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Former defense security predicts Iran will launch retaliatory attack

Former Defense Secretary Mark Esper said Friday he thinks Iran will retaliate for a recent airstrike by Israel on an Iranian Embassy compound in Syria, but on a limited scale.

“They are going to act,” Esper said on CNN’s “The Source” with anchor Kaitlan Collins. “They’re gonna feel the need to uphold their dignity, to maintain credibility with their proxies throughout the region and to really meet the demands of hardliners within the theocracy that want to see something done.”

“But on the other hand, they’re not gonna wanna make this a wider war,” Esper continued. “They don’t wanna escalate. They know that a major conflict with Israel, let alone Israel and the United States, would be disastrous for Iran. So, I suspect that they will limit the attack to Israel, Israeli targets.”

Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps said the Israeli strike killed two senior members and five officers in the Syrian capital of Damascus.

The U.S. has also denied that they were involved in the Monday strike, but the Israeli action has resulted in fears about the Iranian and Iranian-backed aim returning to U.S. interests in the region after an earlier spike of attacks on American troops and bases in Iraq and Syria following the beginning of the Israel-Hamas war by Iranian proxies died down.

Outlets including NBC News and CNN have reported that U.S. officials are worried and on “high alert” for an Iranian retaliatory attack for the Damascus airstrike.

If Iran does not respond, Jon Alterman, director of the Middle East program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said the country “looks weak, both its own forces and to its allies.”

“But it seems to me that Iran is also very cautious about getting into an escalatory spiral either with the United States or with Israel,” Alterman continued. 

The Hill has reached out to the White House. 

Source: The Hill

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