore its dignity” following Iran’s missile and drone attacks last weekend. For the Israeli government, the media coverage of the incident was more important than its location and intensity, remarked the lawmaker.

On April 13, Iran launched its first ever direct offensive against Israeli territory with more than 350 drones and cruise and ballistic missiles, 99 percent of which were downed, according to the Israeli army.

Early Friday, Israel reportedly targeted Esfahan’s 8th Shekari Air Base in retaliation for Iran’s offensive. Though satellite images and reports indicate that a major defense system in the airbase was damaged, Iranian officials and state media have unanimously played down the operation.

An Iranian missile launcher seen during military drills. Undated

The regime has recently intensified its crackdown against critics, summoning those who have publicly expressed their disapproval of Tehran’s policy with regard to Israel. Earlier in the week, the government took legal action against a number of newspapers and influential journalists who failed to reiterate its rhetoric regarding the attack on Israel in their publications.

Prominent reformist commentator Abbas Abdi, investigative journalist Hossein Dehbashi, and whistle-blower Yashar Soltani were accused of “compromising national security” following their comments regarding Iran’s attack on Israel’s soil.

Ali Salehabadi, the managing editor of Setareh Sobh daily, criticized the government’s foreign policy with regard to Israel in shrouded remarks interwoven within the fabric of an article released on Saturday, asking what had made the West turn support Israel so soon after all but turning its back on the Jewish state. 

He also asked why the Arab masses and Arab states abandoned the ideas of ‘throwing Jews in the sea and destroying Israel’, and turned to compromise with Israel, Salehabadi wrote. He noted that some Arab countries such as Jordan collaborated with Israel, the US, the UK, and France to intercept and down Iranian projectiles before reaching the Jewish state.

He juxtaposed Iran’s declining economy and the rising regional tensions, warning that a war with Israel would target Iran’s economy and inflict damage to the people.

In more than a decade, the country’s economic growth has averaged zero. The situation has been further exacerbated since the US withdrawal from the JCPOA nuclear deal in 2018. Over the past six years, the rial, Iran’s national currency, has fallen 15-fold, fueling inflation and plunging millions of citizens into poverty. Eqtesad 24 news website reported in February that almost one in every three Iranians is currently living below the poverty line as a result of soaring inflation in the past five years.

Meanwhile, Saber Golanbari, journalist and political analyst, wrote in his Telegram channel that neither Israel nor Iran seeks a direct confrontation due to the enormous costs of a war.

“The future is likely to usher in a new round of indirect warfare in various forms. Israel will most probably try to focus more than ever on sabotage against sensitive Iranian facilities as well as on indirect assassinations,” he pointed out.