The US president expects an Iranian attempt to attack Israel soon. Several airlines fly through Iranian airspace.

Joe Biden is standing at the speaker's desk in a suit

US President Joe Biden warns Tehran leaders not to attack Israel Photo: Alex Brandon/ap

Biden hopes Iran will attack Israel soon

US President Joe Biden expects an Iranian attempt to attack Israel soon. He assumes “it will be sooner rather than later,” Biden said Friday. He also sent a clear warning to Tehran's leaders. Faced with the feared escalation in the Middle East region, the Foreign Ministry in Berlin reiterated its call for the Germans to leave Iran.

The United States “will support Israel, we will help defend Israel, and Iran will not succeed,” US President Biden emphasized again. Asked about his message to Iran, he responded in view of a possible attack: “Don't do it.” Biden had already assured Israel on Wednesday of the “unwavering” support of the United States.

Faced with a possible Iranian attack on Israel, the United States also announced that it would send reinforcements to the Middle East. “Additional resources” would be moved to the Middle East “to strengthen regional deterrence and increase protection of US forces,” US government sources said. No information on the type of reinforcement was initially provided.

Earlier, National Security Council spokesman John Kirby reiterated that the United States continued to view the potential threat from Iran as “tangible and real.” On the one hand, the United States would support the Israelis in their defense and, on the other, it would ensure that its own armed forces in the region are “properly prepared.”

Meanwhile, the Foreign Ministry in Berlin reiterated its call for the Germans to leave Iran. The ministry also referred to the travel warning for Iran, Israel and the Palestinian territories. “Current tensions in the region, particularly between Israel and Iran, raise the risk of a sudden escalation,” the Foreign Ministry said on its website. The security situation could deteriorate “rapidly and without warning.” Other countries such as France have also warned their citizens not to travel to the region.

Iran's spiritual leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Wednesday threatened Israel with retaliation for an attack blamed on Israel on an Iranian consular building in the Syrian capital Damascus that killed 16 people in early April. Among the dead were two generals of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard and five other members of the elite force.

Iran is an avowed supporter of the Palestinian Islamist organization Hamas, which sparked the war in the Gaza Strip with its major attack on Israel on October 7. According to Israeli reports, about 1,170 people were killed in the attack and about 250 more were taken hostage in the Gaza Strip. (afp)

Netherlands announces the closure of its embassy in Tehran

The Netherlands announces on Sunday the closure of its embassy in Tehran, the Iranian capital. The Dutch Foreign Ministry said this was a precautionary measure. It refers to the growing tensions between Israel and Iran. A decision will be made on Sunday on whether the embassy will reopen on Monday. (rtr)

Qantas airline avoids Iranian airspace

Australian airline Qantas will divert its long-haul flights from Perth to London to avoid Iranian airspace amid rising tensions in the Middle East. As Qantas announced on Saturday, flight routes will be temporarily adjusted. Customers would be contacted directly if their reservation was affected.

With this decision, Qantas joins other airlines such as Lufthansa and Austrian Airlines, which are already avoiding Iranian airspace. Lufthansa announced on Friday night that it would suspend its flights to Tehran until next Thursday. This was previously scheduled to last until Saturday. (afp)