Iranian threats against Israel 'unacceptable', says Prime Minister

Iranian threats against Israel 'unacceptable', says Prime Minister

Iranian threats to carry out a missile strike against Israel are “unacceptable”, the Prime Minister said as he reaffirmed the UK’s support for Tel Aviv’s right to defend itself.

Tehran has vowed to retaliate after two of its top generals were killed in an air strike on its consulate in Syria earlier this month that the US military believes was carried out by Israel.

Although Israel has not commented on the attack, Iran’s leader the Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said the country “must be punished and it shall be”.

Speaking to broadcasters on Thursday, Mr Sunak condemned the Ayatollah’s comments, saying they were “unacceptable”.

He said: “We, like the Americans, fully support Israel’s right to defend itself against that.”

Mr Sunak added that Britain had already “highlighted Iran as a significant risk to regional security” and taken steps to protect the UK from threats from Tehran.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak visit to Surrey
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said the UK, like America, would support Israel’s right to defend itself against Iran (Leon Neal/PA)

His comments echo those of US President Joe Biden, who said on Wednesday that his country’s commitment to Israel’s security in the face of Iranian threats was “ironclad”.

Israel itself has already threatened to strike directly at Iran if it launched an attack from its territory, and there are fears the Israel-Hamas war could also be expanded through the involvement of the Iran-backed, Lebanon-based militant group Hezbollah.

Thursday also brought the repatriation of three British aid workers killed in an Israeli air strike in Gaza.

James Kirby, Jim Henderson and John Chapman were working for the aid group World Central Kitchen when their convoy was struck in an attack that killed four other aid workers.

Their families paid tribute to the three men, with Mr Kirby’s saying he would be “missed by many” while Mr Henderson’s described him as “our shining light”.

Mr Chapman’s family said he would be “missed deeply” and was “an inspiration to many”.