BAKU, Azerbaijan, Jan. 8
Iran has attacked American targets in Iraq. It was noted that the IRGC (Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps) launched at least 35 missiles on Ayn al-Asad air base in Iraq's west and the base in Erbil.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif called the Iranian strike a self-defense measure against a base in Iraq that launched an attack against Iranian citizens and officials, while he emphasized that Tehran was not seeking an "escalation or war."
The attacks rocketed days after Iranian Major General Qassem Soleimani's assassination by the US. US President Donald Trump spokesperson Stephanie Grisham said the president is informed of the attacks and is consulting with his team of advisers. CNN, citing the White House, reported that Trump had a meeting at the White House on the situation.
In turn, the US banned flights of its civilian aircraft over a significant part of the Middle East, in particular over Iran, Iraq, the Persian and Omani gulfs.
Pentagon spokesperson Jonathan Hoffman said the strike was from Iran. The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) claimed responsibility for the attacks that were retaliated for the assassination of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani.
Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei should deliver a speech to a group of people in Qom today on the occasion of the anniversary of the events in this Iranian city on Jan. 8, 1978. This is important against the backdrop of Iran’s recent attacks on the US base in Iraq.
In turn, the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of Iran, Major General Mohammad Bagheri, said that it is time for the US leaders to withdraw their forces from the region as soon as possible, stressing that any new US actions would lead to a tougher response from Iran.
Bagheri, warning US officials, said the operation last night expressed only part of the ability of the Islamic Republic Armed Forces to respond to the assassination of Major General Qassem Soleimani.
According to CNN, missiles fired by the Iranian side hit the part of Ain al-Asad air base in Iraq where there were no US troops.
CNN notes that this is evidenced by the first data obtained in the course of assessing the damage caused to the US facilities as a result of the missile strike. At the same time, CNN indicates that to fully conduct an appropriate inspection of the air base will only happen during daytime.