Iran Claims Responsibility for Attack on U.S.

Iran has claimed responsibility for a dozen ballistic missiles that struck Iraq’s northern Kurdish regional capital of Erbil in the early hours of Sunday, March 13th, according to reporting from Iranian state media, who added that the attack was against Israeli “strategic centres” in Erbil.

The missiles targeted the U.S. consulate along with several other sites, according to the Kurdish regional government.

The missile attack comes as the Biden administration‘s talks to revive the failed 2015 Iran nuclear deal face potential collapse after a last-minute Russian demand forced world powers to pause the negotiations for an undetermined amount of time despite having the text of the deal mostly completed.

The missiles targeted the U.S. consulate’s new building and a neighbouring residential area, causing only material damage to the buildings, though one civilian was injured, according to the Kurdish interior ministry. An Iraqi security official told Reuters that the missiles used in the attack were manufactured in Iran.

The Iranian Revolutionary Guard released a statement taking responsibility for the missile attack against what it called Israeli “strategic centres” in Erbil, according to Iran’s state media.

“Any repetition of attacks by Israel will be met with a harsh, decisive and destructive response,” the Revolutionary Guard said in the statement.

One U.S. official blamed Iran for the attack in a comment earlier on Sunday but did not give further details.

A spokesperson for the Kurdish regional authorities stated that the attack only targeted civilian residential areas, not a foreign base and called on the international community to carry out an investigation.

According to reporting from the Washington Free Beacon:

Separately, a U.S. State Department spokesperson called it an “outrageous attack” but said no Americans were hurt and there was no damage to U.S. government facilities in Erbil. U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Mathew H. Tueller condemned the attack and said “Iranian regime elements have claimed responsibility for this attack and must be held accountable.”

France’s foreign ministry said Sunday’s missile strike on Erbil threatened efforts to conclude nuclear talks with Iran.

U.S. forces stationed at Erbil’s international airport complex have in the past come under fire from rocket and drone attacks that Washington blames on Iran-aligned militia groups, but no such attacks have occurred for several months.

Asked about Sunday’s attack, Israel’s military said it did not comment on reports in the foreign press and the prime minister’s office declined to comment.

An Israeli air strike in Syria on Monday, March 7th had killed two members of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), according to a report from Iranian state media last week. The IRGC vowed to retaliate, the report indicated. Israel has not confirmed it carried out the strike.

Analysts say that the attack on Sunday was more of a retaliation against last week’s Israeli air strikes in Syria rather than an attack on the U.S.

Iran had carried out attacks against American targets and did not shy away from publicizing this,” said Hamidreza Azizi, Visiting Fellow at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs.

“I see this more as a warning sign to Israel and a show of force in the negotiations,” he added.

A Kurdish spokesperson for the regional authorities said there were no flight interruptions at Erbil airport due to the attack.

Source: The Washington Free Beacon

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