Photo Credit: US Navy
The aircraft carrier USS Dwight Eisenhower seen with a support ship transits the Strait of Hormuz, on Dec. 14, 2023.

Tehran is doubling down on its threat to “punish” Israel for an airstrike earlier this month in Damascus that eliminated the two top generals of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Quds Force who were responsible for the country’s military activities in Syria and Lebanon.

Speaking in an interview with the Hezbollah-linked Al Mayadeen television network in Lebanon, Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Navy Rear Admiral Alireza Tangsiri criticized the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and other regional countries for allowing Israel to gain a foothold in the Persian Gulf region.


Tangsiri expressed concern over the growing ties between the Israeli regime and certain countries in the region, warning that Iran sees Israel’s ties with the United Arab Emirates as a threat to national and regional security, according to Iran’s semi-official IRNA news outlet.

The IRGC commander said that allowing normalization with Israel place in the Persian Gulf region “is not in keeping with the spirit of good neighborliness and Muslim brotherhood, adding the move carries “significant” implications.

“We maintain the security of this region, but the presence of Zionists in our neighboring country is not in line with the principles of good neighborliness and Muslim brotherhood.”

The IRGC commander said diplomatic missions are considered safe havens that should not be violated even in times of war. “In that embassy, there were not only military advisors, but also women, children, and men,” he said, adding that Iran expects the international community to address the issue “decisively.”

Tangsiri echoed pledges of retaliation made earlier this week by Iranian government leaders, vowing the Islamic Republic will “deliver a strong blow” to Israel “at the appropriate time,” but adding, “we do not act impulsively or hastily.”

“Today, we are responsible for the security of this region, including the vital Strait of Hormuz, through which more than 85 oil tankers pass daily,” Tangsiri said.

Tangsiri also reminded the United States that the Persian Gulf is not an “international sea” but rather belongs to Iran and other states. “We don’t have international waters here, we have international waterways,” he said.

“They (Americans) are present in our neighbor’s waters, not in international waters. They do not even pass through the international waters that surround our islands, but we constantly monitor their activities,” he said.


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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for, and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.