Five days after the assassination of General Qassem Soleimani by the United States, Iran retaliated the night of Tuesday to Wednesday by firing missiles against two bases sheltering American soldiers in Iraq.
According to the Pentagon, a dozen missiles have been launched from Iran against the bases of Ain al-Assad and Erbil. Mohammad Javad Zarif, the head of Iranian diplomacy, said that his country had led and “finished” in the night of “proportionate” reprisals. “We are not looking for escalation of war,” he said.
In a particularly light and rather soothing tweet, US President Donald Trump said he would make a statement Wednesday morning and hinted that the balance sheet was not very heavy.
‘The damage and casualty assessment is underway. So far, everything is fine!’ he explained. The Iranian Revolutionary Guards, the ideological army of the Islamic Republic, have advised Washington to recall its troops deployed in the region “in order to avoid further casualties”. They also threatened to strike Israel and “allied governments” of America.
The shooting comes just after the funeral of General Qassem Soleimani, who was assassinated on Friday in Baghdad with the Iraqi Abu Mehdi al-Mouhandis, leader of pro-Iran paramilitaries now integrated into the Iraqi security forces, has just ended.
“Ballistic missiles openly launched from Iran on American targets is a new phase,” said Phillip Smyth, a specialist in armed Shiite groups, recalling that Tehran has tended to respond via factions so far, without claims.
Iranian parliament urgently passed a law classifying all US armed forces as “terrorists” after the death of Qassem Soleimani, the architect of Iran’s Middle East strategy often considered a hero in his country for combat against IS.
But while he had personally threatened to strike Iranian cultural sites in the event of a military response from Tehran, Donald Trump backed down. “According to various laws, we are supposed to be careful with their cultural heritage,” he said, before assuring: “I like to respect the law.”