By Jon Dougherty
(TNS) As threatened, the Iranian regime launched about a dozen ballistic missiles at a U.S.-occupied base in Iraq early Wednesday local time, but thus far, the Pentagon has said no casualties were inflicted by the limited attack.
Iranâ€™s supreme leader,Â Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, called the Iranian missile strikes in a â€œslap in the faceâ€ to the United States.
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â€œThey were slapped last night, but such military actions are not enough,â€ heÂ tweetedÂ in English. â€œThe corruptive presence of the US in the region of West Asia must be stopped.â€
Added Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif:
Iran took & concluded proportionate measures in self-defense under Article 51 of UN Charter targeting base from which cowardly armed attack against our citizens & senior officials were launched.
We do not seek escalation or war, but will defend ourselves against any aggression.
— Javad Zarif (@JZarif) January 8, 2020
In a statement, the Pentagon described what appears to have been a pinprick attack for the consumption of the Iranian public.
â€œAt approximately 5:30 p.m. (EST) on January 7, Iran launched more than a dozen ballistic missiles against U.S. military and coalition forces in Iraq. It is clear that these missiles were launched from Iran and targeted at least two Iraqi military bases hosting U.S. military and coalition personnel at Al-Assad and Irbil,â€ said a PentagonÂ statement, issued about an hour and a half after the attack.
â€œThese bases have been on high alert due to indications that the Iranian regime planned to attack our forces and interests in the region.â€
CNN cited a U.S. military official and senior administration official as saying the Iranian missiles hit areas of the al-Asad base not populated by Americans.
Defense Secretary Mark Esper made it clear to the Iranians — again — that they don’t want to go down this road because there isn’t going to be any tit-for-tat, that despite the insane objections from Democrats and their propagandists in the “mainstream” media, the administration is prepared to overwhelm the regime in Tehran.
â€œThe United States is not seeking a war with Iran, but we are prepared to finish one,â€ Esper said. â€œWe are seeking a diplomatic solution, but first this will require Iran to de-escalate. It will require the regime to come to the table with the goal of preventing further bloodshed. And it will require them to cease their malign activities throughout the region.â€
And President Trump doubled down on his initial threats to take the fight to the Iranians in a way they could never hope to defend against — should it come to that.
â€œThey’re allowed to kill our people, they’re allowed to maim our people, they’re allowed to blow up everything that we have and there’s nothing that stops them, and we are â€” according to various laws â€”supposed to be very careful with their cultural heritage. And you know what? If that’s what the law is, I will â€” I like to obey the law,” the president said in response to a question about the illegality of targeting Iranian cultural sites.
â€œBut think of it: They kill our people, they blow up our people, and then we have to be very gentle with their cultural institutions,â€ he said. â€œBut I’m ok with it. It’s ok with me.â€
â€œI will say this: If Iran does anything that they shouldn’t be doing, they’re going to be suffering the consequences, and very strongly.â€
The president has been attempting to inform the Iranians since he took office that at some point, their aggression and actions against the United States would be met with a sizable response.
That occurred last week when Trump ordered the targeting of al-Quds Force leader Gen. Qassem Soleimani and several other high-ranking military officials traveling with him.
The president defended the attack against lame and inappropriate criticism from hypocrite Democrats on Tuesday.
“He was traveling with the head of Hezbollah. They weren’t there to discuss a vacation. They weren’t there to go to a nice resort someplace in Baghdad. They were there to discuss bad business,â€ Trump said during a meeting Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis.
â€œWe saved a lot of lives by terminating his life. A lot of lives were saved. They were planning something, and you’re going to be hearing about it, or at least various people in Congress are going to be hearing about it.â€
Esper added: â€œTo somehow suggest that he wasn’t a legitimate target, I think, is fanciful. He was clearly on the battlefield. He was conducting, preparing, planning military operations. He was a legitimate target, and his time was due.â€
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