Iran’s Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) on Tuesday night warned the US against “more provocations” and threatened to attack its allies, including Israel, if Washington retaliates for an Iranian missile attack on bases in Iraq hosting US soldiers.
“We warn the Great Satan, the bloodthirsty and arrogant regime of the US, that any new wicked act or more moves and aggressions (against Iran) will bring about more painful and crushing responses,” the IRGC said in a statement quoted by the Tasnim news agency.
“We are warning all US allies who gave their bases to its terrorist army that any territory that in any way becomes the starting point of hostile and aggressive acts against the Islamic Republic of Iran will be targeted,” the statement added.
“We in no way consider the Zionist regime (of Israel) to be separated from the criminal US regime in these crimes,” it said.
The IRGC urged the American people to call for the return of US forces from the region in order to prevent further losses and not to allow the Washington government to put the lives of American troops at risk any more.
Earlier, the Pentagon confirmed that Iran launched more than a dozen ballistic missiles against US military and coalition forces in Iraq.
“We are working on initial battle damage assessments. In recent days and in response to Iranian threats and actions, the Department of Defense has taken all appropriate measures to safeguard our personnel and partners. These bases have been on high alert due to indications that the Iranian regime planned to attack our forces and interests in the region,” said the Pentagon statement.
“As we evaluate the situation and our response, we will take all necessary measures to protect and defend US personnel, partners, and allies in the region.”
Iran state TV said that Tehran launched “tens” of surface-to-surface missiles at the Ain Assad air base which houses US troops in Iraq.
State TV described the attack as Tehran’s revenge operation over the killing of Gen. Qassem Soleimani, head of the Quds Force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard.
The network said the operation’s name was “Marytr Soleimani” and added the Guard’s aerospace division, which controls Iran’s missile program, launched the attack.
The Iranian attack follows several days of back-and-forth threats between the US and Iran following Soleimani’s death.
Soleimani’s successor, Brig. Gen. Esmail Ghaani, threatened the US hours after the air strike which killed Soleimani, saying, “Everyone should be patient a little to see the bodies of American soldiers all over the Middle East.”
On Saturday, US President Donald Trump threatened to attack 52 Iranian sites, including sites that are important to Iranian culture, if the Islamic Republic strikes any Americans or American assets.
On Sunday, Trump doubled down on his threat and asserted that cultural sites in Iran are appropriate sites for retaliation.
“They’re allowed to kill our people. They’re allowed to torture and maim our people. they’re allowed to use roadside bombs and blow up our people. And we’re not allowed to touch their cultural site? It doesn’t work that way," he told reporters.
On Monday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani responded to Trump’s threats and said nobody should threaten his country.