Iran’s Strategy for Avenging the Death of Mohammad Reza Zahedi

There's growing concern in Israel regarding Iran's imminent plans to retaliate against an Israeli target abroad in response to the assassination of Mohammad Reza Zahedi in Damascus, an act attributed to Israel. Security officials anticipate an Iranian assault on an Israeli embassy or consulate in countries where Iran maintains intelligence and terrorist networks. Consequently, Israel is taking necessary precautions.

The assassination of Mohammad Reza Zahedi, the commander of the “Quds” force in Syria and Lebanon, has deeply unsettled Iran.

Domestically, there’s criticism of the regime’s failure to retaliate against the US and Israel for previous assassinations, including Qassem Soleimani, Mohsen Fakhri Zade, and senior Revolutionary Guards officers.

To quell internal dissent, Iran’s leadership, spearheaded by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, has publicly pledged retaliation against Israel, despite Israel’s non-admission of responsibility for the assassination.

Iran’s looming retaliation is a pressing concern in the Arab world, especially with “International Jerusalem Day” approaching—a customary event in Iran held on the last Friday of Ramadan, symbolizing opposition to Zionism and Israeli control of Jerusalem.

Israeli security assessments suggest Iran may target Israeli embassies or consulates globally, potentially in regions like South America, where Iran and Hezbollah maintain significant terrorist networks.

Iranian MP Rashid Khoji has proposed targeting the Israeli embassy in Azerbaijan, near the Iranian border, alleging Mossad operations in the area.

Senior Iranian officials argue that the targeted building in Damascus, where the assassination occurred, was a diplomatic facility, justifying retaliation against Israeli diplomatic targets.

Historically, Iran has targeted American installations in Iraq, Syria, and the Kurdistan region, citing alleged Mossad bases launching attacks on Iranian territory.

Iran’s concerns stem from Israel’s effective operations in Syria, where it has successfully targeted Iranian assets, undermining Iran’s deterrence and risking domestic credibility.

Since October 7, Israel has reportedly eliminated at least 14 senior Iranian Revolutionary Guards officers in Syria.

In Lebanon, there’s apprehension among the public that Iran may task Hezbollah with avenging Zahedi’s death, potentially sparking a wider conflict with Israel.

However, Israeli assessments suggest Iran will likely refrain from such action to avoid further destabilizing Lebanon and jeopardizing Hezbollah’s military capabilities.

Yoni Ben Menachem Senior Middle East Analyst

About Yoni Ben Menachem

Yoni Ben Menachem is a Middle East senior analyst ,a journalist and
the former CEO of the Israel Broadcasting Authority(IBA). He has
decades of experience in written and video journalism. Ben
Menachem’s path in the media world began as a producer for
Japanese television in the Middle East. After that, he held many key
positions in the media The Israeli: CEO of the Israel Broadcasting
Authority, director of “Kol Israel” Radio, reporter on West Bank and
Gaza Strip affairs, political reporter and commentator, commentator
on Middle East affairs and editor-in-chief and presenter of the
program “Middle East Magazine”. 

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