The Significance of Iran’s Targeted Response to Israeli Provocation Commentary
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The Significance of Iran’s Targeted Response to Israeli Provocation
Edited by: JURIST Staff

On April 14, Iran delivered a calculated response to Israel’s recent attacks, marking the first time the Islamic Republic has struck Israel from its own territory some 1,900 kilometers away.

In the 13 days that have passed since Israel’s assault on the consulate of the Islamic Republic of Iran in Damascus, tensions in the Middle East have soared. Israel has long targeted Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) commanders beyond Iran’s borders through drone strikes, prompting Iran to retaliate through proxies. However, this time, Iran opted for a different approach in response to the consulate attack. Over the course of nearly two weeks, Iranian officials deliberated on a measured response that would resonate with domestic public opinion, deter Israel, and avoid further escalation.

Ultimately, Iran chose to launch limited missile and drone attacks from its own territory toward Israel. Iran justified this military action under Article 51 of the United Nations Charter, citing legitimate defense against Israeli aggression targeting its diplomatic facilities in Damascus.

But who emerged victorious from these restrained and minimally impactful attacks?

While Western media claimed this assault was the largest drone attack in regional history, it is essential to recognize Iran’s intention was not to unleash widespread damage or seek significant retaliation. Unlike the barrage of rockets fired by Hamas at Israel, where approximately 85% were intercepted, Iran’s strikes on Israel were controlled to some extent, likely aimed at preventing escalation.

The attack left Paban Baft unscathed with minimal damage to one airbase.* However, Iran’s declaration that it will respond even more severely to any future attacks sends a clear message that the cost of targeting consular and diplomatic centers has risen. Iran seems inclined to directly counter Israeli attacks going forward, despite the increased risk of retaliatory strikes on Iranian soil.

While Israel and the international community anticipated Iran’s retaliatory actions, Iran claims to have achieved its objectives with these attacks, dubbing itself the victor of the overnight conflict. State-affiliated Iranian media depicts the assaults as breaching Israel’s anti-missile security system, notably the Iron Dome, causing panic. Iran’s ability to penetrate Israel’s defense system, intercepting only 10% of the missiles, is portrayed as a success.

However, some view the missile operation as costly and futile, highlighting Iran’s missile and defense system weaknesses. Despite launching 185 drones, 36 cruise missiles, and 110 ballistic missiles, only a few reached Israeli territory, all intercepted and destroyed.

An Israeli spokesperson reported that 99% of Iran’s missiles and drones were intercepted. While Iran modeled its attacks on Russia’s tactics in Ukraine, the outcome favored the Israeli government. After enduring seven months of conflict with Hamas and widespread casualties, internal and international protests against the Netanyahu administration surged.

Recent weeks witnessed a decline in Israel’s international support, emboldening Iran to directly confront Israel. Despite ongoing ceasefire negotiations and hostage releases, internal unrest persisted in Israel. Internationally, condemnation of the war and the high civilian death toll in Gaza intensified pressure on Netanyahu and his government.

Now, attention shifts to Iran and the escalating conflict with Israel, overshadowing the Gaza crisis. These attacks reinforce perceptions of Iran and its proxies as a looming threat to Israel’s existence, justifying continued hostilities against Hamas in Gaza.

Israel’s allies, including the Arab world, condemned Iran’s actions and pledged support to de-escalate tensions. The United States and the United Kingdom, once critics of Netanyahu’s policies, dispatched fighter jets and defenses to aid Israel. Jordan intercepted several projectiles launched by Iran.

Iran’s recent attack on Israel is unlikely to resolve the six-month Gaza conflict for Netanyahu. Instead, it adds to Israel’s challenges, including potential charges of “genocide” in the International Criminal Court and a Security Council resolution to end the conflict by Ramadan’s end, which Israel opposes.

Both Israel and Iran have promised further responses, hinting at heightened tensions in the Middle East. Calls for restraint from the European Union, China, and Russia underscore the urgency of preventing further escalation. The region teeters on the brink of a larger conflict, raising questions about the establishment of new red lines or the onset of a devastating war.

Sharareh Abdolhoseinzadeh is a Middle East researcher and law student from Iran. She holds a PhD in Political Science.

*Editor’s note: This op-ed features insights from an Iranian scholar, offering perspective on a recent attack that remains a topic of ongoing debate and news coverage. At JURIST, our mission is to present diverse global viewpoints on matters concerning the rule of law. It’s crucial to acknowledge that in situations involving armed conflicts, casualties, strategic objectives, and damages are often contested. We remind our readers that this article represents the author’s opinion and encourage critical engagement with the subject matter.


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