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Iran's Zarif Cannot 'Rule Out' Military Confrontation With Israel

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif meets with his Chinese counterpart in Beijing, February 19, 2019

Iran’s foreign minister has accused Israel of “adventurism” for its attacks in Syria and says he cannot rule out a military confrontation between Iran and Israel.

In an interview with the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung published on Thursday, February 21, Mohammad Javad Zarif said that Iran is in Syria by the invitation of the host government, but Israel with its attacks violates Syrian and Lebanese airspace and international law.

Zarif said, “Israel has embarked on adventurism, and adventurism is always dangerous”.

Asked if he thinks there can be a military confrontation between Israel and Iran, Zarif said, “I don’t know but I cannot rule it out”.

Israel has attacked targets related to Iranian forces and its proxies in Syria hundreds of times in the past three years, saying that it regards Iran’s military presence in the neighboring country as a threat.

In January, Israel’s former army chief Gadi Eizenkot told the New York Times, "We struck thousands of targets without claiming responsibility or asking for credit." According to the NYT, Eizenkot's "central intellectual contribution" was the concept of "Campaigns between wars," an idea that degraded Iran's capabilities and made the time distance between wars longer.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in a rare public admission on January 13 said in televised remarks that Israel had succeeded in “curbing Iran's military entrenchment in Syria” by attacking Iranian and Hizballah targets there “hundreds” of times."