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Iranian news sites downplay reports of strike on military sites, say ‘no damage’ done

Iranian official: No plan for an immediate retaliation

Video published by "Iran International English" in which shots and sirens are heard, amid reports of an Israeli strike in Iran and the activation of air defenses in Isfahan, on April 19, 2024 (Photo: Screenshot).

Following the surprise attacks on at least one Iranian military site near the city of Isfahan early Friday morning, Iranian news agencies apparently attempted to minimize the incident. 

One of Iran’s main news outlets, Mehr News, originally reported the sound of explosions near the city of Isfahan, stating that air defenses had been activated by “a suspicious object.” Later, the site claimed the destruction of three small drones, while publishing a headline: “Complete tranquility in Isfahan.”

At the time of publication, all news organizations affiliated with the Iranian government were denying any successful strikes against the regime, claiming that all drones had been eliminated before reaching their targets. 

The government-owned Tasnim news agency claimed there had been “no foreign attack” on Isfahan or anywhere else in Iran. 

An Iranian official reportedly told Reuters: "It is not yet clear who stands behind the attack at Isfahan." He also said there is no plan for an immediate retaliation.

The Iran-affiliated news site IRNA did not report on the explosions in Iran, however, it did report on attacks by the “Zionist regime” in Syria and Iraq. 

Several Iranian news sites also claimed that the Iranian proxy in Lebanon, Hezbollah, was “pounding Israeli intelligence headquarters in Arab Al-Aramshe.” 

Israel Defense Forces reported sirens in Israel's north, but there were no reports of damage.

In addition to releasing only vague and brief reports about the attacks, several Iranian news sites also used the placement of the stories to minimize their impact.

ALL ISRAEL NEWS verified that two Iranian news sites positioned the reports towards the bottom of their websites, beneath sections covering local weather and sports.

The military base near Isfahan is reportedly used by Iran’s drone units. An Israeli official told The Jerusalem Post it was used by forces that launched attacks on Israel at the beginning of the week. 

Iran International, an independent news outlet not linked to the Iranian government, covered the explosion and the subsequent closure of multiple airports in Iran in response to the attacks.

Iran News also reported explosions in the city of Tabriz, in the northwestern region of Iran, and stated that all passengers in Tehran’s Khomeini International Airport had been instructed to evacuate during the initial strike. 

The airstrike, extensively covered in Israel, was portrayed as Israel's retaliation for Iran's significant aerial bombardment of Israel on Saturday night and Sunday morning. Notably, the strike coincided with Supreme Leader Khamenei's 85th birthday.

While initial reports in international media claimed Israeli missiles carried out the attacks, the latest reports state that small drones were used, indicating that the attacks were launched from within Iran, or close by. 

Some analysts have suggested that Iran is trying to minimize the strikes so there will be no pressure to respond. Even before the Iranian strike on Israel, Iranian leaders claimed Iran had no interest in escalating the situation. 

By using small drones, which would cause minimal damage, even in a successful strike, Israel achieved two goals, according to analysts: It demonstrated the ability to strike within Iran while minimizing the risk of retaliation. 

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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