Iran’s supreme leader admits Israeli strike didn't do damage

Iran’s supreme leader admits Israeli strike didn't do damage
Khamenei dismisses effectiveness of Iran's rocket attack on Israel with military top brass. / CC:
By bne Tehran bureau April 21, 2024

Leader of Iran Ali Khamenei said on April 21 that the retaliatory strike on Israel demonstrated and proved the “willpower of the Iranian nation and armed forces to the world.” 

Khamenei said that the number of missiles fired at Israel on April 13 "hitting the target is a secondary issue," in his sit down with the military top brass at his Tehran office following Israel's returned strike on Iran with so-called “rampage” rockets on April 19.

“The armed forces' recent achievements have created a sense of splendour and magnificence about Islamic Iran in the eyes of the world and among international observers,” he said at a meeting with Iranian military commanders in his first public remarks.

Iran launched hundreds of drones and missiles on Israel on April 13 in response to the bombing of its embassy in Damascus, Syria, earlier in the month that killed seven military officials.

The strike was conducted soon after Khamenei said in a televised speech that Israel “must and will be punished” for targeting the Iranian embassy, which he said is considered part of the country’s soil.

Following the operation, Israel said 99% of the projectiles were intercepted and only a few reached targets, causing minor damage.

Khamenei praised the Iranian armed forces for their “prudence” in carrying out this operation.

“All actions come with costs and benefits; it is important to minimise the costs and maximise the benefits, which is what the armed forces did well in the recent operations,” he said.

He also called for constant innovation in developing arms and military strategies, as well as gaining knowledge of the enemies’ methods.

The so-called “supreme leader” made no mention of the Israeli strikes on a military airbase in the Iranian Province of Isfahan or Tabriz, in line with the Islamic Republic’s strategy of turning a blind eye to the incident to avoid further escalation.

On April 19, blasts were heard in the central province of Isfahan and the northern city of Tabriz, home to key nuclear and security sites, which Israeli media, including Times of Israel and Security Minister Itamir Ben Gvir and politicians indicated was from them.

Iran played down the incidents, saying its air defence systems intercepted a few unknown microdrones and refused to acknowledge an attack officially.

Several foreign media and online intelligence reports indicated that Israel hit an anti-aircraft system that was meant to protect the nuclear site in Natanz to send a signal to Iran.