Javad Amirzadeh, IRGC officer killed in Syria (parsine.com, April 11, 2023).
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תמונה שמכילה רצפה, קיר, בתוך מבנה, אדם התיאור נוצר באופן אוטומטי
Iranian minister of roads and development meets with the Iraqi minister of transport (Tasnim, April 6, 2023).
- On April 2, 2023, the IDF intercepted an Iranian drone apparently launched in response to an IDF attack at the end of March in which two Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) officers were killed. At the beginning of April an IRGC spokesman stated Iran was still committed to avenging their deaths.
- On April 8, 2023, Esmail Ghaani, commander of the IRGC’s Qods Force, arrived in Syria after three rockets were launched from Syrian territory at the Golan Heights, apparently by Palestinian organizations in Syria.
- An officer from the IRGC ground forces’ special ops was killed in Syria. Reports in Iran did not mention the circumstances of his death.
- On April 9, 2023, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi spoke with Syrian President Bashar Assad. Raisi claimed “the crimes of the Zionist regime” were evidence of its weakness and desperation, and a sign of the “resistance’s” shining future.
- A spokesman for the Iranian foreign ministry condemned the IDF attacks in the Gaza Strip and south Lebanon, and called for an international response to Israel’s “crimes.” Iran’s pro-regime media outlets welcomed the regional escalation and represented Israel’s responses to the incidents as its failure to address the possibility of missiles launched simultaneously from several fronts. At a press conference held in preparation for Global Jerusalem Day, marked this year on April 14, 2023, the IRGC spokesman said the formation of a united anti-Zionist front posed a tremendous challenge for Israel.
- At the beginning of April the Iranian minister of roads and development met with Iraqi minister of transportation. They agreed to begin constructing a railroad from Shalamcheh on the Iranian-Iraqi border and Basra in southern Iraq. Construction will start after Ramadan. The project has been discussed for years without practical progress.
Iranian Involvement in Syria
- On April 2, 2023, the IDF intercepted a drone which entered Israeli airspace from Syria. It was intercepted over an open area by electronic warfare. The IDF initial investigation revealed the drone , whose parts were collected by IDF soldiers in the Hula Valley north of the Sea of Galilee, was Iranian (Ynet, April 3, 2023). It was apparently launched in response to the IDF attack on the Damascus area at the end of March, during which two IRGC officers were killed. Ramazan Sharif, IRGC spokesman, held a press conference on April 4, 2023, where he stated that Iran would avenge the blood of the two officers. According to Sharif, “the Zionists know what happened to them in the past few hours and they know what’s in store for them in the future.” He added that the “Zionists” were trying to attack the “resistance front” but the “resistance” would be stronger and more determined (Tasnim, April 4, 2023).
- Saeed Irvani, the Iranian ambassador to the UN, sent a communiqué to the UN secretary general and the president of the Security Council after the attacks against Iranian and pro-Iranian targets in Syria attributed to Israel and the United States. He wrote that Iran’s presence in Syria was completely legal and warned that Tehran would use “determined measures” to defend its forces, facilities and interests against any threat or illegal steps taken by the United States or others (al-Alam, April 4, 2023).
- On April 9, 2023, the Syrian pro-establishment daily paper al-Watan reported that Esmail Ghaani, commander of the IRGC’s Qods Force, had arrived in Syria on April 8, 2023. His visit came following the launching of three rockets from Syrian territory at the southern Golan Heights on the evening of April 8, 2023. The rockets were apparently launched by Palestinian organizations in Syria. In response the IDF attacked a number of Syrian army targets. On April 8, 2023, the Lebanese news website asasmedia.com reported that on April 6, 2023, Esmail Ghaani met in Beirut with the Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) leaderships. According to the report, whose reliability is uncertain, Ghaani met with Isma’il Haniyeh, head of Hamas’ political bureau, his deputy, Saleh al-‘Arouri, members of the PIJ leadership and high-ranking Lebanese close to Hezbollah, and shared their Ramadan fast-breaking meal in the Iranian embassy in Beirut. It was also reported that the meal turned into a joint operations room where “zero hour was decided for a number of actions.”
- On April 11, 2023, IRGC-affiliated Iranian Telegram channel reported “the sudden death” in Syria of an IRGC officer named Javad Amirzadeh. According to the reports, he was an operative in the special ops of the IRGC’s ground forces. No details of the circumstance of his death were recounted.
- On April 12, 2023, Reuters reported that Iran had exploited the airlifted assistance for the victims of the earthquake in Turkey and Syria in February 2023 to deliver weapons to Syria. According to the report, which was based on sources from Syria, Iran and Israel, the weapons were sent to help defend the Iranian forces against Israeli attacks in Syria and to support Syrian President Bashar Assad. Reportedly, for seven weeks hundreds of flights took off from Iran and landed in Syria, bringing advanced communications equipment, batteries of radar installations and spare parts to upgrade Syria’s Iranian-supplied aerial defense systems.
- On April 9, 2023, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi spoke on the telephone with Syrian President Bashar Assad. They discussed bilateral relations and regional developments. Raisi said that the world order was shifting in favor of the “resistance axis” and away from Western “arrogance” and the “Zionist regime,” and that the “crimes of the Zionist regime” revealed its weakness and desperation, and indicated the “resistance’s” shining future. Raisi noted the need for preserving Syria’s territorial integrity and national sovereignty (Tasnim, April 9, 2023).
- Seyyed Hamzeh Qalandari, deputy minister of defense for international affairs, held a press conference where he said Iran regarded itself as committed to helping friendly countries, such as Syria, with their aerial defenses. He said that in the past Syria had no defense against the aerial attacks of the “Zionist regime,” but currently many aerial attacks had been repelled (Tasnim, April 4, 2023).
- On April 4, 2023, a meeting was held in Moscow attended by the deputy foreign ministers of Syria, Turkey, Iran and Russia to discuss the situation in Syria. On April 3, 2023, an Iranian delegation headed by Ali-Asghar Khaji, the senior advisor to the Iranian foreign minister for political affairs, met with a Syrian delegation headed by Ayman Sousan, the Syrian foreign minister (SANA, April 3 and 4, 2023). A meeting of the foreign ministers of the four countries is expected to be held in May.
- On April 3, 2023, Hussein Arnous, head of the Syrian delegation, met with the Iran’s outgoing ambassador in Syria, Mehdi Sobhani, as his mission in Damascus ended, and expressed his thanks and esteem for Sobhani’s efforts to promote bilateral relations and cooperation between Iran and Syria in various fields and for Iran’s support in Syria in recent years. Sobhani said Iran would continue to support Syria and stand with the Syrian people (SANA, April 3, 2023). On April 9, 2023, the outgoing ambassador met with Ayman Sousan, deputy Syrian foreign minister, who presented him with a medal on behalf of the Syrian president for his service in Damascus and as a sign of esteem for his activities to strengthen bilateral relations (Mehr, April 9, 2023). Sobhani will be replaced by Hossein Akbari, former Iranian ambassador to Libya.
Iranian Involvement in the Palestinian Arena
- Nasser Kanani, spokesman for the Iranian foreign ministry, condemned the IDF attacks in the Gaza Strip and south Lebanon, calling them “a gross violation of Lebanese’s sovereignty and integrity and of the principles of international law and human rights.” He called for an “effective response” from the international community to “the Zionist regime’s aggressive measures,” and for an emergency meeting of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation. He noted the need for a strong, united position coordinated with all the Islamic governments to support the Palestinian people and prevent the desecration of al-Aqsa mosque (al-Alam, April 7, 2023).
- The Iranian establishment media praised the multiple terrorist attacks against Israel and claimed Israel’s response to recent events was “proof” of its inability to cope with future scenarios of missiles launched simultaneously from several fronts. The conservative daily newspaper Vatan Emrooz praised the success of the “Palestinian resistance” [terrorist organizations] initiative to attack Israel from three fronts simultaneously, from the north, the south and the West Bank, to “paralyze” Israel’s security system. According to the paper, it would still be possible to attack simultaneously from all the “resistance fronts,” north, south, east and from the sea. The operational and media solidarity of the “resistance front” during the sensitive situation of Passover in Israel, created a “new equation” which frightened the Zionists, for example, the possibility of launching ballistic missiles at key centers in Israel (Vatan Emrooz, April 8, 2023). On April 9, 2023, the IRGC-affiliated Tasnim news agency claimed the Israeli response to the most recent escalation was an attempt to limit the campaign against the “resistance groups” and to avoid confrontation. The conduct of the Netanyahu government and the Israeli security organizations showed they were concerned about simultaneous clashes even on two fronts, and were obviously worried that the entrance of the other “resistance groups” into a war on all the fronts could lead to Israel’s destruction.
- At a press conference held in preparation for Global Jerusalem Day, which falls on April 14, 2023, Ramazan Sharif, IRGC spokesman, said conditions in the West Bank were currently different from what they had been in the past. The new situation was the result of a strategic project to arm the West Bank and the enlistment of new “resistance” groups on the battlefield. He said the unity and coordination of the “fighting Palestinian groups” was stronger than ever before and the creation of a “united anti-Zionist front from south Lebanon and the Syrian Golan to the Gaza Strip and the West Bank” had posed a great challenge for the “Zionist regime” in a short space of time. Regarding the differences of opinion inside Israel, he said that in recent years the “Zionist regime” had suffered from growing disputes which had recently peaked and undermined the leadership and people’s hope of the country’s continued survival (Fars, April 11, 2023).
- On April 12, 2023, Mohammad Kazem Al-e Sadegh, the Iranian ambassador to Baghdad, met with PIJ leader Ziyad al-Nakhalah, who arrived for an official visit to Iraq (Iran, April 13, 2023).
Iranian Involvement in Iraq
- On April 5, 2023, Mehrdad Bazrpash, the Iranian minister of roads and urban development, met with Razak Muhaibes al-Saadawi the Iraqi minister of transport. They discussed bilateral cooperation in fields regarding transportation, including promoting the construction of a railroad between Shalamcheh on the Iranian-Iraqi border and Basra. The Iranian minister said they would begin construction after Ramadan (Tasnim, April 5, 2023). The project connecting Shalamcheh and Basra has been discussed for years but without practical action being taken.
 The IDF attacked in response to the rockets launched from the Gaza Strip and Lebanon into Israeli territory. ↑