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US warns Iran it will respond to attacks by Tehran allies in Iraq

Iran says US blame over Iraq protests ‘astonishing’

Gulf News

Washington/Tehran (Reuters & AFP): The United States warned Iran on Tuesday it will “respond swiftly and decisively” to any attacks by Tehran’s allies in Iraq that result in injury to Americans or damage to US facilities.

The statement by the White House press secretary accused Iran of not preventing attacks in recent days on the US

Consulate in Basra and the American Embassy compound in Baghdad.

“Iran did not act to stop these attacks by its proxies in Iraq, which it has supported with funding, training, and weapons,” the statement said.

“The United States will hold the regime in Tehran accountable for any attack that results in injury to our personnel or damage to United States Government facilities.

America will respond swiftly and decisively in defence of American lives,” the statement said.

Iran described as “astonishing” Wednesday US accusations that its allies in Iraq were responsible for attacks on US diplomatic missions.

Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Bahram Ghasemi blamed the unrest on US support for “groups which have spread and promoted violence and extremism”.

“The US government must be held accountable for its years of support for these groups,” Ghasemi told the semi-official ISNA news agency.

“America should know that by playing such clumsy blame games, it cannot cover up the consequences of its wrong, fruitless and destabilising policies in the region.

“Issuing such statements lacks credibility, and is astonishing, provocative and irresponsible.

On Friday, three mortar bombs landed inside Baghdad’s heavily fortified Green Zone, where the US Embassy is located, but they caused no casualties or damage, the Iraqi military said.

The mortar attack was the first such one in several years on the Green Zone, which houses parliament, government buildings and many foreign embassies.

The US Consulate in Basra is near the airport, which was attacked by rockets on Saturday. No damage or casualties were reported.

Protesters in Basra angry over political corruption ransacked and torched Iraqi government buildings last week. The Iranian consulate was set alight by demonstrators shouting condemnation of what many see as Iran’s sway over Iraq’s affairs.

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