Report: U.S., Israel Concerned Over Increased Iranian Weapons Deliveries to Syria

YERUSHALAYIM -
Syria airstrike
The guided-missile cruiser USS Monterey (CG 61) fires a Tomahawk land-attack missile at Syria as part of an Allied strike. (Matthew Daniels/U.S. Navy via Getty Images)

A senior administration official has confirmed to CNN that the United States and Israel are concerned that Iran has been supplying Syria with advanced weapons or missile systems in recent weeks. CNN quoted the official as saying that both countries believe “the cargo could potentially include weapons that could eventually be used to threaten Israel.”

CNN reported Wednesday that American officials have been monitoring cargo flights from Iran to Syria that they believe may contain advanced weapons. The shipments are taking place at an accelerated pace, and officials believe that Iran may be trying to replenish the supply of advanced weapons destroyed in recent air raids, both by the United States, Britain and France last week, and by what most observers believe to be Israel, when the Iranian T-4 base in central Syria was hit by an air attack.

According to the report, “U.S. intelligence assessed the Israeli aircraft may have been shot down by a barrage of anti-aircraft missiles” in the T-4 attack. “There are concerns that if the fresh shipments are indeed weapons, they could include more anti-aircraft missiles.”

Iran has threatened to “punish” Israel for the T-4 attack. According to Ali Shamkhani, the Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, “there will definitely be a punishment of the aggressor, but naturally, the time, place and quality of the response to this vicious act depends on the Islamic Republic’s will and choice.”

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu expressed skepticism at the “moderate” comments by Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Zarif in an interview Sunday. Zarif told CBS that he did not foresee war with Israel. “I do not believe that we are headed towards regional war but I do believe that unfortunately, Israel has continued its violations with international law, hoping to be able to do it with impunity because of the U.S. support,” Zarif said.

If anyone is violating international law, said Netanyahu, it is Iran. “Zarif is the foreign minister of a country that dispatches armed drones against Israel, and missiles against Saudi Arabia. There is a wide gap between the soft words of Zarif and the actions of the Revolutionary Guards, which has as its stated goal the destruction of Israel. I am not impressed by his words. I am confident that our military leadership will be prepared for any scenario,” Netanyahu said.