Return to Transcripts main page

CNN Newsroom

Iranian Assault on Israel Seem to Have Ceased, According to U.S. Officials; Celebrations Broke Out on the Streets of Tehran After Attack on Israel; Iran Launched About 300 Missiles into Israel; 99% of Iran's Missiles Launched at Israel Were Intercepted; U.S. Support for Israel's Security Reaffirmed by Biden; After Iranian Attacks on Israel, Biden Talks with Netanyahu; U.S. Forces Intercepted At Least Three Ballistic Missiles and More Than 70 One-Way Attack Drones; Israeli Airspace Back Open, According to Spokesman at Ben Gurion International Airport; U.S. Won't Take Part in Aggressive Action Against Iran, Biden Informs Israel; Attack on Israel in Retaliation for Damascus Consulate Strike Has Ended, According to Iran's U.N. Envoy; Escalating Tension in the Middle East; Cargo Ship Connected to Israel Taken Over by Iran in the Strait of Hormuz; Houthi Militants Backed by Iran Often Assaulted Ships; Iran's Warning to Israel; Netanyahu Disregarded Security Alerts, According to Israel "X" Account. Aired 1-2a ET

Aired April 14, 2024 - 01:00   ET




ANNOUNCER: This is CNN Breaking News.

BECKY ANDERSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL NEWS ANCHOR: Hello and welcome. I'm Becky Anderson in Abu Dhabi for you.

Well, Iran's unprecedented drone and missile attacks on Israel appear to have subsided, that is according to U.S. officials. This though is what it all looked like a few hours ago.

The IDF says more than 3,000 -- 300 missiles and drones were fired on Israel overnight, and that 99 percent were intercepted. That's 300 missiles fired on Israel overnight, 99 percent intercepted. The attack lasted approximately five hours.

Israel says, a seven-year-old girl was injured by a shrapnel from an interceptor missile. But there are no injuries directly from the attacks. Tehran says, the attack was in response to an Israeli strike on Iran's embassy in Damascus earlier this month, and that the matter can be regarded as, "Concluded".

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has spoken on the phone with U.S. President Joe Biden. He told Mr. Netanyahu, the attacks were largely unsuccessful which was a win, he said, for Israel. CNN's MJ Lee has learned the president told Mr. Netanyahu, the U.S. will not take part in any offensive operation action against Iran.

Meanwhile, Mr. Netanyahu reacted on social media saying, "We have intercepted, we have contained, we shall win." But in Iran --



ANDERSON: -- celebrations broke out on the streets of Tehran after word of the attack got out.

Right. Let's bring in Nic Robertson. He is in Jerusalem. Paula Hancock's is with me here in Abu Dhabi. Nic, let's start with you. President Biden calling this a win tonight. Nothing, "Of value was hit." What's the perspective there where you are on what was this unprecedented strike by Iran on -- or towards, at least, Israel.

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Yes, Becky. I'm sorry. I was having trouble hearing you. Do you mind just retelling me your question? Really sorry. There was a problem with the connection.

ANDERSON: What is the perspective there? What are we hearing from Israeli officials?

ROBERTSON: Yes, I think perhaps the headline at the moment does appear to be coming from the defense minister who has said that the -- just to quote his words, the confrontation with Iran is not over yet. That doesn't definitively say that Israel will have a response.

But there is a school of thought seems to be emerging that that's the direction of travel at the moment for Israel's war cabinet when the prime minister meets with them and they decide what the response is going to be. The -- we've heard from U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin saying that, you know, I've learned the defense minister has said that said to him that if Israel does strike back at Iran, then the United States will be informed.

We also have some brief details on the number of people injured now. According to Israel's emergency services, some 31 people have minor injuries, slight injuries. Some people have been treated in hospital. A seven-year-old girl had serious head injuries, we understand from falling shrapnel that was that was reported earlier.


But I think that the picture at the moment here is what is the decision that the Israeli government is going to take about their response? We've heard from the defense -- the -- from the IDF spokesman saying that 99 percent of the more than 300 missiles fired were intercepted.

The ballistic missiles, the few that did get through landed on an airbase in the center of Israel in the Negev desert, where he says the base remains operational. Planes are still taking off. But we don't have a full assessment of the damage there, but he describes it as minor. And those were ballistic missiles. He said the ones that got through mostly hit that airbase.

ANDERSON: Where is Benjamin Netanyahu? ROBERTSON: We don't know where he is at the moment. He is expected to be holding the war cabinet sometime later this morning. His comments, of course, in essence, you know, we intercepted -- we have intercepted, we have contained. Together we shall win. That seems also to indicate that the job is not done in his opinion.

I think, certainly, from the defense forces perspective here and politically, the country did perhaps better than they could have hoped for against such an onslaught. There was always that concern that Iran would throw so many different missiles at them. That the defense systems would be overrun. But the intercepts inside the country and inside the country have shown that their systems have worked.

ANDERSON: Most of the drones and missiles were intercepted with the help of Israel's allies. We are talking air defense systems by the U.S., the U.K., possibly Jordan, Saudi Arabia possibly involved not necessarily in air defense, but certainly intelligence around the region. What do you make of the wider involvement here in supporting Israel's defense?

ROBERTSON: As the United States has done, given an ironclad guarantee to support Israel in its defense. But it strikes me that if Israel goes on the offense, then the potential for ramping up disquiet, let's say, in Saudi Arabia, where we know that they have helped intercept Houthi missiles that have been fired or missiles that have come from the direction of Yemen towards Israel. That they have been involved in intercepting those.

And in Jordan, as we heard, that there were intercepts over the skies in Amman, Jordan. There's a very sizable Palestinian population in Jordan who are absolutely incandescent about the way Israel is treating the people of Gaza, more than 33,000 killed, and will not want Jordan to get in the habit of supporting Israel militarily.

So, if the conflict goes on between Israel and Iran, then tensions between leadership and public, particularly in Jordan, could grow, and that could be very uncomfortable. Of course, the risk of Israel targeting something directly back in Iran that it hasn't done so far in this conflict of that escalating Iran further is very possible because Iran says, if they are struck, then they will strike back with more force.

So, the path of escalation is very clear here and how that can draw in other countries and destabilize the region further, that becomes much clearer.

ANDERSON: Nic Robertson is in Jerusalem. Thank you, Nic.

Let me bring in Paula Hancocks, who's with me here in Abu Dhabi. So, an unprecedented five-hour attack. Some 300 drones and missiles fired towards Israeli territory, 99 percent of which were intercepted. Question is, what happens next? What's the perspective from Tehran?

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Becky, what we've heard from Tehran is very clear. They say that this was an act of self-defense and it was an act of revenge for what happened on April 1st. And if we just remind ourselves on April 1st, there was this strike on the consulate building of Iran in Damascus in Syria, and seven were killed, including two senior Revolutionary Guard commanders.

Now, Israel never claimed responsibility for that, but Iran said that they were responsible, and they said that they would retaliate. And this is what we have seen at this point.


Now, Tehran has been very clear saying they would retaliate. They have said, this is what the retaliation looks like. And they have also said, "The matter can be deemed concluded." Now, clearly Israel has said it is not concluded. There will be a next step to which Tehran has said that if there is a military aggression, as they put it again, from Israel, then the response will be stronger and more resolute.

So, you can see that the ratcheting up of this escalation at this point. But as far as Iran is concerned, this was in retaliation for what happened on April 1st.

ANDERSON: The vast majority of these missiles were intercepted outside Israel's territory, which does beg the question, did Iran intend to hit anything of significance? And was this attack well telegraphed by Tehran, as many of our sources around this region, are suggesting it was?

HANCOCKS: Absolutely. Tehran was in a position where it had to retaliate for what happened at the beginning of this month. It was in a position, we're hearing from many, that it had to show some kind of deterrent. To do nothing would have shown weakness.

So, it had to do something. Tehran's very well aware of the air defense systems that Israel has. The whole world is very well aware that many of them are U.S. provided. They are very sophisticated. Israel has its own sophisticated defense systems as well. So, it knows that even if it had carried out and it did carry out a -- an overwhelming number of missile and cruise and ballistic missile attacks, that there was a good chance most of them would be shot down.

So, there is the question, did Tehran actually want to do damage or did it want to show retaliation without pushing the boundaries too far?

ANDERSON: Briefly, and I'll have you back, of course, in the hours to come. What's been the regional reaction, particularly that around this Gulf region where we are?

HANCOCKS: It's very sensitive, as you know. I mean, there's a diplomatic tightrope that many of these countries are walking at this point. The E.U. reaction, the U.N., the U.S. is all blaming Iran. There's none of that here in the region. They are asking for a de- escalation of the situation.

Saudi Arabia, for example, has said that the kingdom urges all parties to exercise maximum restraint and to protect the region of its people from the dangers of war. Something very similar we are hearing from Qatar. They are asking for the -- all parties to de-escalate the situation. There is no finger of blame being pointed as -- I mean, Saudi Arabia, for example, they -- they're now less tense with Iran to say the least.

ANDERSON: We established diplomatic relations as has the UAE --

HANCOCKS: Exactly.

ANDERSON: -- as always with good relations with Iran.

HANCOCKS: Mm-hmm. And Saudi Arabia, potentially, looking to have diplomatic relations with Israel, if you believe what the Biden administration is saying. And of course, they are close with the United States as well. So, it is a very tricky situation for many of these countries. They want this situation to be de-escalated. They have all been very clear they want a ceasefire in Gaza, but there is no finger of blame being pointed at this point.

ANDERSON: Good to have you, Paula. Let's let you go and continue to work your sources as we develop our reporting on this story. Thank you.

We have mentioned U.S. President Biden's comments to the Israeli Prime Minister that Israel should consider Saturday a win, to quote him, "As Iran's attacks," he said, "Were mostly unsuccessful." Those remarks coming during a phone call between the two leaders following the Iranian strike.

CNN's MJ Lee has the details for you.


MJ LEE, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: President Biden speaking on the phone with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the heels of Iran's significant attacks against Israel, Saturday night. According to the White House's official readout of the phone call, it says, I've spoken with Prime Minister Netanyahu to reaffirm America's ironclad commitment to the security of Israel. I told him that Israel demonstrated a remarkable capacity to defend against and defeat even unprecedented attacks, sending a clear message to its foes that they cannot effectively threaten the security of Israel.

We are also learning from a senior administration official that the president told the Israeli prime minister that he should consider tonight a win. That the U.S.'s assessment right now is that Iran's attacks had been largely unsuccessful. And the reason that this is the U.S.'s assessment right now, according to this official, is that almost all of the drones and missiles that Iran launched Saturday, including more than 100 ballistic missiles were successfully knocked out of the sky, we're told.


And no cruise missile made impact in Israel. And we're told, essentially, that nothing of value was hit. Again, this is the U.S.'s current assessment of the situation.

Importantly, we're also told that the president told the Israeli prime minister that the U.S. will not participate in any offensive operations against Iran. So, very noteworthy that this is sort of the president drawing a line in terms of what the U.S. is not willing to do to help Israel if it does, in fact, decide to potentially retaliate against Iran in a significant way.

Now, the president's statement tonight also noting that no U.S. forces or facilities were attacked tonight, but it did also say that U.S. forces would, of course, remain vigilant. Deterring this was a very important goal for U.S. officials in recent days, with the U.S. actually directly communicating with Iran, and basically warning them that they should not come after U.S. personnel and assets in the region.

The one thing that this senior official I spoke with would not get into is what, if anything, the president might have advised the prime minister to do in terms of how Israel might retaliate or might respond in the coming hours and days. Of course, that is such an important question and such an important space to watch given that the Biden administration is very set on trying to contain this situation and trying to prevent a wider regional war from erupting in the Middle East.

MJ Lee, CNN, at the White House.


ANDERSON: And let's just underscore CNN being told, and we have heard this from the Biden administration, that the U.S. will not be participating in offensive action against Iran. Well, U.S. forces have intercepted more than 70 one-way attack drones and at least three ballistic missiles, according to two U.S. officials familiar with the matter.

The missiles were intercepted by U.S. Navy warships in the eastern Mediterranean Sea. U.S. fighter jets were also part of the western response to Iran's attack on Saturday, shooting down drones launched towards Israel, that is according to another U.S. official.

Well, joining me now from Washington, D.C. is State Department Reporter Jennifer Hansier. It's good to have you. Just before you and I start talking, I do just want to report that in the past 45 minutes, Israel has said that it is has, once again, opened its airspace, reopened about 45 minutes ago. Ben Gurion International Airport has renewed its activities. Other domestic airports will reopen during the day.

And I think that is, significant and certainly worth reporting given that not just Israeli airspace, but airspace around the region had been closed just before what was this five-hour unprecedented attack towards Israeli territory by Tehran. The Biden administration has called this a win for Israel, given that 99 percent of the incoming fire from Tehran was intercepted. What are you hearing at state about what happens next? JENNIFER HANSIER, CNN STATE DEPARTMENT REPORTER: Well, Becky, that's the big question here, right? We're going to see a flurry of diplomatic activity in the coming hours and days. The Secretary of State has come out with a statement this evening saying he plans to engage with partners and allies in the region and around the world on the matter.

As the U.S. is watching very carefully about what comes next, we saw Secretary of State Blinken and other U.S. officials engaging behind the scenes in the lead up to this. Trying to urge anyone who had any semblance of sway over Iran to urge them not to escalate. And now, we're going to see him try to engage with his partners on what happens next if this continues to spiral.

Now, Becky, I want to point out the president, we saw him in this really key role of trying to have the optics of being this commander and -- of -- commander in chief in a wartime as he convened his national security cabinet this evening. He came back from Delaware early.

He was spending the weekend there so he could convene his top national security officials in the situation room. That's the secretary of state, the secretary of defense, the CIA director, the director of national intelligence, the chief -- joint chiefs of staff. And they met for hours in this situation room this evening, Becky.


?We don't know a lot about what was discussed, but we know part of the reason they were there so long is they were getting these real-time updates from the Central -- CENTCOM Commander, General Kurilla. He was just in Israel over the past couple days, and he was providing these updates as the U.S. was engaged in supporting Israel in taking down these Iranian drones.

Now, as we heard from MJ, the president also spoke with the Israeli prime minister on the heels of this counterattack. And he is urging him not to do anything rash, basically. And he is saying the U.S. will not support Israel if they do anything offensive. However, we have seen from a number of officials that they are still trying to show that they will be there defensively. They are saying that commitment is still ironclad.

ANDERSON: This is a really important time for the Biden administration and many around the world will be picking apart its conduct and, certainly, its response. Many will remember Joe Biden very forcefully addressing Iran in the past, what, 72 hours with a, don't, line.

If you're thinking about attacking Israel, don't, he said. They did, Jennifer. Many will say that that response was well telegraphed, gave Israel and its allies time to get themselves in position to defend Israel from what was a synchronized launch of drones and ballistic missiles. An effort, if you will, to test Israel and its allies defense systems. What are you hearing from state about the support by Israel's allies. The support for the U.S. and Israel by Israel and the U.S.'s allies, internationally and particularly in this region?

HANSIER: Well, we've seen them trying to walk this very fine line. As you know, a lot of the air partners in the region have been very against what Israel is doing in Gaza from the very get go. They have come out against some of these operations that have been undertaken in Gaza, particularly as this war has dragged on for more than six months. And we've seen 33,000 people killed, according to local health authorities.

At the same time, in the past couple of hours, we have seen the regional allies and partners coming out with concern about what has happened. Voicing their concern about this Iranian attack on Israel. And there is a very keen sense here that no one wants to see this situation explode. That was a fear at the very outset of this conflict six months ago, and now it has come back to the very forefront here, Becky, as everyone is watching for what Israel will do and what Iran will do if Israel does carry out continued counterattacks here.

ANDERSON: Jennifer, your --

HANSIER: So -- and I should also note --

ANDERSON: -- insight --


ANDERSON: -- your analysis -- yes, go on. Please carry on.

HANSIER: I was going to say, Becky, the other thing I wanted to point out is tomorrow there will be a meeting of the U.N. Security Council that was called by Israel and we will see a lot of these partners speaking on this as well.

ANDERSON: Yes. No, I was going to say your insight and analysis, your sourcing on this always as ever so important to us. Good to have you, Jennifer Hansier in the House.

Still to come, more reaction from around the world to Iran's unprecedented attack on Israel. We'll go live to Tel Aviv with a look at where the pressure from the United States could affect how Israel responds. Our Breaking News coverage continues in a moment.



ANDERSON: Welcome back. You're watching Breaking News here on CNN.

And the UN Security Council will meet later today in the wake of Iran's large-scale attack on Israel. It comes after Israel's ambassador to the U.N., Gilad Erdan, wrote a letter requesting the meeting, "Immediately to unequivocally condemn Iran." Well, the barrage of drones and missiles fired from Iran towards Israel caused panic in some neighboring countries. Residents in Amman, in Jordan, tell CNN they saw and heard activities in the skies, including flares and flashes. An eyewitness says, they were concerned some of it would land in their neighborhood.

Meantime, Saudi Arabia expressing concern over the, "Recent military escalations in the region." In a statement, the Saudi foreign ministry urged restraint, warning of dire consequences if the situation worsens. And Qatar has also released a statement a short time ago, expressing deep concern over the developments in the region and has called on all parties to cease escalation, calm tensions, and exercise maximum restraint.

Well, it is what happens next that is exercising people, not just in Israel but around this region and further afield. Certainly, they will be monitoring the next phase of this in Washington. Harel Chorev is a senior researcher at Tel Aviv University's Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies. I'm delighted to say he joins us now live from Tel Aviv.

It's good to have you, sir. And I, you know, I understand and it will only be, you know, real, that people will be concerned where you are about what happens next. What's your perspective?

HAREL CHOREV, SENIOR RESEARCHER, TEL AVIV UNIVERSITY: Well, I must say nothing from what happened since yesterday was surprising, not just for me, but for other experts as well. It's all over the news for the past week. It was quite anticipated. Including the means that the Iranian will use to convey their message, namely drones.

I must say, the ballistics missiles that they shot was a surprise. However, everything was, you know, contained. Everything was within those -- these frameworks of, as you said rightfully before, they did anything to telegraph their upcoming attack so everybody will be in positions and be ready.


And of course -- so, I think that the Iranian wanted to convey a message. I think Israel can contain what happened. But at the end of the day, we need to remember why the Iranian did that. They wanted us to stop hitting their generals all over the area here while they are orchestrating the war against that (ph). It is already a regional war. And at the end of the day, if Israel will continue taking down, hitting those generals, it will mean that the whole Iranian effort has failed.

And this is exactly what I think Israel should do. I mean, not to retaliate heavily. Not to do anything at the moment, but just keep on its war on the Iranian proxies and Iranian generals in -- around this area.

ANDERSON: Mm-hmm. And you're making a very good point here. There has been much concern and suspicion around this region and wider, that the Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has been wanting to expand this conflict. And many calling out his strategy or the lack thereof, perhaps, in the alleged attack on Iranian assets, of course, in Damascus. What do you make of the strategic thinking at the highest levels in Israel at this point?

CHOREV: Well, I think we can test it regarding, let's say, the Yemenite attacks against Israel. If you'll check those -- the way Israel responded or retaliated to the many attacks that came from Yemen, you would see that -- I don't think Israel retaliated even once.

Israel is concentrated on those areas that produce the direct threats against us but, you know, such as Damascus and, of course, Lebanon. But I don't think Netanyahu want to expand it. But we do take it already as a regional war. Of course, it may escalate even further. But I think that if we will see that Netanyahu and the Israeli government, of course, agrees and follows President Biden's request not to escalate the war at the moment, we will see that Israel is acting in a responsible way.

That -- it's a good question there. As I told you, I don't think Israel need to retaliate at the moment. It might be contained as it is. The question at the end of the day is whether Israel will keep on its fight against the Iranian commanders all over the area operating the war against us.

ANDERSON: Yes, that's fascinating. The absence of a political path forward is absolutely an aggregating -- an aggravating factor here. That -- those are the words of one regional analyst. And the reaction and response that we are seeing from the U.S. and Israel's friends, at least, if not allies, in this region is very specific. They are not naming Iran in its aggressive approach towards Israel overnight. They are saying and repeating that there needs to be a de-escalation in this regional tension, a ceasefire in Gaza, and a pathway for peace.

These regional friends, as it were, not likely to stick with Israel, at this point. Should they not see a sensible response? So, this puts the focus squarely back on the conflict in Gaza, of course, and what happens next. Do you expect to see a ceasefire there imminently?

CHOREV: I don't see a ceasefire without the hostages being returned. This is a very strong Israeli and American, actually, demand. And we do understand that any prolonging of the war in Gaza, any, anything, even in -- if in low intensity, as it is at the moment, at the end of the day, serves Hamas.

So, every -- nobody wants to, of course, to continue with this suffer. OK. Including not our own people that are -- that didn't -- never came back to their southern communities. Nobody wants to prolong it. But we do understand that without some sort of a pressure on Hamas, we won't see those hostages back home and this is what we care about.


In regard to what you said, it's very extremely important. The -- it is Israel allies in the area, and this is what we saw last night. We saw actually the allies against the Iranian axis, at the end of the day. And this is, Becky, exactly how it was from the very beginning. Everybody understood that it's not something just between Israel and the Palestinian It is, at the end of the day, a war between Israel and its allies, pro-American allies against the pro-Iranian forces in the area.

ANDERSON: Thank you, sir. It's good to have you. Harel Chorev is with us here on CNN.

CHOREV: Thank you, Becky.

ANDERSON: Well, daylight revealing what damage Iran was able to do with its direct attack on Israel. Coming up, we'll look ahead at what the next hours are likely to bring. You're watching CNN, this is Breaking News.


ANDERSON: Welcome back. I'm Becky Anderson in Abu Dhabi where the time is at 9:39 a.m.

Well, the United States believes the immediate threat of Iranian attacks on Israel has subsided at least for now. In fact, Israeli airspace has reopened in the past hour and Ben Gurion International Airport has now renewed its activities.


Well, that is after Tehran fired waves of missiles and drones towards Israel for five hours overnight, local time. In that time, the skies over Israel lit up with the explosions of intercepted missiles.

In fact, Israel's military says, only a small number of ballistic missiles actually reached Israel at all, and those fell on an airbase in Southern Israel, causing only light structural damage, according to the IDF. That base is still functioning. IDF Spokesman Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari says, 99 percent of the more than 300 projectiles fired at Israel were intercepted overall by both Israel and its allies. Well, now Israel's war cabinet is weighing its response to Iran.

This is the first time that Iran has directly struck Israel after years of threats. And we are getting a breakdown on the numbers. Around 170 drones, more than 30 cruise missiles, and more than 120 ballistic missiles were launched towards Israel by Iran.

Joining me now is Trita Parsi, author of "Losing an Enemy", and is executive vice president at the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft. He joins us now from Washington, D.C. It's good to have you. Let's get your assessment first on the size and scale of this Iranian attack.

TRITA PARSI, AUTHOR, "LOSING AN ENEMY" AND EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT, QUINCY INSTITUTE FOR RESPONSIBLE STATECRAFT: Well, the Iranian retaliation seems clear to be designed. Not to maximize damage but to essentially signal that Israel violated the Iranian red line by striking the Iranian consulate in Damascus. And now the Iranians have done the same, but they're not looking for further escalation even before the attacks were over.

The Iranian mission (ph) at the U.N. tweeted that they considered this a concluded chapter now, unless of course Israel decides to escalate further. And as you recall, there was Israel that started this by attacking the consulate in the first place.

The ball is in many ways, not just in Israel's court, but in Biden's court. Two days ago, he looked into the cameras and said to Iran, don't do it. The Iranians didn't heed that advice. But now the question is, will he say the same thing to the Netanyahu government? Because if he doesn't and the Israelis move forward with further escalation, then it seems quite likely that the next step will be a full-scale regional war.

ANDERSON: And there is certainly no appetite for that. There is no appetite, regionally. And you and I discussed this last week for further escalation. In fact, the very priority in this region is for de-escalation, and a path towards peace on a Palestinian horizon, looking at the, kind of, wider story here in the conflict over the last six months.

And this is a very different situation for Tehran. A very different atmosphere than that which they have experienced from this region, and indeed the U.S., over the years to date, Trita, isn't it? Just explain, if you will.

PARSI: Yes. I mean, the region is not looking for any escalation at all. With the exception, I would say, the Netanyahu government that does have an interest in enlarging and prolonging the war. But I think what is also quite fascinating in all of this is that if we truly want de-escalation, then the Biden administration that has the most amount of influence, at the end of the day, cannot pursue a strategy in which it is putting pressure on all actors in the region from Iran to Hezbollah to the Houthis except for Israel.

As long as it is allowing Israel to have full maneuverability, freedom to escalate, but then it's expecting the other actors in the region to show restraint. Ultimately, that is not going to lead to de- escalation. In fact, it has led to the very situation that we're faced with today. If Biden, from the outset, had put pressure on all parties to show restraint, including the Israelis, by going for a ceasefire, we would not be in this current situation.

ANDERSON: The absence of political path forward is, you know, as a number of people have pointed out, absolutely an aggravating factor here. But if we look very specifically at what is going on with regard to Tehran and Israel and this, you know, unprecedented wave of attacks, how do you understand or what do you understand to be the perspective in Tehran?


Will they be satisfied? And they being the supreme leader and his very close, sort of, leadership, the Revolutionary Guard. Will this be a satisfactory exercise and operation? Given that there were -- there's been no casualties, there's been no real impact on Israeli assets at this point. 99 percent of, those missiles were intercepted before they actually reached Israeli territory.

PARSI: I think the Iranians are probably going to try to exaggerate the damage that was done. And I do suspect also that there is a bit of an under estimation on the Israeli's side of what the damage was. But ultimately, I think if the Iranians managed to make sure that there isn't any further escalation from this, they will then claim that they have restored their deterrence.

That Israel realized that any further attacks by it on Iranian embassies or Iranian officials will be responded to. And as a result, it will be a de-escalation in the region. That is what the line is that the Iranians most likely are going to put forward.

If, however, the Israelis escalate further, then I think it's going to be very difficult for the Iranians internally to be able to say that their attack was successful, because it would have led to a war that the Iranian people absolutely do not want. And frankly, that the Iranians really cannot afford to fight like that.

ANDERSON: Yes, a very big calculation for the Israelis at this point. Will Israel try and take out Iran's drone and ballistic missile capabilities? Would that be a proportionate response? I mean, you know, there are many, many questions out there at present. Certainly, from the Washington perspective, there is a real push now to consider this a win on the Israeli's side, given the lack of impact of what was this unprecedented wave of strikes. Trita, good to have you.

Our Breaking News coverage continues --

PARSI: Thanks for having me.

ANDERSON: -- after this short break.



ANDERSON: Welcome back. You're watching Breaking News here on CNN.

Before Iran's strikes on Israel on Saturday, an Israeli linked container ship was seized by Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps near the Strait of Hormuz, according to Iranian state news agency IRNA.

CNN's Paula Newton joins us now with more. Paula.

PAULA NEWTON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Becky, I mean, look, Iran certainly is trying to send a message here. This happened just before this retaliation, given that ship was then diverted to Iranian waters.

Now, this goes through the Strait of Hormuz. And a reminder, Becky, as everyone there in the region knows, it is a critical choke point, especially when it comes to energy supplies. One in five barrels of oil goes through the Strait of Hormuz each and every day. And Iran intends to use this as a strategic asset, reminding the Biden administration that, look, they can disrupt that vital supply route if they want to. And when that happens, it means that the price of oil will spike.

Now, Becky, we have had a run up in the price of oil in the last few days. We're actually nearing six-month highs on a lot of different benchmarks. But here's the thing, I wouldn't be surprised to see oil prices going lower in early -- into the week because they will have assumed that this incident is now over. But it is a very, very potent reminder to the Biden administration that they should try and convince Netanyahu to not retaliate on this one.

The reason is the Biden administration very vulnerable to energy price shocks right now. Gas prices, given the political campaign that is underway, and they will want to see that very crucial de-escalation that you've been talking about now to really take place. And this is a reminder that Iran is giving everyone that we will continue to disrupt what we can in the global economy if this does not go our way.

ANDERSON: Paula Newton on the story for us. Paula, important insight there. Thank you.

Well, after the break and it's -- as Israel decides what its next steps will be after what was unprecedented attack, Iran issues a warning, any future aggression will be met with an even stronger response.



ANDERSON: Well, Iran says the attack on Israel was self-defense after Israel struck their consulate in Damascus on April the 1st. Welcome back. You're watching Breaking News here on CNN.

Tehran is calling its retaliation a response to, "Repeated military aggressions of the Zionist regime." Iran says, the matter can be considered concluded for now. But their U.N. ambassador says, if Israel uses military aggression again, the next retaliation will be even stronger. While Israel denies Tehran's claim that the building in Syria, April the 1st, was a consulate. Saying, it was instead a military building of Quds forces.

Well, as -- an aside, Iran's attack is a direct contradiction to what Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said a year ago. He said that judicial reform would not weaken the country's security. CNN spoke earlier to Barack Ravid, our political and global affairs analyst, about this.


BARAK RAVID, CNN POLITICAL AND GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST AND POLITICS AND FOREIGN POLICY REPORTER, AXIOS: One of the most popular Twitter accounts in -- since the war started, is an Israeli Twitter account. Nobody knows who's operating it, but it's called, News from a Year Ago. And today, when the Iranians, shortly before they fired their drones and their cruise missiles, this account posted a video of Netanyahu from a year ago. Where he pushed back on the warnings from the intelligence services that the judicial overhaul that he's pushing is creating damages to Israeli security and is encouraging Israel's enemies to attack it.

And back at the time, exactly a year ago he said, Israel's enemies will never attack us because they know it will be a mistake. And I think that when you put those two together, I think many, many Israelis look at what's going on. The war in Gaza is stuck. There's no hostage deal in sight. Hezbollah is still shelling the northern border. And Israel is being attacked directly from Iran. I don't think anybody thought that this is where Israel is going to be a year ago.


ANDERSON: Barak Ravid there. I'm Becky Anderson. And I will be right back with more on our Breaking News after this short break. Stay with us.