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Arab states condemn Israel strike on Iran consulate in Syria

Arab states condemn 'Israel strike' on Iran consulate in Syria
4 min read
02 April, 2024
Arab countries from Qatar and Saudi Arabia to Egypt and Jordan have condemned a strike on Iran's consulate in the Syrian capital Damascus.
A suspected Israeli strike hit Iran's consulate in the Syrian capital Damascus [LOUAI BESHARA/AFP/Getty]

Arab states have condemned a deadly strike, blamed on Israel, on Iran's consulate in the Syrian capital Damascus on Monday.

Iran said the strike killed seven Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps members, including two commanders of its Quds Force foreign operations arm.

The attack – suspected to have been carried out by Israel, which has for years struck Iranian-linked targets in Syria – has killed 13 people, including six Syrians, according to Iranian state TV.

The New York Times newspaper cited four unnamed Israeli officials as saying Israel was behind the attack.

What have Arab states said?

Saudi Arabia, a regional rival of Iran, condemned the attack on the Damascus consulate.

The Saudi foreign ministry expressed Riyadh's "categorical rejection of targeting diplomatic facilities for any justification, and under any pretext, which is a violation of international diplomatic laws and the rules of diplomatic immunity".

Qatar "strongly condemned" the strike, with its foreign ministry calling it a "flagrant violation of international agreements and conventions and diplomatic norms that criminalize attacks on the premises of diplomatic missions".

The ministry reiterated Doha's "firm position on rejecting violence and terrorism, regardless of the motives and reasons".

Neither the Saudi nor Qatari statements attributed responsibility for the attack.

Nor did Jordan, one of several Arab states to have normalised ties with Israel, when its foreign ministry issued a condemnation.

The ministry stated that its spokesperson Sufyan Al-Qudah had "said the targeting of the consulate represents a serious violation of international law, and an assault on the inviolability of diplomatic premises protected under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations".

Egypt, Oman, and Kuwait also condemned the attack in Damascus.

The foreign ministry of the UAE, which agreed to establish formal relations with Israel in 2020, published a one-sentence statement condemning the "targeting of the Iranian diplomatic mission".

Faisal Mikdad, the Syrian dictator Bashar Al-Assad's foreign minister, "affirmed" that "Israel cannot affect the relationship" between Damascus and Tehran.

"We strongly condemn this heinous terrorist attack that targeted the Iranian consulate building in Damascus killing a number of innocent people," Mikdad, who visited the site, said in a statement carried by Syrian regime news agency SANA.

Lebanon slammed the "Israeli attack", the official National News Agency reported.

Iraq said the strike "represents a clear and flagrant violation of international law and the sovereignty of Syria", but did not say who it believed was responsible.

Baghdad did, however, call for the international community to take "urgent action" to "stop the killing and destruction in the Gaza Strip" and the "continued targeting of Syrian territory".

Israel is waging a brutal war against Gaza, where its military campaign has so far killed almost 33,000 people.

UN Security Council meeting to take place

The UN Security Council was to discuss the Damascus strike on Tuesday at a meeting requested by Syrian regime ally Russia.

Iran's mission to the United Nations warned that the strike could "potentially ignite more conflict involving other nations" and called on the Security Council "to condemn this unjustified criminal act".

Russia blamed the Israeli air force for the "unacceptable attack against the Iranian consular mission in Syria".

Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said Beijing "condemns the attack", adding that "the security of diplomatic institutions cannot be violated, and Syria's sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity should be respected".

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European Union spokesman Peter Stano said that "in this highly tense regional situation, it is really of utmost importance to show restraint because the further escalation in the region is in no one's interests".

Iran has charged that the United States, Israel's main backer, bore responsibility, even as an unidentified US official quoted by the news website Axios insisted Washington "had no involvement" or advanced knowledge of it.

An American official said Washington "has communicated this directly to Iran".

Axios reported that Israel told US President Joe Biden's administration a few minutes prior to carrying out the attack, though did not request Washington's go-ahead, according to Israeli and US officials.

Iran's Foreign Minister Amir-Abdollahian said on social media platform X, formerly Twitter, that the ministry had summoned a diplomat from the Swiss embassy, which looks after US interests in Iran.

Iranian retaliation

Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei vowed that Israel "will be punished at the hands of our brave men. We will make them regret this crime and the other ones."

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Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi condemned the attack as a "clear violation of international regulations" which "will not go unanswered".

Israeli news website Ynet reported that Israel's foreign ministry "has decided to enhance security measures for all Israeli representations worldwide".

Iranian MP Jalal Rashidikochi took to X to suggest targeting "one of the Zionist diplomatic centres in a regional country", according to the news outlet IranWire, which said he had floated the option of Azerbaijan.

Azerbaijan has strong ties with Israel and its relations with Iran are difficult.

Agencies contributed to this report.