Iranian leaders hailed their country’s strike on two Iraqi bases housing U.S. troops. On January 8, Iran fired at least a dozen missiles at the al Asad air base in Iraq’s western Anbar province and another facility in Irbil in retaliation for the U.S. killing of Qassem Soleimani, the head of the elite Qods Force.
The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) claimed responsibility for the attack, which it called a “great victory” against the “Great Satan.” No U.S. or Iraqi casualties were reported, but the IRGC warned that any additional U.S. attacks would result in “a more painful and cruel response.”
Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei called the strike a “slap in the face” to the United States. He and President Hassan Rouhani said that the Iran’s ultimate goal was to end the U.S. military presence in the region. Yet Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif emphasized that Iran was not interested in further armed conflict with Washington. “We do not seek escalation or war, but will defend ourselves against any aggression,” Zarif tweeted. He said that Iran “took and concluded proportionate measures in self-defense.” The following are reactions to the strike by Iranian officials.
Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei
The lying, rambling US govt – whose words are worthless – tried to introduce this great Mujahid & Commander in the fight against terrorism as a terrorist. The Iranian nation slapped them in the face with their turn out in the millions for the funeral of General Soleimani.— Khamenei.ir (@khamenei_ir) January 8, 2020
“Military action like this is not sufficient. What is important is ending the corrupting presence of America in the region.”
“This region does not accept the U.S. presence.”
—Jan. 7, 2020, in a speech, according to Reuters
President Hassan Rouhani
General Soleimani fought heroically against ISIS, Al Nusrah, Al Qaeda et al. If it weren’t for his war on terror, European capitals would be in great danger now.— Hassan Rouhani (@HassanRouhani) January 8, 2020
Our final answer to his assassination will be to kick all US forces out of the region.
Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif
“The U.S. has marked its end in the region.”
“Given this extent of public hatred against America in the region, the US is spending its last days in the region, and they certainly have no future in the region.”
—Jan. 8, 2020, to reporters in Tehran
“We attach high significance to Iraq’s territorial integrity and sovereignty, and we believe security should be [provided] based on mutual respect and [safeguarding] territorial integrity of all regional countries by all.”
—Jan. 8, 2020, in remarks, according to Press TV
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.— Javad Zarif (@JZarif) January 8, 2020
We do not seek escalation or war, but will defend ourselves against any aggression.
Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps
“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 brave soldiers of the IRGC Aerospace Force in a successful operation in the name of martyr General Qassem Soleimani … launched tens of surface-to-surface ballistic missiles” at bases in Iraq.
“We are warning all U.S. 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.”
“We in no way consider the Zionist regime (of Israel) to be separated from the criminal US regime in these crimes.”
—Jan. 7, 2020, in a statement published by Tasnim News Agency
Saeed Jalili, Representative of the Supreme Leader to the Secretary of Supreme National Security Council
Ali Shamkhani, Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council
“The Americans should know that until now 13 revenge scenarios have been discussed in the council and even if there is consensus on the weakest scenario carrying it out can be a historic nightmare for the Americans.”
—Jan. 7, 2020, in a statement to Fars News Agency (prior to the attack)
Ambassador to the United Nations Majid Takht Ravanchi
“What we have said is that we took a measured, proportionate response to the terrorist assassination of our top general, Qassem Soleimani last night. And as far as Iran is concerned, that action was concluded last night. So it depends on the United States. If the U.S. ventures to attacking Iran again, definitely proportionate response will be taken in response to that attack.”
“When we face the assassination of Qassem Soleimani, we said that we would act in response militarily. The timing and the place will be decided by, by us, not by anybody else. And this is exactly what happened. We chose the timing. We chose the place. And we believe that we acted in accordance with our rights based on the United Nations charter. And that was a proportionate response to the killing of Qassem Soleimani.”
—Jan. 9, 2020, in an interview with NPR