DUBAI (Reuters) - Iran has told the United States that an Israeli air strike which killed an Iranian general in Syria last week had crossed “red lines” and the Islamic Republic will respond, a senior official was quoted as saying by IRNA news agency on Tuesday.
“We told the Americans that the leaders of the Zionist regime should await the consequences of their act,” deputy foreign minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian said.
Iranian Revolutionary Guard General Mohammed Allahdadi was killed with a Hezbollah commander and the son of the group’s late military leader, Imad Moughniyeh, in a Jan. 18 attack on a Hezbollah convoy near the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.
A senior Israeli security source said Israeli forces believed they were attacking only low-ranking guerrillas. Officially, Israel has not commented on the attack.
“In this message to the Americans we said that the Zionist regime had crossed our red lines,” Abdollahian said.
Abdollahian said Iran delivered the message to U.S. officials via diplomatic channels. The two countries have not had direct diplomatic relations since Iran’s 1979 revolution, but the United States has taken part in international talks with Tehran on its nuclear program and its interests are represented by Switzerland’s Tehran mission.
Abdollahian’s warning echoed those of Iran’s Basij force commanders at a ceremony on Tuesday honoring Allahdadi.
“The Zionists should know that they are approaching their destruction. They should be fully prepared because they will not have peace any more,” Brigadier General Mohammad Reza Naghdi said according to ISNA news agency.
Israel has struck inside Syria several times since the start of the Syrian civil war, mostly destroying weaponry such as missiles that Israeli officials said were destined for Iranian-backed Hezbollah, Israel’s longtime foe in neighboring Lebanon.
Hezbollah has been fighting alongside President Bashaw Ass ad’s forces in the four-year-old Syrian conflict.
Reporting By Michelle Moghtader; Editing by Dominic Evans