Rocket attack on U.S. embassy in Baghdad ‘unacceptable,’ Iran says

December 21, 2020 - 15:19

TEHRAN – Saeed Khatibzadeh, spokesman for Iran’s Foreign Ministry, has called a rocket attack on the United States embassy in Iraq “unacceptable” and “dubious”.

Speaking at a weekly press conference on Monday, Khatibzadeh said, “Unfortunately, Iran’s diplomatic places in Iraq had also been attacked. We had pursued a steady policy that targeting diplomatic missions and residential areas is unacceptable.”

He added, “But the kind and timing of this attack [on the U.S. embassy], as well as the statement issued by the U.S. secretary of state, show that [the attack] is very dubious. Its timing is dubious. And more importantly, it seems that as if they had already prepared a statement to publish. And I strongly condemn the remarks of the U.S. regime’s secretary of state, who is known for his lies and cheating, whether in his current capacity or in his previous capacity as the CIA director. Therefore, I firmly and strongly condemn the remarks by the U.S. secretary of state.”

“The kind and timing of this attack [on the U.S. embassy], as well as the statement issued by the U.S. secretary of state, show that [the attack] is very dubious. Its timing is dubious. And more importantly, it seems that as if they had already prepared a statement to publish.”Khatibzadeh said he is sure that the Iraqi government will find those behind the attack.

The spokesman also warned the U.S. against warmongering and escalating tensions.

After weeks of relative de-escalation, the U.S. embassy in Baghdad came under rocket attacks on Sunday night. According to Iraqi press reports, at least 23 rockets landed in the Green Zone of Baghdad, a heavily fortified district in which the U.S. embassy and other government buildings are located.

The U.S. embassy’s C-RAM defense system was activated to intercept the rockets, the embassy said in a statement.

“The U.S. embassy confirms rockets targeting the International Zone (Green Zone) resulted in the engagement of embassy defensive systems,” the statement said, adding that the rockets have inflicted only minor damages to the embassy compound.

The statement added, “We call on all Iraqi political and governmental leaders to take steps to prevent such attacks and hold accountable those responsible.”

Videos circulating on social media showed the C-RAM system firing a barrage of projectiles into the dark sky in a bid to intercept the rockets, a move that caused a state of panic and fear among Baghdad residents.

“Everyone is screaming and crying. My wife is losing it from all the terrifying sounds,” a local Iraqi man, whose house was hit, told AFP.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was quick to point the finger at Iran, accusing what he described as “Iran-backed militias” of attacking the embassy.

“Iran-backed militias once again flagrantly and recklessly attacked in Baghdad, wounding Iraqi civilians. The people of Iraq deserve to have these attackers prosecuted. These violent and corrupt criminals must cease their destabilizing actions,” Pompeo said in a tweet.

Iraqi resistance groups, however, denied any involvement in the attack. They even condemned it.

Kataeb Hezbollah, a group that the U.S. often blames for such attacks, issued an online statement denouncing the attack as “out of order”.

“Bombing the embassy of evil (U.S. embassy) at this time is considered out of order,” the group said, while also condemning the U.S. embassy’s use of the C-RAM system.

The Iraqi military said that “an outlawed group” was behind the attack but it did not name this group.

SM/PA
 


 

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