Iran has confirmed that it fired 12 missiles last Saturday that struck near the new U.S consulate facility in Erbil in northwestern Iraq.
The confirmation of Iran’s responsibility was announced by the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), which said the attack was in response to “recent crimes of the fake Zionist regime.” The IRGC statement said that the missiles were sent against the “Strategic Center of Conspiracy and Evil of the Zionists.”
Iran had been threatening for several days to retaliate for the death of two IRGC officers in an airstrike in Syria last week allegedly conducted by Israeli forces. Iraqi and American officials denied there were any injuries as a result of the missile attack, but a media outlet in Lebanon claimed that multiple casualties were reported.
White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said Sunday during an appearance on Face the Nation that the U.S. is still gathering information about the attack and its intended target. He added that no U.S. facilities were damaged and said the country would do “whatever it takes” to defend our people and interests as well as our allies.
Also on Sunday, the U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Matthew Tueller condemned the Iranian attack and said Iran must be held accountable for “terrorist attacks on the property of innocent civilians.”
State Department spokesperson Ned Price said Sunday that there were “no indications” that the attacks were directed at the American consulate. He did say that Iran “must immediately cease” attacks and interference inside Iraq.
Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi reacted to the attack by saying it spread fear in the city of Erbil and that his nation’s security forces would investigate and “stand firm” against threats to the Iraqi people.
The attack came as negotiations between the U.S. and Iran for a new nuclear deal in Vienna have stalled out. EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell has been involved in the talks and said last Friday that the process needs a “pause” because of external factors. Iran appears to continue to insist on the complete removal of U.S. sanctions against its government and industries.