Giovanni Giacalone
Eyes everywhere

Italian FM Tajani feels reassured by Iran: only ships to Israel will be attacked

Italian Foreign Minister, Antonio Tajani (Agi news agency)

The Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Antonio Tajani, made some very concerning statements on April 14th regarding Iran’s aggression against Israel, at a time when even Arab countries have taken action alongside Israel, as well as obviously the United States, France and Great Britain. Statements for which he should provide some clear explanations.

The danger represented by the Iranian regime towards stability in the Middle East and globally is more than evident, but perhaps not for Tajani who declared:

The Iranians have assured us that our Italian soldiers in the area will be respected.” Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Antonio Tajani said this on Stasera Italia on Rete4. “The Italian contingent in Lebanon is under the aegis of the UN, it is in a condition to be protected, I don’t think there are any dangers either for the Italian soldiers or for the Italian citizens in Israel and Iran” explained Tajani, who reported that the Farnesina crisis unit had received no reports from Italians in Jerusalem, Amman and Tehran. As for the Houthi attacks in the Red Sea, the minister explained how he was assured that “only ships that bring weapons to Israel will be attacked“. (Agi – April 14th 2024).

It is indeed nice to know that the Italian Foreign Minister relies on the Iranian regime’s reassurances regarding the safety of the Italian military in Lebanon and this in itself is a big question mark. Why?

It is important to recall that the Khomeinist regime perpetrated an unprecedented direct attack against Israel on Saturday night. As explained by IDF spokesman Peter Lerner, Iran launched around 170 explosive drones, 30 cruise missiles, 120 ballistic missiles, and each ballistic missile has a warhead of around 100 to 120 kilos of explosives. This is the damage that Iran wanted to inflict on Israel.

As if it wasn’t enough, Tajani went even further:

As for the Houthi attacks in the Red Sea, the minister explained how he was assured that “only ships that bring weapons to Israel will be attacked“.

Does this mean that as long as the Iranian proxy in Yemen (because that’s what it is) attacks ships traveling to Israel to carry material that is necessary for the State’s defense against the Iranian regime and Hezbollah, then, it’s acceptable?

And wait a minute, isn’t the European anti-Houthi mission “Aspides” in the Red Sea led by Italy and Greece? This isn’t exactly good news, despite the many doubts about the usefulness of the “defensive” mission itself.

Now, Israel can sleep peacefully knowing that the naval traffic towards Israel in the Red Sea is in good hands.

Tajani had already made controversial statements following the October 7th massacre, as already reported by The Times of Israel: “We have decided not to send any more arms to Israel, so there is no need to discuss this point”.

Italy’s weapon supply to Israel is limited to a small percentage which makes the whole delivery block irrelevant to Israel’s security, about 5%, according to Walla. However, why would the Italian government want to cut weapon shipments to Israel, immediately after Hamas perpetrated against Israelis the worst massacre since the Shoah?

Even more so, since Italy does not seem concerned about cutting defense deals with Turkey under Erdogan, as exposed by Al Arabiyya in January 2024.

Tajani had also stated that “Italy does not take part in attacks against the Houthi, but promotes a European response”. Of course not, otherwise Rome wouldn’t be receiving reassurances by the Iranian regime, would it?

Back in January 2024, the former commander of the Italian armed forces, Admiral Luigi Binelli-Mantelli, explained:

“…this (the Houthi-Iran offensive) is not simply aimed against Israel, it’s a direct challenge to all Western countries, testing our determination and cohesion to protect our economy and our common values and way of life”.

However, this does not appear to be the position of the Italian Foreign Ministry, which seems much more concerned about Iranian reassurances and not irritating the Khomeinist regime. Clarifications are awaited by the Italian Prime Minister, Giorgia Meloni.





About the Author
Giovanni Giacalone is a senior analyst in Islamist extremism and terrorism at the Italian Team for Security, Terroristic Issues and Managing Emergencies-Catholic University of Milan, at the Europe desk for the UK-based think tank Islamic Theology of Counter-Terrorism, and a researcher for Centro Studi Machiavelli. Since 2021 he is the coordinator for the "Latin America group" at the International Institute for the Study of Security-ITSS. In 2023 Giacalone published the book “The Tablighi Jamaat in Europe”.
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