Iran FM accuses US of approving strike on Damascus consulate

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Iran’s foreign minister again accused the United States Monday of approving a deadly strike blamed on Israel that destroyed Tehran’s Damascus consulate last week, shortly after inaugurating a new consulate in the Syrian capital.

Tehran, a key Damascus ally, has vowed to avenge last Monday’s airstrike on the Iranian embassy’s consular section that killed seven Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) members, including two generals.

The strike came against the backdrop of Israel and Hamas’ ongoing war, which began with the Iran-backed Palestinian militant group’s unprecedented October 7 attack on Israel.

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Damascus and Tehran blame Israel for last Monday’s raid, but it has not commented.

“America is responsible for this incident and must be held accountable,” Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian told reporters in Damascus.

“The fact that the US and two European countries opposed a (UN Security Council) resolution condemning the attack on the Iranian embassy is a sign that the US gave the green light to the Zionist regime (Israel)” to carry out the attack, he claimed.

On April 2, a day after the consulate strike, US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby dismissed as “nonsense” comments by Amir-Abdollahian that Washington, Israel’s main backer, bore responsibility for the attack.

On Monday, Abdollahian inaugurated the new consular section in a Damascus building in the presence of his Syrian counterpart Faisal al-Mekdad, whom he also met earlier Monday, state news agency SANA said.

He also met Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

An AFP correspondent at the inauguration said the new consulate was not far from the premises destroyed by the strike in the upscale Mazzeh area, which also houses other foreign embassies and UN offices.

Iran’s foreign minister began a regional tour Sunday in Oman, long a mediator between Tehran and the West, where Muscat’s foreign minister called for de-escalation.

An advisor to Iran’s supreme leader warned on Sunday that Israeli embassies were “no longer safe” after the Damascus attack.

Analysts saw the raid as an escalation of Israel’s campaign against Iran and its regional proxies that runs the risk of triggering a wider war beyond the Israel-Hamas conflict in the Gaza Strip.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights war monitor said 16 people were killed in the consulate strike: eight Iranians, five Syrians, one member of Lebanon’s Hezbollah militant group and two civilians.

Among the dead were generals Mohammad-Reza Zahedi and Mohammad-Hadi Haji-Rahimi, both senior commanders in the Quds Force, the IRGC’s foreign operations arm.

Israel has launched hundreds of air strikes in Syria since civil war broke out 13 years ago, targeting Iran-backed forces including Hezbollah as well as Syrian army positions and weapons depots.

It rarely comments on individual strikes, but Israel’s raids have increased since the Gaza war began.

Tehran backs Palestinian militants Hamas but has denied any direct involvement in the group’s October 7 attack, which sparked massive Israeli retaliation in Gaza.

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