At least three Katyusha rockets landed within the highly fortified Green Zone in Baghdad, close to the US diplomatic mission on Sunday night. One of the rockets was, however, diverted by an anti-rocket system set up to defend the embassy.
On Wednesday, Trump warned that he would hold “Iran responsible” in the event of a fatal attack on Americans in Iraq.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif responded on Twitter, saying the US president’s blame game was meant to divert attention from his own failures at home.
Putting your own citizens at risk abroad won’t divert attention from catastrophic failures at home.
In your own words @realDonaldTrump: pic.twitter.com/kbtL8GWLHm— Javad Zarif (@JZarif) December 24, 2020
Zarif attached to his post Trump’s tweets between 2011 and 2013, in which he had accused then Democrat President Barack Obama of seeking to start a war with Iran prior to the election.
He also published a chart showing that of the 20 days with the most deaths from a catastrophic event in the US over the past century, 17 have occurred this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
On December 16, the US reported 3,448 COVID-19 deaths — the most of any day of the outbreak so far. It was more than the 2,977 people killed on 9/11 attacks.
In his tweet, Trump said, “Our embassy in Baghdad got hit Sunday by several rockets. Three rockets failed to launch. Guess where they were from: IRAN. Now we hear chatter of additional attacks against Americans in Iraq. Some friendly health advice to Iran: If one American is killed, I will hold Iran responsible. Think it over.”
It followed a similar tweet by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, in which he had pinned the blame on Iran for the rocket strike.
Also on Thursday, Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh advised Trump to avoid any tension and “dangerous adventurism” in his final days in office, saying the Islamic Republic holds the US government responsible for the consequences of any “unwise action.”
“Such repetitive, baseless, and fabricated allegations in the form of conventional White House blame games are meant to cast a shadow on Trump’s difficult situation,” he underlined.
“As we have repeatedly said, attacks on diplomatic and residential buildings are rejected, and in this particular case, the finger of blame is being pointed at the United States itself and its partners and allies in the region, who are seeking to increase tensions and create new seditions.”
The US embassy in Iraq has been targeted several times this year, amid heightened anti-American sentiments in the Arab country in the aftermath of the US assassination of Iran’s anti-terror commander Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani, and the deputy head of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Units, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, in Baghdad on January 3.
Just two days after the assassination, Iraqi lawmakers unanimously passed a bill mandating the expulsion of all foreign troops from the country.
Iraqi resistance groups have vowed to avenge the targeted killings, but denied any role in the growing rocket attacks on foreign missions.