Tehran: A day after US President Joe Biden vowed to take “revenge” following a deadly attack on American troops in Jordan, Iran, on Wednesday, threatened to “decisively respond” to any US attack on the Islamic Republic. Earlier, Biden linked Tehran to the killing of three US soldiers at a military base in Jordan. The US has signalled it is preparing for retaliatory strikes in the Mideast in the wake of the Sunday drone attack that also injured at least 40 troops at Tower 22, a secretive base in northeastern Jordan that’s been crucial to the American presence in neighbouring Syria.
However, concerns remain that any additional American strikes could further inflame a region already roiled by Israel’s ongoing war on Hamas in the Gaza Strip and the ongoing attacks by Yemen’s Houthi rebels on shipping in the Red Sea. A US Navy destroyer in the waterway shot down an anti-ship cruise missile launched by the Houthis late Tuesday, the latest attack targeting American forces patrolling the key maritime trade route, officials said.
Iran’s ambassador to the United Nations warns US
The Iranian warnings first came from Amir Saeid Iravani, Iran’s ambassador to the United Nations in New York. He gave a briefing to Iranian journalists late Tuesday, according to the state-run IRNA news agency. “The Islamic Republic would decisively respond to any attack on the country, its interests and nationals under any pretexts,” IRNA quoted Iravani as saying. He described any possible Iranian retaliation as a “strong response,” without elaborating.
Iravani also denied that Iran and the US had exchanged any messages over the last few days, either through intermediaries or directly. The pan-Arab satellite channel Al Jazeera, which is based in and funded by Qatar, reported earlier that messages were exchanged between the countries. Qatar often serves as an intermediary between Washington and Tehran.
“No communication between US and Iran”
“Such messages have not been exchanged,” Iravani said. But Iran’s government has taken note of the US threats of retaliation for the attack on the base in Jordan. “Sometimes, our enemies raise the threat and nowadays we hear some threats in between words by American officials,” Revolutionary Guard commander General Hossein Salami, who answers only to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said at an event Wednesday.
“We tell them that you have experienced us and we know each other. We do not leave any threat without an answer.” “We are not after war, but we have no fear of war,” he added, according to IRNA.
On Saturday, a general in charge of Iran’s air defences described them as being at their “highest defensive readiness.” That raises concerns for commercial aviation travelling through and over Iran as well. After a US drone strike killed a top general in 2020, Iranian air defences mistakenly shot down a Ukrainian passenger plane, killing all 176 people on board.
(With inputs from agency)