Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Wednesday said that “Iran slapped American on the face last night” by launching at least 15 missiles at US forces in Iraq following the killing of top Iranian general Qasem Soleimani in Baghdad last week.
In a televised speech addressing the nation after Tehran targeted two US military bases in Iraq, Khamenei said, “Military action like this is not sufficient. What is important is ending the corrupting presence of America in the region.”
He added that Tehran views Washington as its enemy.
Separately, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani warned the US, saying it may have “cut off [Qassem] Soleimani’s hand from his body, [but] your foot will be cut from the region,” according to Fars news agency.
Iran missiles target US forces in Iraq
Iran had on Wednesday fired a battery of surface-to-surface missiles at Iraqi bases used by the US military, officials in Washington and Tehran said, in the first act of the Islamic republic’s promised revenge for the US killing of a top Iranian general.
Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman said the bases targeted were al-Asad air base and another facility in Erbil, Iraq.
“It is clear that these missiles were launched from Iran and targeted at least two Iraqi military bases hosting US military and coalition personnel at Al-Assad and Irbil,” the Pentagon said.
There were no immediate reports on casualties, however, Iranian news network Press Tv had later reported at least 80 people had been killed in the missile attacks.
The militarily in Baghdad said there were no Iraqi casualties in the overnight attack.
The statement made no mention of Iran, which claimed that it had fired ballistic missiles at the Ain al-Asad airbase in retaliation for the US killing of a top Iranian general.
“There were no victims among the Iraqi forces,” it added, but did not mention whether or not there were casualties among foreign troops.
The official also said there were no casualties in Arbil.
Germany, Denmark, Norway and Poland said none of their troops in Iraq were hurt. Britain, which also has personnel in Iraq, condemned the Iranian action. Iraq said its forces did not suffer casualties.
All is well: Trump
US President Donald Trump said an assessment of casualties and damage from the strikes was under way and that he would make a statement on Wednesday morning.
“All is well!,” Trump said Twitter. “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.”
Trump’s statement came after Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said that Iran had taken measures in self defense under Article 51 of the UN Charter. Zarif cautioned that Iran did not seek escalation or war, but would defend itself against aggression.
“We do not seek escalation or war, but will defend ourselves against any aggression,” he wrote in a post on Twitter.