Asia Tehran calls for revenge at funeral of Iranian commander killed by Israel

Thousands of Iranians gathered this Thursday in Tehran to say goodbye to the commander of the Revolutionary Guard (IRGC), Razi Mousavi, who died last Monday in an Israeli air strike in Syria

Asia Tehran calls for revenge at funeral of Iranian commander killed by Israel

Thousands of Iranians gathered this Thursday in Tehran to say goodbye to the commander of the Revolutionary Guard (IRGC), Razi Mousavi, who died last Monday in an Israeli air strike in Syria. At a funeral sponsored by the supreme leader, Ali Khamenei, who only conducts this type of honor with senior officials in the country, the president paid tribute to the "tireless fight of this martyr", amid choruses of a crowd that shouted "Death to Israel." ", "Death to America" ​​and "No Surrender!".

Mousavi was a senior official in the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, a branch of the Iranian Army, where he served as coordinator of relations between Tehran and Damascus. He died last Monday when he was hit by an Israeli missile at his residence in the south of the Syrian capital. The attack occurred after weeks of growing tensions in several countries in the region, derived from the war between Israel and Hamas that broke out on October 7. Iran funds Hamas and the Lebanese Hezbollah party, in addition to directing proxy militias in neighboring countries. Since October, he has supported the opening of low-intensity fronts in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and in the Red Sea against Israel and the United States, in retaliation for their support for Tel Aviv.

"Our revenge will be harsh as always, but a revenge that could compensate for Razi's martyrdom is nothing more than the elimination of Israel from the face of existence," the head of the Guard, General Hossein Salami, said during the funeral. During his speech he promised not to "remain silent" in the face of his death and described Mousavi as a close companion of General Qassem Soleimani, the head of the elite Iranian guard assassinated by the United States in Iraq in January 2020. Salami also retracted his statement. statements by Iranian officials who attributed the Hamas attack in Israel on October 7 as an act of revenge for the death of General Soleimani. "I officially announce that the authorship of the Al-Aqsa storm (as Hamas calls the attack) was and is entirely Palestinian. Palestine is capable on its own," said the general. Iran has not denied its financial and military support to Hamas and praised the October 7 attack, but has denied any direct involvement in the assault.

Mousavi was a key player in the shadow execution of Iranian influence in countries in the region. Since the late 1980s he worked particularly in Syria and Lebanon, where he managed the transportation of weapons from Iran to these countries, as revealed by the Iranian media Amwaj. Mousavi also acted as a mediator between the Iranian Army and Damascus, facilitating the entry of its proxy forces into Syria. According to Al Jazeera broadcaster, the airstrike against Mousavi occurred shortly after a meeting between Mousavi and the Iranian ambassador to Syria.

The imprint of Mousavi's presence in the region is reflected in the funeral ceremonies. Before his funeral in Tehran, his body was moved to Najaf, a holy city in Iraq for Shiites, and memorial services were held in the Syrian city of Aleppo. His murder has stirred tensions already present in the region. Iranian President Ebrahim Raissi warned that Israel "will pay a price" for Mousavi's death, while Hezbollah called his death "a blatant attack that crosses boundaries." "Our response to Mousavi's assassination will be a combination of direct action and others led by the Axis of Resistance," said IRGC spokesman Ramezan Sharif, alluding to the anti-Israel pact between Tehran, Hezbollah, Hamas and forces in Syria.

Sharif attributed Mousavi's death to the "failure" of the Israeli authorities, who failed to prevent the Hamas attack on October 7. Israel, for its part, did not claim responsibility for the attack against Mousavi, but noted that its Army is preparing against possible retaliation from Syria and Lebanon.

For years Israel has carried out targeted attacks in Syria with the aim of undermining the Iranian military presence in the country. The attacks, almost never claimed by the Israeli authorities, have targeted military bases, warehouses, arms shipments or key figures with influence in the military apparatus. Since the start of the war in Gaza, Israel has increased its attacks on Syrian soil. It has left the airports of Damascus and Aleppo unusable on at least three occasions, in a warning in the form of an attack against Iranian and Syrian forces. According to Iranian authorities, Mousavi had survived two assassination attempts in recent years.

Although militant groups with Iranian influence have mounted operations against Israel or against US bases, Tehran has avoided a direct confrontation with Tel Aviv. However, cyber attacks are attributed to it that threaten Israel's security. On December 18, Israeli authorities claimed to have suffered a cyber attack on their hospital network and accused Iran of being behind the attack. For its part, Iran also accused Israel of being behind a cyberattack that paralyzed much of the Iranian oil distribution system.