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Iran can’t win in response to Israeli killing of IRGC leaders

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Emergency and security personnel gather at the site of strikes which hit a building next to the Iranian embassy in Syria's capital Damascus, on April 1, 2024.

Iran constrained by retaliation options

So much for the element of surprise. The entire region, and most of the world, is on high alert for an Iranian response to an Israeli airstrike in Damascus on April 1 that killed the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Quds Force commander in Lebanon and Syria, Mohammad Reza Zahedi, and six other IRGC officials.

Israeli officials have said their country will respond forcefully to an Iranian attack. US CENTCOM commander Michael Kurilla is in Israel as a further sign of "ironclad" US support for Israel against Iran.

Iran has been threatening a response for the past 10 days but is constrained by its desire to avoid a wider conflict that could merit an even more punishing retaliation from Israel, backed by Washington.

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