'Like Toys, Not Drones': Iran Continues Mocking Israel's Attack As Contrasting Narratives Emerge

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by Tyler Durden
Sunday, Apr 21, 2024 - 01:20 AM

Iran has continued mocking Israel's limited attack which happened in the early hours of Friday morning. In a fresh interview with NBC, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian dismissed much of the initial reporting in the West concerning the strike, which appeared to center on the city of Isfahan - which hosts a nuclear energy site - as "not accurate".

"What happened last night was not a strike," the Iranian top diplomat asserted. He claimed that the the attack involved merely two or three small UAVs, which "were more like toys that our children play with, not drones."

Sensitive military sites in and around Isfahan, via The Guardian.

He said that the UAV's were all taken out by Iran's anti-air defenses, and even claimed they took off from inside Iran, suggesting that the attack took place by proxy.

Iranian state TV had reported shortly after midnight as the attack was unfolding that "three drones were observed in the sky over Isfahan. The air defense system became active and destroyed these drones in the sky."

However, Israeli media along with the New York Times are saying the whole thing was meant as a strong symbolic message to Iran that Israel can inflict severe damage at will if it chooses to:

The alleged Israeli strike overnight Thursday-Friday on Iranian air defenses near the Natanz nuclear site used a high-tech missile that was able to evade Iran’s radar systems, in a move “calibrated to make Iran think twice” before launching another direct attack on Israel, The New York Times reported on Saturday.

Two unnamed Western officials cited by the newspaper said the missile aimed to show Tehran that Israel is able to dodge and neutralize its defenses.

Two Iranian officials said the strike hit a Russian-made S-300 air defense system. They told the newspaper that Iran had not detected intrusions into its airspace from drones, missiles or aircraft.

Israeli sources say that IAF jets were able to launch missiles from outside Iranian airspace, and further did not use Jordanian airspace, given concerns that Amman could be dragged into the conflict.

"Satellite imagery seen by the Times of Israel showed damage to the radar of an S-300 system at the Eighth Shekari Air Base in Isfahan, said to be part of an array defending the nearby top-secret Natanz nuclear site," Israeli media reports further. "The imagery was not immediately permitted for publication, per the policy of the agency that took the photo."

But there are contrary reports among Western press accounts. For example, there's this satellite imaging analysis in CNN which points to an attack which did almost nothing in terms of serious damage:

There does not appear to be any extensive damage at an air base purportedly targeted by an Israeli military strike, according to exclusive satellite images obtained by CNN from Umbra Space. 

The synthetic aperture radar (SAR) satellite images were taken around 10:18 a.m. local time. 

There does not appear to be any large craters in the ground and there are no apparent destroyed buildings. Additional visual satellite imagery will be needed to check for burn scars – which cannot be seen by SAR images -- around the complex.

The Iranians have not confirmed or admitted to any fighter jet-launched missiles being used in the attack, as they continue to intentionally downplay it...

Some Israeli officials actually agree that it was too small of a retaliatory strike. Most notably, Israel’s National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir had quickly tweeted out in the wake of the overnight attack that the attack on Iran was in the end "lame".

Iranian leaders have meanwhile declared the utter 'failure' of efforts to attack the Islamic Republic, and have further warned that Tehran won't hesitate to strike back 'harder' if attacked by Israel. But the strategy of Iranian officials for now seems to be to simply deny that any level of major operation by Israel took place.