Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Wednesday that his country's attack was "a slap in the face of the U.S.," and said the military action is still "not enough."
Khamenei made these statements in a televised interview, hours after the Iranian missile strike on two Iraqi military bases that host U.S. forces.
Khamenei described the attack on the military bases as "successful", and that "our enemy is the U.S. and the Zionist entity [Israel], and last night we slapped the U.S.".
He also reiterated his country's refusal to renew nuclear talks with the U.S.
Earlier Wednesday, Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) launched more than a dozen ballistic missiles against U.S. military and coalition forces in Iraq.
Turkish, Iranian top diplomats discuss regional issues
Turkey’s foreign minister and his Iranian counterpart Wednesday discussed the recent tensions in the region, particularly the U.S.- Iran row, over the phone, according to diplomatic sources.The phone conversation between Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu and Mohammad Javad Zarif came in the wake of the Iranian missile attack on the U.S. bases in Iraq, which Iran said was a response to the U.S. killing of the head of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ elite Quds Force, Qasem Soleimani, last week.Today’s attacks continued a series of tit-for-tat recriminations between the U.S. and Iranian-backed forces that began with the killing of an American contractor at a U.S. base in Iraq late last month.Khamenei says our military action against US 'not enough'Tensions soar as Iran strikes US targets in IraqThe death of Soleimani marked a dramatic escalation in tensions between the U.S. and Iran, which have often been at a fever pitch since President Donald Trump chose in 2018 to unilaterally withdraw Washington from a 2015 nuclear pact world powers struck with Tehran.Over the phone, Çavuşoğlu also conveyed his condolences to Zarif for those who lost their lives when a Ukrainian plane crashed early Wednesday in Iran immediately after takeoff.The crash killed all 167 passengers and nine crew members on board.Emirates, flydubai cancel flights to Iraq’s capital'Iran's response to any new US action to be proportional'Iraq says no casualties in Iran missile strikeIran says missile attacks on US targets were 'legitimate self-defense'
Tensions soar as Iran strikes US targets in Iraq
Seeking to retaliate against a U.S. drone strike killing its top military commander, Iran's elite Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) fired multiple missiles at two U.S. military bases in Iraq early on Wednesday.The U.S. Central Command admitted that 15 missiles had been fired at two targets, 10 of which struck the Ain al-Assad airbase and one Erbil, while four others failed. It denied reports of any casualties. The strikes came in the wake of the killing of General Qassem Soleimani, who headed the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps' (IRGC) Quds Force, and his close aides including the deputy head of Iraq's Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, outside Baghdad airport on Friday. Iraq's state-run Security Media Network said in a written statement that 22 missiles had fallen on Iraqi territory. "Seventeen of these rockets hit Ain Al-Assad airbase […] and five missiles fell on Erbil city," the network said.U.S. military and intelligence officials, according to Iranian authorities, were unable to track the launches as radar facilities had been destroyed in the attack.Though initial reports suggested that some Iraqis were killed in the attack, security officials in Baghdad told media that there had been no casualties among Iraqi forces.- Warning and preparationThe secretary of Iran's top security body, the Supreme National Security Council (SNSC), said on Tuesday that at least 13 scenarios for the "revenge" had been discussed in the council."The response is likely to be triggered by medium-range and long-range missiles," he asserted, adding that the 19 U.S. military bases surrounding Iran in the region could be potential targets.U.S. President Donald Trump took to Twitter following the attacks to announce "all is well"."Missiles launched from Iran at two military bases located in Iraq. 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! I will be making a statement tomorrow morning," he said.- Iran's missile mightWhile Iran's counterstrike was a foregone conclusion, experts say the U.S. underestimated Tehran's capability to inflict damage on its facilities in the region."They should have been more prepared and able to intercept the attacks, considering they have the most sophisticated technology in the world," said Humayun Rabiei, a defense analyst, adding that Iran had massively improved its missile defense power over the years.Defense experts told Anadolu Agency that Iran upgraded missiles with ranges of more than 1,930 kilometers (1,200 miles), encompassing all U.S. military bases in the region."If the U.S. decides to retaliate against the [Ain] al-Assad attack, Iran possesses the ability to launch a severe counterstrike that may target other U.S. bases, damage the assets of U.S. allies in the Persian Gulf, or attack Israel," said Rabiei.Iran's "vastly improved" missile technology, experts argue, "is a result of efforts launched more than a decade ago under the supervision of the country's supreme leader."Iran's missiles had previously been offshoots of Soviet-era Scud rockets used in the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s. After the war ended, Tehran focused on developing more sophisticated missile systems and enhancing older models, they note.These efforts and investments have resulted in multiple short, medium and long-range missiles, some of which were used in Wednesday's attack.Some of the weapons in defense circles include the short-range surface-to-surface Qiam and Fateh-110 missiles, as well as the anti-ship Nasr 1, medium-range Meshkat and air-launched Ya-Ali."While these missiles may not be able to reach the U.S. mainland from Iran, they can target U.S. facilities in the region," say analysts.They went on to note that "Tehran can also use proxies to target U.S. forces and their allies in the Middle East."- The way aheadPresident Trump will be issuing a statement on Wednesday to outline Washington's response to Iran's attacks.Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif has hinted that the operation was "over" for Iran. "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," he said on Twitter."We do not seek escalation or war, but will defend ourselves against any aggression," he added.The IRGC's official statement addressed to the people of the U.S., asking them to ensure American troops vacate their bases "in order to prevent more damage". "Do not let them to endanger the American troops' lives by participating in warmongering policies of the inhumane regime of America," read the statement.Iranian President Hasan Rouhani's senior advisor Hesameddin Ashena warned against "any adverse military action" by the U.S., saying it would be met by "all-out war across the region".Political commentator Sayed Mohammmad Marandi, who was part of the team that negotiated the 2015 nuclear deal, said "all U.S. troops should immediately leave the U.A.E., Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and other counties where U.S. bases are seen as a threat to Iran.""If the Trump regime makes a foolish move, these regimes will be held responsible," he concluded.
The missiles were launched from Iran and targeted at least two Iraqi military bases where U.S. military and coalition personnel are stationed in response to the killing of Iranian Gen. Qasem Soleimani.
Last Friday, Soleimani, the head of the IRGC's elite Quds Force, was killed in a U.S. drone strike in Baghdad.
His death marked a dramatic escalation in tensions between the U.S. and Iran, which have often been at a fever pitch since President Donald Trump chose in 2018 to unilaterally withdraw Washington from a 2015 nuclear pact the world powers struck with Tehran.
Khamenei, who bestowed the country's highest honor on Soleimani last year, had vowed "severe retaliation" in response to his killing.
Today’s attacks continued a series of tit-for-tat recriminations between the U.S. and Iranian-backed forces that began with the killing of an American contractor at a U.S. base in Iraq late last month.
Russia tells its air carriers to avoid flights over Iraq, Iran, Gulf and Gulf of Oman
The Russian Federal Air Transport Agency, Rosaviatsia, told Russian air carriers to avoid flights in the airspace of Iraq, Iran, the Gulf and the Gulf of Oman, Russian news agencies reported on Wednesday."Due to information on existing security risks for international civil aircraft flights, Rosaviatsia recommends until further notice not to use the airspace over the territories of Iran, Iraq, the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman for Russian civilian flights, including transit flights," RIA news agency quoted the Rosaviatsia statement as saying.
Iran oil minister says oil price hike benefits Tehran
Iran is benefiting from rising oil prices, Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh was quoted as saying by the semi-official ISNA news agency on Wednesday following Tehran's missile attacks on U.S. targets in Iraq."The trend of oil prices is up and this benefits Iran ... Americans should stop disturbing the region and let the people of the region live," Zanganeh said.
'Iran's response to any new US action to be proportional'
Iran's response to U.S. retaliation to Tehran's missile attacks on American targets in Iraq will be proportional, Iranian Defence Minister Amir Hatami told state television."We used short range missiles ... I hope this will be a memorable lesson for America," Hatami said in reference to Wednesday's Iranian strikes on U.S. targets that followed last week's killing of an Iranian commander in a U.S. drone strike."Iran's response (to any U.S. retaliation) will be proportional to what America will do," he said, adding that U.S. President Donald Trump "has turned the (U.S.) Administration into a terrorist government."