- Iran – US tensions are at an all-time high.
- The US military has signaled readiness to counter Iranian aggressions.
- The US military is expecting retaliation for Major General Qasem Soleimani’s death earlier this year.
Iran has denied allegations that it was involved in last week’s US Embassy attack in Bagdad in which 21 rockets were fired. The attack led to one Iraqi casualty. A building in Baghdad’s Green Zone was also damaged during the attack. In the aftermath, US President Donald Trump issued a warning to Tehran cautioning that if one America gets killed, there will be a huge price to pay.
“Some friendly health advice to Iran: If one American is killed, I will hold Iran responsible. Think it over,” he said.
Following these remarks, Tehran has accused the US government of trying to inflame tensions at a crucial time for the two nations. The US has over the past month sent B-52 bombers to the Persian Gulf as a show of force aimed at deterring Iranian aggressions.
The move was also seen as preparation for a counter-attack by Iran in retaliation for the recent high-profile killings. The anniversary of Major General Qasem Soleimani’s slaying is also drawing near and this has raised volatility alert levels in the region.
Ali Shamkhani, the secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, has accused the US government of creating insecurity in the Gulf region by sending military hardware.
An Iranian Proxy Group Involved
In regard to the recent Baghdad embassy bomb attack, US military officials have said that a rogue Iranian proxy group is most likely responsible. According to Central Command Spokesman Navy Captain William Urban, the faction most likely made the move without consent from Iran. It, however, received funding from Iran.
“These groups are Iranian-backed because Iran provides both material support and direction. They are rogue because they are actually acting on behalf of Iranian interests and direction in a direct betrayal of Iraqi sovereignty,” he said.
Israel is believed to have a hand in the most recent escalation of tensions between Iran and the US. Iranian officials have blamed Jerusalem for assassinating Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, a senior nuclear scientist in a suburb in Tehran.
Initially, there were numerous conflicting accounts about how the execution was carried out.
Iran’s defense ministry first reported that a gunfight broke out between Mohsen’s bodyguards and a group of assassins.
Some witness reports also claimed that three to four men attacked his convoy. Admiral Shamkhani, the head of the Supreme National Security Council, however, said that the attack was carried out ‘remotely’ using ‘special methods’. As such, there were no gunmen at the scene.
He revealed that Iranian intelligence agencies were at the time aware of a plot to take out the scientist.
He suggested that Mujahideen-e Khalq, an exiled Iranian opposition group or Israeli operatives were involved.
Israel’s Intelligence Minister, Eli Cohen, has refuted claims about Israel’s involvement and said that he had no idea who carried out the attack.