Iran has warned the Trump administration that the US is pushing the Middle East to disaster amid the coronavirus pandemic after reports emerged that American Patriot air defence missiles were deployed in Iraq.
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One of the Patriot batteries was stationed to the Ain al-Asad base recently and was being assembled, according to AFP quoting a US defence officials. The base was targeted by Iran in January after a US strike killed General Qassem Soleimani.
On Wednesday, US President Donald Trump claimed that Iran was about to launch an attack on US troops or American “assets” in Iraq, waring, “If this happens, Iran will pay a very heavy price, indeed.”
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The chairman of the Chiefs of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces warned the US and said that Tehran will give a severe response to the US if it does anything to threaten the security of the country.
“If [the US] take the smallest step against the security of our country, they will be faced with the most severe reaction,” Major General Mohammad Baqeri said on Thursday in allusion to recent steps taken by the US military in neighbouring Iraq, which have been seen by many experts as a prelude to a possible US attack on Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) in the Arab country – PressTV.
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The US deployment Patriot it defence systems aims to “counter to the official position of the Iraqi government, parliament and people”, a foreign ministry statement said. It called for a pause to “warmongering during the coronavirus outbreak” and warned US military actions in the region could lead it to “instability and disaster”.
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US forces should “respect the aspirations of the Iraqi people and government and leave the country”, the Iranian foreign ministry added. “The US is moving defensive systems into Iraq to protect Iraqi, coalition, and US service members from a variety of air threats seen at Iraqi bases that host coalition troops,” Pentagon spokesperson Sean Robertson told Al Jazeera.
Earlier, as EurAsian Times had reported, the United States is in the process of deploying anti-aircraft defence systems in Iraq to “protect the US forces in the event of a potential Iranian attack.” The head of the Central Command of the US Armed Forces (CENTCOM), General Kenneth Mckenzie, said this on March 10 during a hearing in the Committee on Armed Forces of the House of Representatives of the US Congress.
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Earlier this year, the Pentagon announced that it was trying to obtain permission from Iraq to import Patriot air defence systems into this Arab country “to better protect US troops after Iran’s missile strike on January 8th.”