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Politics

Israel Crossed Iran's “Red Line” in Gaza War – So What?

November 6, 2023
Ehsan Mehrabi
4 min read
Major General Hossein Salami, the IRGC commander-in-chief, stated,"Should the Israelis venture into Gaza, they will be swallowed and buried there"
Major General Hossein Salami, the IRGC commander-in-chief, stated,"Should the Israelis venture into Gaza, they will be swallowed and buried there"
More explicit threats came from Brigadier General Ali Fadavi, the deputy commander of the IRGC, who warned that if Israel launches a ground offensive in Gaza, the "Axis of Resistance," the Islamic Republic’s aligned armed groups around the Middle East, would retaliate and the Revolutionary Guards would launch missile strikes on the Israeli city of Haifa
More explicit threats came from Brigadier General Ali Fadavi, the deputy commander of the IRGC, who warned that if Israel launches a ground offensive in Gaza, the "Axis of Resistance," the Islamic Republic’s aligned armed groups around the Middle East, would retaliate and the Revolutionary Guards would launch missile strikes on the Israeli city of Haifa
Mohsen Rezaei, the former commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), wore a Basiji uniform instead of the uniform of the IRGC when making threats, possibly to avoid them being considered official statements
Mohsen Rezaei, the former commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), wore a Basiji uniform instead of the uniform of the IRGC when making threats, possibly to avoid them being considered official statements
The potential spread of the conflict to other parts of the Middle East has been a recurring theme in the speeches of Foreign Minister Hossein Ami-Abdollahian
The potential spread of the conflict to other parts of the Middle East has been a recurring theme in the speeches of Foreign Minister Hossein Ami-Abdollahian
Hassan Nasrallah, the secretary-general of Lebanon’s Hezbollah movement, has indicated that the militias under his command will not engage in the conflict at the current stage
Hassan Nasrallah, the secretary-general of Lebanon’s Hezbollah movement, has indicated that the militias under his command will not engage in the conflict at the current stage
Kamal Kharazi, head of Iran's Foreign Relations Council, said that the Islamic Republic’s response was: "In order to prevent the spread of war, you must prevent the continuation of Israel's actions"
Kamal Kharazi, head of Iran's Foreign Relations Council, said that the Islamic Republic’s response was: "In order to prevent the spread of war, you must prevent the continuation of Israel's actions"

One month after the eruption of the conflict between Israel and Palestinian terrorist group Hamas, the authorities of the Islamic Republic of Iran issued a series of threats, the most significant of which being a warning to Israel regarding its ground offensive in the Gaza Strip. 

As Israeli ground forces are pushing deeper into Gaza in their attempt to destroy Hamas, the political and military leaderships of the Islamic Republic have not carried out their verbal threats.

***

In the past four weeks, Iranian authorities issued several threats against Israel.

Most of them have come from proxies of the Islamic Republic in the region and, unlike in the past, Israel itself has rarely been directly threatened. 

Meanwhile, officials of the Islamic Republic have spoken less about Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei's promise to destroy Israel.

Mohsen Rezaei, the former commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), wore a Basiji uniform instead of the uniform of the IRGC when making threats, possibly to avoid them being considered official statements. 

Hassan Nasrallah, the secretary-general of Lebanon’s Hezbollah movement, has indicated that the militias under his command will not engage in the conflict at the current stage.

The Iranian authorities had previously labeled an Israeli ground operation in Gaza as a "red line," but they did not comment after the launch of the attack. 

Simultaneously with Israel's attack on Gaza, proxy forces of the Islamic Republic targeted US positions in Iraq and Syria. 

The spokesman of the IRGC threatened to attack bases housing US forces in the region. During this period, there have been communications between Iran and the United States.

Major General Hossein Salami, the IRGC commander-in-chief, stated,"Should the Israelis venture into Gaza, they will be swallowed and buried there."

Salami labeled the conflict in Gaza as "the initial phase of Israel's impending downfall." 

More explicit threats came from Brigadier General Ali Fadavi, the deputy commander of the IRGC, who warned that if Israel launches a ground offensive in Gaza, the "Axis of Resistance," the Islamic Republic’s aligned armed groups around the Middle East, would retaliate and the Revolutionary Guards would launch missile strikes on the Israeli city of Haifa. 

In an interview with Al Jazeera, Major General Mohsen Rezaei, the former commander of the IRGC, suggested that Muslim countries should consider forming a unified Islamic army. 

Rezaei made it clear that attacks on US bases in the region were the work of "resistance groups" and deemed the occupation of the Gaza Strip as a red line for the Islamic Republic.

Asked about his Basij uniform, Rezaei explained: "Wearing a Basij uniform signifies readiness, as we must always be prepared. We are not seeking war, but we are not afraid of it."

The potential spread of the conflict to other parts of the Middle East has been a recurring theme in the speeches of Foreign Minister Hossein Ami-Abdollahian. 

Amir-Abdollahian stressed that "the window for political solutions is closing, and the likelihood of the conflict expanding to other fronts is approaching inevitability."

The minister asserted that Palestinian groups and other forces of the "Axis of Resistance" are prepared for any scenario.

Iran's permanent representation at the United Nations also underscored that if the Gaza conflict does not stop, "the situation could spiral out of control."

Meanwhile, reports emerged regarding Iran's message to the United States, indicating that the Islamic Republic "wishes to avoid further escalation in the conflict between Hamas and Israel, but if Israel's operations in Gaza persist, it may be compelled to intervene."

As Israel continued its offensive in Gaza, Yemen’s Houthi rebels fired rockets at Israel, and groups backed by the Islamic Republic targeted American bases in Iraq.

Meanwhile, IRGC spokesman Brigadier General Ramzan Sharif warned that "the hands that are unable to reach [Israel] have the ability to reach the American forces."

The White House announced that President Joe Biden sent a direct message to Khamenei, warning him against targeting US forces in the Middle East, while the US defense secretary said the American military had carried out an airstrike on positions of IRGC-affiliated groups in eastern Syria.

Reports have emerged regarding two messages addressed by Washington to Tehran.

According to Amir-Abdollahian, the Iranian foreign minister, the United States called on Iran and other parties to exercise “restraint" and said "we do not want war."

Kamal Kharazi, head of Iran's Foreign Relations Council, said that the Islamic Republic’s response was: "In order to prevent the spread of war, you must prevent the continuation of Israel's actions."

Hassan Nasrallah, the Hezbollah leader, said in a speech that "we received messages that if we continue our operations in the south, America will bomb Iran."

Despite the intensification of tension in the region, the latest comments by Iranian officials are less indicative of a direct threat to Israel, and suggest that the Islamic Republic and its proxies will not join the conflict for now. 

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