Hours after Iran’s attacks on two bases in Iraq that houses United States troops, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei addressed his nation considering the firing of 22 ballistic missiles as a “slap in the face” and that military action were “not sufficient” to end the American presence in the region. However, Iran’s authorities said they did “not seek escalation or war.”
Iran’s firing of ballistic missiles without casualties at two of the main military bases where thousands of American troops are stationed in Iraq was an escalation in the widening conflict throughout the Middle East and a retaliation on the American killing of General Qassim Suleimani, leader of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps –a hero at home– and a terrorist to the United States government.
“The fierce revenge by the Revolutionary Guards has begun,” the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps said in a statement on a Telegram messaging app channel.
The events has scaled into one of the most dangerous confrontations in the four decades of hostility that have followed the Islamic Revolution.
In a massive farewell to their killed leader in Kerman –Suleimani’s town–, overcrowding and a subsequent stampede that led at least 50 dead delayed the General’s burial, the state news media IRIB reported. He was finally buried around midnight, as Iran prepared to launch missile attacks against American forces at 01:20, the time an US drone killed Suleimani last Friday.
Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif made the remarks in a tweet after Iran conducted Wednesday’s attacks.
“Iran took & concluded proportionate measures in self-defense under Article 51 of UN Charter targeting base from which cowardly armed attack against our citizens & senior officials were launched,” Mr. Zarif said.
Iran took & concluded proportionate measures in self-defense under Article 51 of UN Charter targeting base from which cowardly armed attack against our citizens & senior officials were launched.— Javad Zarif (@JZarif) January 8, 2020
We do not seek escalation or war, but will defend ourselves against any aggression.
If the United States did not strike, Iran would also de-escalate, The New York Times’ sources close to the Revolutionary Guards said. However, if the United States did attack, Iran would prepare for a conflict.
United States officials initially said there were no immediate indications of American casualties, and senior Iraqi officials later said that there were no American or Iraqi casualties in the strikes.
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