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Iran’s foreign minister insists they don’t want a war after missile strikes

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Iran’s foreign minister has insisted they do not want a war despite firing more than a dozen ballistic missiles at two military bases in Iraq housing American troops in a revenge attack for the U.S. drone strike that killed their top Iranian general.  

Foreign minister Javad Zarif defended the missile strikes saying Iran ‘took & concluded proportionate measures’ and was only acting in ‘self defense’ when they struck back at the U.S.

But while Zarif suggested their retaliation was concluded, he warned that Iran did not ‘seek escalation or war’ but vowed to continue defending themselves if the U.S. chose to retaliate.

The firing of the missiles late Tuesday was a major escalation between Iran and the U.S. and raised immediate fears that the two longtime enemies were inching closer to war.

But the response from Iran’s foreign minister is one of a few indicators that there might not be further retaliation on either side – at least in the short term.

Iran's foreign minister Javad Zarif

Donald Trump

Iran’s foreign minister Javad Zarif has insisted they do not want a war despite firing more than a dozen ballistic missiles at two military bases in Iraq housing American troops in a revenge attack for the killing of a top Iranian general that was ordered by Donald Trump

Iran's foreign minister Javad Zarif warned that Iran did not 'seek escalation or war' but vowed to continue defending themselves if the U.S. chose to retaliate

Iran’s foreign minister Javad Zarif warned that Iran did not ‘seek escalation or war’ but vowed to continue defending themselves if the U.S. chose to retaliate

It comes after President Donald Trump calmly tweeted on Tuesday night that 'all is well' shortly after the missile attacks

It comes after President Donald Trump calmly tweeted on Tuesday night that ‘all is well’ shortly after the missile attacks 

It comes after President Donald Trump calmly tweeted on Tuesday night that ‘all is well’ shortly after the missile attacks. 

‘So far, so good’ he added regarding casualties and damage. 

‘Assessment of casualties & damages taking place now. So far, so good! We have the most powerful and well equipped military anywhere in the world, by far,’ Trump tweeted.

It appears to be a step back from the tense aftermath of the strikes when the Pentagon said the missiles were ‘clearly launched from Iran’ to target U.S. military and coalition forces and Iran’s Revolutionary Guards admitted to firing the rockets in retaliation for last week’s killing of Iranian general Qassem Soleimani.  

Soleimani’s killing and the strikes by Iran came as tensions have been rising steadily across the Mideast ever since Trump’s decision to unilaterally withdraw America from Tehran’s nuclear deal with world powers. 

They also marked the first time in recent years that the U.S. and Iran have attacked each other directly rather than through proxies in the region.  

Iran fired more than a dozen ballistic missiles at two Iraqi bases housing American troops in a revenge attack for the U.S. drone strike that killed a top Iranian general

Iran fired more than a dozen ballistic missiles at two Iraqi bases housing American troops in a revenge attack for the U.S. drone strike that killed a top Iranian general 

An explosion is seen following missiles landing at what is believed to be Ain al-Asad Air Base in Iraq

An explosion is seen following missiles landing at what is believed to be Ain al-Asad Air Base in Iraq

The Ain al-Asad airbase in western Iraq and the Erbil base in Iraqi Kurdistan were both struck by the missiles on Tuesday at about 5.30pm (EST)

The Ain al-Asad airbase in western Iraq and the Erbil base in Iraqi Kurdistan were both struck by the missiles on Tuesday at about 5.30pm (EST)

The Ain al-Asad airbase in western Iraq, which Trump visited in December 2018, and the Erbil base in Iraqi Kurdistan were the two bases targeted in the attacks. 

A military official has revealed the U.S. had early warnings of the Iranian missile launches and were able to the sound the alarms at at least one of the two targeted bases.

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Those in harm’s way were able to scramble to safety and hide in bunkers during the attack, the official told USA Today.

U.S. troops at the base had been practicing safety drills for some time.  

A U.S. official has since said there were no immediate reports of American casualties although buildings were still being searched. Iraqi officials say there were no casualties among their forces either.

The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, a branch of the Iranian Armed Forces, reportedly said Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei was personally in the control center coordinating the attacks.

The rockets used in the attack, according to Iranian TV, were Fatteh-110 ballistic missiles, which have a range of 186 miles or 300km.  

In the immediate aftermath, they warned U.S. allies in the Middle East that they would face retaliation if America strikes back against any Iranian targets from their bases.     

President Trump and First Lady Melania visited the al-Asad airbase in western Iraq in December 2018. The airbase was targeted by Iran on Tuesday in a missile attack

 

‘We are warning all American allies, who gave their bases to its terrorist army, that any territory that is the starting point of aggressive acts against Iran will be targeted,’ they said. It also threatened Israel.

After the strikes, a former Iranian nuclear negotiator posted a picture of the Islamic Republic’s flag on Twitter, appearing to mimic Trump who posted an American flag following the killing of Soleimani and others last Friday. 

Meanwhile, South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham said after the attacks that the missile strikes were an ‘act of war’ and said Trump had all the power he needed to act. 

‘This is an act of war by any reasonable definition,’ Graham told Fox News’ Sean Hannity. 

‘The President has all the authority he needs under Article II to respond.’

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi tweeted that the U.S., as well as the rest of the world, ‘cannot afford war’. 

‘Closely monitoring the situation following bombings targeting U.S. troops in Iraq. We must ensure the safety of our servicemembers, including ending needless provocations from the Administration and demanding that Iran cease its violence. America & world cannot afford war,’ she tweeted. 

The missiles strikes prompted the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration to ban U.S. carriers from operating in the airspace over Iraq, Iran, the Gulf of Oman and the waters between Iran and Saudi Arabia.

That decision came just hours before a Ukrainian passenger plane bound for Kiev fell from the sky just outside of Tehran – sparking speculation it was shot down, killing all 170 passengers on board.  

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