10:47 GMT17 January 2021
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    Relations between Israel and Iran have dramatically deteriorated as the former fired dozens of missiles at alleged Iranian targets in Syria on Thursday, and Tehran’s letter to the UN accusing Tel Aviv of aiding terrorist groups in the Arab Republic is expected to add to mounting tensions.

    According to The Jerusalem Post, Iran claimed Israel was supporting terrorist groups in Syria in a letter addressed to the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Wednesday.

    “Israeli reckless action in this instance only helped [Daesh] and other terrorist groups in Syria. There is, indeed, enough evidence of the Israeli support to these terrorist groups… and this incident clearly demonstrates their destructive policy in assisting those groups for the purpose destabilizing the region,” wrote Iranian Ambassador to the United Nations Gholamali Khoshroo, as cited by The Jerusalem Post.

    The document allegedly refers to the February escalation, when an Israeli attack helicopter shot down what it said was an Iranian unmanned aerial vehicle that had crossed into the Israeli-held Golan Heights.

    The UN envoy allegedly claimed that the drone, flying near “the border of Jordan and the occupied Palestinian territories,” was on a reconnaissance mission, closely monitoring Islamist movements in the area.

    “Contrary to their made-up claim,” Khoshroo said, the drone “was neither armed nor had intention for engagement or mission for possible attack anywhere.”

    Two months later, the Syrian T-4 airbase was targeted by an airstrike, with the Russian Defense Ministry stating that Israel was behind the attack amid reports of the use of chemical weapons by Syrian government forces in the city of Douma. The alleged Israeli attack claimed the lives of seven Iranian nationals; meanwhile, the IDF declined to comment on the incident.

    “The Israeli regime invoked that instance for a series of so-called pre-emptive military attacks, including the on April 9 2018,” the Iranian envoy said, adding that Tel Aviv’s actions “clearly demonstrate that the military attacks were carried out with the obvious intention to target Iranian nationals and interests legitimately deployed in the Syrian Arab Republic.”

    READ MORE: China Calls for Restraint in Wake of Israel-Iran Fire Exchange

    “The Islamic Republic of Iran preserves its right to self-defense in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations and calls upon the Security Council to uphold its responsibilities by condemning acts of aggression and asking the Israeli regime to stop its dangerous and constant adventurism and provoking behaviors which are threatening the regional peace and security,” Khoshroo wrote.

    Earlier in the day, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi denounced the Israeli attacks on Syria.

    “The Zionist regime’s repeated attacks on Syrian soil under self-proclaimed, baseless pretexts amount to a blatant violation of Syria’s sovereignty and goes against all international conventions. […] Today, the main supporters of these [terrorist] groups are directly attacking and invading Syrian territories in an attempt to avenge the many failures of their self-created terrorists and tip the scales in their favor, ” he said in a statement.

    Tensions between the two countries have reached a climax as Israel has attacked alleged Iranian positions in Syria, having launched dozens of missiles in retaliation for a purported bombardment conducted by Tehran. According to the Russian Defense Ministry, 28 Israeli F-15 and F-16 fighter jets carried out the strikes, with more than 60 air-to-ground missiles fired over several parts of Syria, half of them being downed.

    Tel Aviv also fired more than 10 tactical ground-to-ground missiles, the ministry stated. Targets of the IDF included weapons storage, logistical sites and intelligence centers used by elite Iranian forces positioned in Syria.


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