Is Iran’s Right to Self-Defense Justified under International Law?

Mohamed Hanipa Maidin

The legal issues surrounding the use of force, known to international lawyers as jus ad bellum, have once again been thrust into the legal limelight as a result of "Israel's" unprovoked attack against the Iranian consulate in Damascus, Syria as well as Iran's counter-attack against "Israel".

When "Israel" decided to launch a deadly strike on the Iranian consulate in Damascus, Syria, that took place on April 1, many would argue that the "Israeli" government should have expected a retaliatory attack by Iran.

As duly expected on April 13, Iran finally launched hundreds of drones and missiles at “Israel” in retaliation for such a deadly “Israeli” strike on its consulate in Syria. “Israel's” initial and unprovoked attack killed Iranian General Mohammad Reza Zahedi (Also known as Hassan Mahdawi). He was a senior commander in the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard (IRG) Quds Force in Syria and Lebanon.

His death occurred while he was in a building adjacent to Iran’s consulate in Damascus – a location the Iranians claimed is still protected by international law. Apart from Hassan Mahdawi, the “Israeli” attack had also killed seven Iranians, including two veteran commanders.

Under international law, Iran consulates in Syria, and all the people therein are duly protected under the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations 1963 as well as under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations 1961.

Who violated these laws? Iran or "Israel"? The deafening silence on the part of many Western powers, especially "Israeli" allies on such a flagrant violation of international law has been mind-boggling.

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