US Intel Chief Warns ‘Israel’: Iran Could Retaliate in Case of New Syria Strike
Director of national intelligence, Dan Coats, warned that Iran was likely to attack the Zionist entity if Tel Aviv went ahead with airstrikes on alleged Iranian targets in Syria.
“We assess that Iran seeks to avoid a major armed conflict with Israel. However, Israeli strikes that result in Iranian casualties increase the likelihood of Iranian conventional retaliation against Israel”, Coats said before the US Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.
Presenting the views of the US Intelligence Community to the Committee as part of an annual Worldwide Threat Assessment, the director claimed that Tehran’s purported efforts to expand its clout in Syria had triggered the Israeli airstrikes.
“Iran continues to pursue permanent military bases and economic deals in Syria and probably wants to maintain a network of Shia foreign fighters there despite Israeli attacks on Iranian positions in Syria. Iran’s efforts to consolidate its influence in Syria and arm Hezbollah have promoted Israeli airstrikes as recently as January 2019 against Iranian positions within Syria and underscore our growing concern about the long-time trajectory of Iranian influence in the region and the risk that conflict will escalate”.
Coats’s remarks appeared to echo similar comments made by Israeli officials, including President Reuven Rivlin, who had warned earlier this week that Iran might “intensify its responses” to the Israeli strikes on Syria.