Iran was not seeking war but remained unafraid of any potential future conflict, a top Iranian commander said on Thursday, after U.S. President Donald Trump said Tehran orchestrated anti-U.S. protests in Iraq.
The U.S. Embassy in Iraq is, & has been for hours, SAFE! Many of our great Warfighters, together with the most lethal military equipment in the world, was immediately rushed to the site. Thank you to the President & Prime Minister of Iraq for their rapid response upon request….
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 31, 2019
Iran has rejected the accusation while demanding in future the U.S. address the country “correctly.”
“We are not leading the country to war, but we are not afraid of any war and we tell America to speak correctly with the Iranian nation. We have the power to break them several times over and are not worried,” Revolutionary Guards Commander Brigadier General Hossein Salami was quoted by local Tasnim news agency as saying.
Iran’s Army chief Major General Abdolrahim Mousavi joined in the show of defiance, saying his forces were ready to confront the “enemy”.
“Our armed forces … monitor all moves, and if anyone makes the slightest mistake, they will decisively react, and if the situation heats up, we will show our abilities to the enemy,” Mousavi was quoted as saying by state broadcaster IRIB.
The Iran-backed militiamen began retreating from the area on Wednesday following the threat from President Donald Trump to hold Tehran accountable for the siege.
“Supporters of the Kataib Hezbollah militia who had spent the night camped outside the embassy began dismantling their tents and leaving the area, saying they had won a victory and would now seek the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq through the nation’s parliament,” the Washington Post reports.
Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei meanwhile condemned U.S. attacks on Iranian-allied militias in Iraq, blaming the United States for regional violence.
Iran protested on Wednesday to a Swiss envoy, who represents U.S. interests in Tehran, over what it called “warmongering statements” by American officials.