Iranian media reported that the attack carried out on a convoy of trucks near the Iraqi-Syrian border on January 29 did not result in any deaths, whether Iranian or not. The spokesman of the Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs condemned the attack, which has been attributed to Israel, and insisted that Israel’s actions against the “resistance axis” will not save it from the crises it is facing domestically and internationally. Meanwhile, Iranian media published documentation of trucks carrying food and medicine from Iran, which arrived in Syria after the strike on the convoy of trucks.
Following the earthquake that severely damaged Turkey and Syria on February 6, Iran expressed willingness to provide medical and humanitarian assistance to the victims of the quake. The Telegram channel Sabereen News, which is affiliated with the pro-Iranian militias in Iraq, published documentation of members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) providing assistance in rescuing and evacuating victims of the earthquake in the area of Aleppo. On the night of February 7, the first Iranian plane carrying aid landed in Syria. Additional Iranian cargo planes carrying aid are expected to reach Syria in the coming days.
Meetings between senior Iranian and Iraqi officials to bolster cooperation between the two countries: the deputy head of the Iranian judiciary visited Baghdad and met with Iraq’s national security adviser and the Iraqi minister of justice; the deputy Iranian minister of foreign affairs met with the president of Iraq; and the Iranian ambassador in Baghdad met with the Iraqi minister of industry and mining.
The Iranian minister of foreign affairs spoke in late January with the secretary general of Hamas Politburo and the secretary general of Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) and discussed with them the latest developments in the West Bank and Jerusalem. The minister condemned the “crimes of the Zionists” in Jenin and praised the “Palestinian resistance,” which retaliated to these crimes through the militant attack in Jerusalem, which killed seven Israeli civilians.
Iranian Involvement in Syria
On the night of January 29, a convoy of trucks crossing the Iraqi-Syrian border near Albu Kamal in Deir Ezzor governorate was hit with airstrikes. Syrian opposition-affiliated outlets reported that the targeted trucks were carrying weaponry and ammunition to pro-Iranian militias operating in Syria. The Lebanese pro-Hezbollah channel al-Mayadeen reported (January 29) that the strike hit three Iranian trucks delivering foodstuffs to Syria. On January 30, Iraqi and Syrian sources reported about two additional strikes by aerial vehicles against trucks along the Syrian-Iraqi border (Sabereen News, January 30).
The official Iranian news agency IRNA reported (January 30) based on a knowledgeable source, that the strike on the three trucks did not result in any deaths, whether Iranian or otherwise, and that only a Syrian driver was wounded. The source remarked that the “Zionist regime” is seeking to undermine security in the region to distract public attention from its domestic problems, but the rulers of Tel Aviv must know that the “Zionist regime” will soon be eradicated.
Against the backdrop of the apparent Israeli strikes along the Iraqi-Syrian border and in Iran itself, the Spokesman of the Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Nasser Kanaani, wrote on his Twitter account (February 1) that the “harmful actions of the Zionist regime against the resistance axis will not save it from deterioration.” He added that Israel is facing a domestic crisis and an uprising of the Palestinian people on three fronts: Gaza, the West Bank and the 1948 territories [Israel itself].
On February 1, the Iranian al-Alam network published photos of trucks carrying “food and medicine” from Iran, which reached Damascus and Aleppo “despite the strikes of the Zionist regime” along the Iraqi-Syrian border.
Iranian trucks dispatched to Syria (al-Alam, February 1).
Iran’s Supreme Leader’s senior advisor for international affairs, Ali-Akbar Velayati, sent a letter to Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah, congratulating him on signing the agreement to extract gas and oil from Lebanese waters. Velayati noted that Hezbollah is an important and vital pillar of the “Resistance Front” in the region and that the organization has demonstrated that it does not only protect Lebanon’s security and dignity, but stands by the “Resistance Front” wherever it encounters a problem, for example in the struggle of the Palestinians against Israel and in the campaign against ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra in Syria and Iraq (Al-Mayadeen , February 3 2023).
The Spokesman of the Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Nasser Kanaani, expressed his country’s willingness to assist Syria following the earthquake that occurred on the night of February 6. During his weekly press conference, Kanaani declared that Iranian aid organization are ready to provide medical and humanitarian assistance to those affected by the earthquake in Syria and Turkey (Fars, February 6). The Chairman of the Iranian Red Crescent Society, Pirhossein Kolivand, also expressed willingness to provide humanitarian assistance to those affected by the earthquake (the website of the Iranian Red Crescent, February 6). The Telegram channel Sabereen News, which is affiliated with the pro-Iranian Shia militias operating in Iraq, published on February 6 images of IRGC personnel assisting in rescuing and evacuating survivors of the earthquake around Aleppo.
On the night of February 7, the first Iranian plane carrying blankets, tents, food, and medicine for the survivors of the earthquake landed at the Damascus International Airport (ISNA, February 7). Additional Iranian planes carrying humanitarian assistance are set to arrive in Syria in the coming days.
On February 7, the President of Iran, Ebrahim Raisi, spoke on the phone with the Syrian President, Bashar al-Assad, and stated that Iran is standing by Damascus in this disaster. He expressed his condolences to the Syrian people and wished a speedy recovery for those injured. Assad thanked the Iranian government and its people for sending the assistance and providing help to those affected by the earthquake (ISNA, February 7).
On February 8, the Commander of the IRGC’s Qods Force, Esmail Qa’ani, arrived in Aleppo to closely observe the Iranian rescue and assistance operation to the survivors of the quake (Tasnim, February 8).
Iranian Involvement in Iraq
On January 31, the Iraqi National Security Adviser, Qassim al-Araji, met in Baghdad with a delegation led by Kazem Gharibabadi, the Deputy Head of the Iranian Judicial Branch for International Affairs and Human Rights. The meeting focused on bilateral relations and ways to bolster cooperation between the two countries. Al-Araji declared in the meeting that there is agreement concerning the need to fight terrorism to ensure security and stability in the region. He added that Iran and Iraq have mutual goals in removing tensions from the region by reaching understandings between the countries of the region, and that the government led by PM Muhammad al-Sudani is serious in its intent to bolster ties with Iran. During his visit to Baghdad, the senior Iranian official also met with the Iraqi Minister of Justice, Khaled Shwani, and discussed cooperation between the two countries in the legal and judicial spheres (Mehr, January 31).
On January 31, the Iranian Ambassador to Baghdad Mohammad Kazem Al-e Sadegh, met with the Iraqi Minister of Industry and Mining, Khaled Battal, and discussed ways to expand cooperation between the two countries in the industrial and mining sectors, including through involvement of Iranian companies in establishing joint industrial zones, factories and production lines for various products, including foodstuffs. The Iraqi minister of industry remarked that his countries is interested in cooperating with Iran, and particularly in the sector of petrochemical industries (ISNA, January 31).
On February 6, the Deputy Iranian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mehdi Safari, met with the President of Iraq, Abdul Latif Rashid, and discussed the current state of cooperation between the two countries. The Iraqi president stressed in the meeting the need to deepen ties between the two countries in various spheres and praised Iran’s role and its standing by the Iraqi people during the rule of Saddam Hussein and in the campaign against ISIS. The Iranian deputy foreign minister updated that in the coming days, a joint Iranian-Iraqi economic conference will be held to discuss matters concerning both countries (Fars, February 6).
Iranian Involvement in the Palestinian Arena
On January 29, the Iranian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hossein Amir Abdollahian, spoke on the phone with the Secretary General of Hamas Politburo, Ismail Hanniyeh, and with the Secretary General of PIJ, Ziad al-Nakhleh, and discussed the latest developments in the West Bank and Jerusalem. Abdollahian condemned the “crimes of the Zionists” and expressed his solidarity with the Palestinian people and families of the martyrs following the “massacre carried out by the Zionist occupation” in Jenin, and praised the “Palestinian resistance,” which did not hesitate, according to him, in retaliating to these crimes. He stressed Iran’s support for the Palestinian people and the ”resistance” and expressed confidence in the victory of the Palestinian people, and the liberation of Jerusalem, the al-Aqsa Mosque and all Palestinian lands. Additionally, the Iranian minister of foreign affairs invited Hanniyeh to visit Tehran at any time he sees fit. Hanniyeh thanked Abdollahian for Iran’s position on the Palestinian question and declared that the new Israeli government will not be able to break the will of the Palestinian people and that the Palestinian will continue to remain steadfast in their resistance until the liberation of all of their lands. Al-Nakhleh also thanked Tehran for its support to the “resistance” and praised the Iranian people for foiling the attacks aimed at Iran, including the attack, attributed to Israel, which hit a military facility in Esfahan (Fars, January 29).