Tuesday, March 5, 2024

No US threat to Iran will go unanswered, Tehran says

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DUBAI:

Iran will respond to any threat from the United States, Tehran’s Revolutionary Guards’ chief Hossein Salami said on Wednesday, as Washington prepares its response to the killing of American servicemen by presumed Tehran-aligned militants.

US President Joe Biden said on Tuesday he had already decided how to respond to a drone attack that killed three US service members in Jordan on Saturday, but gave no further details about his plan.

Washington has blamed the attack, the first to kill US troops in the Middle East since an escalation in regional violence accompanying the war between Israel and Hamas, on Ketaib Hezbollah, a pro-Iranian militia based in Iraq. The group said on Tuesday it was suspending military actions against the United States to avoid embarrassing the Baghdad government.

“We hear threats coming from American officials, we tell them that they have already tested us and we now know one another, no threat will be left unanswered,” Iran’s Salami said, according to semi-official Tasnim news agency.

State media quoted Iran’s foreign minister, Hossein Amirabdollahian, as telling a cabinet meeting: “The US has to stop its threats and focus on a political solution.”

Washington “has to accept the resistance as a fact”, he said, referring to Iran’s name for its alliance of armed groups across the Middle East.

Read also: Biden says he has decided how to respond to attack on US troops in Jordan

US forces based in Syria, Iraq and at sea have been engaged in tit-for-tat strikes with pro-Iranian armed groups since Israel launched its retaliatory war against Hamas after the Palestinian group attacked Israel on Oct. 7.

But Saturday’s drone attack in Jordan was the first time US forces had suffered fatalities, raising pressure on Biden to respond forcefully against Iran itself despite the potential risk of a wider escalation.

Iran’s envoy to the United Nations, Amir Saeid Iravani, said on Wednesday that Tehran would respond decisively to any attack on its territory, its interests, or Iranian nationals outside its borders.

In recent weeks, presumed Israeli strikes on Syria have killed several Iranian Revolutionary Guards, including senior commanders. On Monday, another Israeli strike hit what Tasnim described as an “Iranian military advisory centre” in Syria, killing two people. Iran’s envoy to Syria denied the target was an Iranian base and said the casualties were not Iranian.

On Jan. 15, Iran attacked what it called an Israeli “spy headquarters” in Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdistan region.

In the most direct confrontation between Iran and the United States in recent years, US forces killed the commander of the Revolutionary Guards’ elite Quds force in a strike on a Baghdad airport in Jan. 2020. Tehran responded by targeting a US air base in Iraq.

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