Iran’s attack : Countries Concerned Must Work to Break Chain of Retaliation

If Iran and Israel, two countries locked in mutual enmity, continue fighting any longer, they may pass the point of no return. All parties concerned are urged to exercise restraint to prevent the crisis from escalating. 

Iran attacked Israel with more than 300 drones and missiles. This is the first time for Iran to launch a direct attack against Israel. 

Israel intercepted many of the weapons with air defense systems and by other means, so the damage was limited to such sites as an air force base in the south. No deaths were reported. The United States also joined in the interception. 

Iran’s attack can be called a dangerous provocation that could escalate conflict in the Middle East. The leaders of the Group of Seven industrialized nations discussed the matter online and condemned Iran in their statement. 

Iran claims that the attack was retaliation for Israel’s bombing of its embassy facility in Syria. Israel has not acknowledged the airstrike, but its involvement is seen as certain. 

The Vienna Convention on Consular Relations stipulates the inviolability of diplomatic missions abroad. It is clear that the airstrike in Syria was in violation of international law. 

It should be noted that Iran excluded economic centers such as Tel Aviv from the targets of the latest strikes. Also, neighboring countries were notified of the plan for the retaliatory strikes in advance. It is believed that Iran intended to urge Israel to prepare an interception posture. 

Iran’s behavior can be said to have been restrained. Iran must have judged that one wrong move in an exchange of retaliation would lead to the expansion of fighting throughout the region, and the situation would become uncontrollable.  

After the attack, the commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps declared the completion of the operation. Isn’t this an important message that Iran does not intend to further intensify its confrontation with Israel? 

Israel should calmly analyze the manner of the Iranian attack and refrain from additional military action. 

Israel continues its offensive against the Islamist group Hamas in the Palestinian territory of Gaza, and it has caused many casualties. Even though the cross-border attacks by Hamas provoked the offensive, the indiscriminate attacks on civilians have caused a humanitarian crisis and destabilized the situation in the Middle East. 

Immediately prior to the latest retaliatory attack, Iran captured an Israeli-linked vessel near the Strait of Hormuz. 

The Iran-backed Houthis, an armed rebel group in Yemen, have attacked vessels in the Red Sea, but it is unusual for Iran itself to directly capture a vessel. 

The Strait of Hormuz is a route that carries Middle Eastern crude oil to Japan and the rest of the world. Iran must not threaten the security of these waters. 

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, April 16, 2024)