Skip to main content

With US on its side, Israel expects any imminent Iran attack to be 'measured'

Diplomatic efforts are reportedly underway to contain any military escalation, clarifying limits to Iran to avoid all-out war.
Iran war heads

TEL AVIV — Tensions remained high in the Middle East and beyond on Friday in expectation of Iran's response to the April 1 assassination of Quds Force commander Gen. Mohammad Reza Zahedi and six other Iranian military advisers, in an airstrike at the Islamic Republic's consulate in Damascus widely attributed to Israel. 

“Western intelligence agencies apparently have intelligence indicating that the Iranian attack will take place in the coming days,” a senior Israeli political source told Al-Monitor, speaking on the condition of anonymity amid extensive speculation by international media outlets about the timing and nature of Iran’s retaliation. “The effort now is to clarify to Iran the outlines that will allow the sides to exit this event without deteriorating into all-out war.”

The outlines are simple: If Iran employs its proxies — among them Hezbollah in Lebanon or the Houthi rebels in Yemen — to launch rockets, cruise missiles or drones at Israel, “the event could be contained,” according to the senior Israeli political source. “But if Iran launches missiles at Israel from its territory, there will undoubtedly be a broad Israeli response against Iran itself, which could lead to a comprehensive and rapid deterioration into war in the Middle East.”

The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday that Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, had yet to decide among the various options presented to him.

Access the Middle East news and analysis you can trust

Join our community of Middle East readers to experience all of Al-Monitor, including 24/7 news, analyses, memos, reports and newsletters.


Only $100 per year.