Iran′s Revolutionary Guards warn of ′harsher revenge′ after strikes on US targets | News | DW | 09.01.2020
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Iran's Revolutionary Guards warn of 'harsher revenge' after strikes on US targets

Iranian officials have warned the US against launching another retaliatory attack. Iran's UN envoy also dismissed calls for cooperation from Trump as "unbelievable" considering the ongoing sanctions against Iran.

Iran's Revolutionary Guards warned on Thursday that Tehran could take further steps to retaliate against the US after top Iranian general Qassem Soleimani was killed in an airstrike last week.

Senior commander Abdollah Araghi said that Iran would take "harsher revenge soon" after carrying out rocket attacks on US targets in Iraq, the semi-official Tasnim news agency reported.

Iran's UN Ambassador Majid Takht Ravanchi on Thursday also dismissed Washington's calls for cooperation, saying it was "unbelievable" in light of US sanctions against Tehran. He also said that the US had "initiated a new series of escalation and animosity with Iran" after Soleimani's killing.

Iran previously warned that it would take further military action against the US if Washington decided to stage another retaliatory attack.

Read more: Qassem Soleimani: Timeline of events following Iranian general's assassination

Trump: Iran 'standing down'

On Wednesday, Trump signaled his intention to de-escalate the situation following Iran's attack on US targets in Iraq, citing a moderate response from Tehran for Soleimani's killing.

Iran's attack resulted in no casualties, a fact touted by analysts as a key motive behind Trump's decision to refrain from further escalating military engagement with Tehran.

"Our great American forces are prepared for anything," Trump said. "Iran appears to be standing down, which is a good thing for all parties concerned and a very good thing for the world."

Speaking to DW on Thursday, the head of Germany's Committee on Foreign Affairs Norbert Röttgen said Trump was "absolutely determined to avoid war," while at the same time trying to avoid being "seen as weak," adding that these two positions were "absolutely parallel to the Iranian leadership." 

Hours after Trump's speech on Wednesday, two rockets hit Baghdad's heavily fortified Green Zone — where the US and other embassies are located — but caused no casualties. No group immediately came forward to claim responsibility.

The rockets were played down by US Defense Secretary Mark Esper to reporters on Wednesday. "We should have some expectation that the Shia militia groups, either directed or not directed by Iran, will continue in some way, shape or form to try and undermine our presence there, either politically or, you know, take some type of kinetic actions against us or do Lord-knows-what," he said.

Read more: Opinion: Tehran's moderate retaliation paves way for de-escalation

 A picture published by the media office of the Iraqi military's joint operations forces on their official Facebook page shows a destroyed vehicle on fire following a US strike on January 3, 2020 on Baghdad international airport road in which top Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani was killed along with eight others

The killing of Quds Force leader Qassem Soleimani triggered a tit-for-tat response from Iranian forces

US and Iran invoke 'self-defense' at UN

Both Washington and Tehran defended the strikes before the United Nations Security Council, with the US saying it acted out of self-defense when it killed Soleimani.

The US Ambassador to the UN Kelly Craft cited Article 51 of the UN Charter, which outlines "the inherent right of individual or collective self-defense if an armed attack occurs against a Member of the United Nations."

The US was acting "in response to an escalating series of armed attacks in recent months by the Islamic Republic of Iran and Iran-supported militias on US forces and interests in the Middle East," Craft said.

Read more: Iran's cyberweapons keep US on edge

However, she noted that the US is also "ready to engage without preconditions in serious negotiations with Iran, with the goal of preventing further endangerment of international peace and security or escalation by the Iranian regime," Craft said in a letter on Wednesday.

Iran's UN Ambassador Ravanchi also sent a letter to the UN Security Council, invoking its right to self-defense. Iran took "a measured and proportionate military response" against the US presence in Iraq for the killing of Soleimani, Ravanchi said.

"The operation was precise and targeted military objectives thus leaving no collateral damage to civilian assets in the area," he added. "Iran declares that it is determined to continue to vigorously … defend its people, sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity against any aggression."

Read more: Why the US and Iran are not at war

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rs, ls/se (Reuters, AP)

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Trump: Iran 'standing down'