By Sadegh Fereydounabadi

Great and little Satan! wait for the answer

January 30, 2023 - 23:1

TEHRAN – In yet another unsuccessful attack, Israel reportedly targeted a defense facility in Isfahan but failed to achieve its goals. 

On Sunday night, residents of Isfahan heard explosions near a defense facility that were later attributed to Israel by Israeli and Western media. The Iranian defense ministry was quick to clarify the situation. It said in a statement that one of three drones attacking the defense equipment manufacturing complex in Isfahan was downed by a defense system stationed inside the facility and two others exploded after being caught in traps set by the defense system.

The unsuccessful attack, the statement said, left no casualties and only caused slight damage on the roof of the defense equipment facility. “Thanks to God’s blessing, the attack caused no disruption to the equipment and the operations of the complex,” said the statement, according to Iran’s official news agency IRNA. 

Israeli and Western media immediately said that Israel was behind the attack. And Israeli media portrayed the attack as successful, something that stands in stark contrast to the reality on the ground. 

However, the attack remains an act of sabotage that indicates Israel’s aggression and its efforts to halt Iran’s progress. 

After several media outlets attributed the attack to Israel, Americans sought to distance from Israel’s failed adventure. An Iranian official told Al Jazeera that the reason for this was that Washington knows it is a failure and will not push Tehran to change its policies. However, there is a sense that Washington and Tel Aviv are in this together, meaning that Israel could not have conducted such aggression without a kind of coordination with the U.S., to say the least. And the fact that CIA director Bill Burns was in Israel at the time of the attack is telling.

There is another aspect to the Isfahan attack. While Western and Israeli media were boasting of Israel’s involvement, a Ukrainian official hinted that Kiev might be implicated as well.

Mykhailo Podolyak, adviser to the Head of the Office of President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky, chimed in on the Sunday night explosion that took place in the central Iranian city of Isfahan, hinting that the incident had something to do with Ukraine.

Mykhailo Podolyak published a tweet on Iran hours after news of the Isfahan explosion broke. He said that Iran witnessed an “explosive night” at which military and oil facilities was targeted. 

“War logic is inexorable & murderous. It bills the authors & accomplices strictly. Panic in RF - endless mobilization, missile defense in Moscow, trenches 1000 km away, bomb shelters preparation,” he said on Twitter.

Podolyak added, “Explosive night in Iran - drone & missile production, oil refineries. Ukraine did warn you.”

The Ukrainian government has so far refrained from confirming or rejecting Podolyak’s allegation. 

This tweet raised eyebrows in Iran and beyond as Western and Israeli media attributed the explosion to Israel. 

Some in Tehran believe that Ukraine might be crossing a red line for cheering for an Israel-claimed attack on a military facility.

The Ukraine chargé d'affaires in Tehran was summoned to the Iranian foreign ministry on Monday after the senior advisor to the Ukrainian president hinted at Kiev’s involvement in the drone attack Isfahan facility. 

Iranian media reported Monday that the Ukrainian diplomat was asked to explain the allegations of the advisor to the Ukrainian president.

This tweet came against a background of protracted tensions between Iran and Ukraine over Western allegations about Iran supplying drones and missile to Russia for use in Ukraine, an allegation Iran roundly rejected.

Iran says it does not take sides in the Ukraine war. In a recent non-paper, the Iranian mission to the United Nations explained the Iranian position on the war. “The Islamic Republic of Iran's position on the Ukraine situation is clear, consistent, and unwavering, which has been pronounced since the start of the conflict. From the beginning, the Islamic Republic of Iran has always emphasized that all UN Members must fully respect the purposes and principles enshrined in the United Nations Charter as well as applicable international law, including sovereignty, independence, unity, and territorial integrity. As a country that has experienced 8-year imposed war and aggression, Iran opposes any conflict or war anywhere in the world, including in Ukraine,” the mission said. 

It added, “Iran has consistently advocated for peace and an immediate end to the conflict in Ukraine and expressed clearly that this crisis has no military solution, and building upon this belief, Iran has urged the parties in the conflict to exercise restraint, avoid escalating tensions, and engage in a meaningful process for settling their disputes through peaceful means while also addressing the root causes of the situation.”

Despite Iran’s repeated denials, the West continues to accuse Iran of supporting Russia in the Ukraine war. Some believe that these accusations are in part aimed at dictating certain policy options on Iran in its foreign policy. In other words, by portraying Iran as a party to the Ukraine war, Westerners wan to ramp up pressure on Iran with the aim of making Iran distance itself from Russia. This, however, is unlikely to come about because Iran is an independent country and charts its course independently.

At any rate, there are indications that Iran will respond to the latest aggression. The Iranian official said, “Preliminary practical indications point to Israel's involvement in the Isfahan attack, and the investigation must be pursued. It is likely that the drones were launched from inside Iran and close to the target site.”

The official warned, “Israel knows very well that it will receive a response, and this is what happened previously, far from the noise and the abundance of statements…. The official warned, “Israel knows very well that it will receive a response, and this is what happened previously, far from the noise and the abundance of statements.”

Iran is currently investigating the attack. A parliamentary committee is set to travel to Isfahan to take stock of what happened. It remains to be seen what would happen after the completion of the investigation.

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