Ali Akbar Velayati, top adviser to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, told Lebanon’s Al-Mayadeen TV channel on Tuesday, “Israel’s crime will not remain without a response,” referring to the Monday air raid that targeted Syria’s T-4 air base near Homs, which killed seven people, mostly Iranians.
Velayati was reported to have arrived to Damascus on Tuesday, as media outlets associated with the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps named four of the dead, who included a senior officer in Iran’s unmanned aerial vehicle programme.
Tasnim News Agency described the deceased Iranians as “military advisers.” The bodies were flown back to Iran and funerals were held on Tuesday.
Velayati’s remarks came hours after US President Donald Trump’s vowed to “forcefully” respond to the alleged chemical weapons attack in Syria.
During a UN Security Council session, the US and other Western countries accused the Syrian regime of conducting the attack, which, according to the Syrian White Helmets voluntary rescue group, left at least 49 people dead and dozens more injured, including several children.
The session witnessed the blaming of Russia and Iran, who are close allies of the Syrian regime.
“If the red line [of chemical weapons use] has been crossed, there will be a response,” French government spokesperson Benjamin Griveaux said, as quoted by AFP. Also, Nikki Haley, the US ambassador to the UN, said at the session, “we have reached the moment when the world must see justice done” adding, “history will record this as the moment when the Security Council either discharged its duty or demonstrated its utter and complete failure to protect the people of Syria.”
In return, Russia’s UN Ambassador Vasily Nebenzya denied that chemical weapons had been used in Douma. According to Nebenzya, Russian investigators were sent to Douma over the weekend and found no evidence that a nerve agent or chlorine had been used in an attack.
The Syrian government, Iran, and Russia have vocally denied involvement in Saturday’s attack, and accused rebels in Douma of fabricating the chemical assault, describing the manoeuvres as “propaganda” and a “hoax” to sabotage the deal to end fighting in Douma and evacuate civilians as well as Jaish Al-Islam rebels and their families.