By Erdogan Cagatay Zontur
ANKARA (AA) - Iran defended its missile attacks early Wednesday targeting bases in Iraq hosting U.S. forces, saying they were in “self-defense”.
“Iran took & concluded proportionate measures in self-defense under Article 51 of UN Charter targeting base from which cowardly armed attack against our citizens & senior officials were launched,” Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said in a Twitter post.
“We do not seek escalation or war, but will defend ourselves against any aggression,” Zarif added.
"In Operation Martyr Soleimani in the early hours of Wednesday, tens of ground-to-ground missiles were fired at the U.S. base and successfully pounded Ain al-Asad Base," Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) said in an official statement.
It said the shelling “is merely the beginning of a series of revenge attacks with no deadline for when it ends," it said.
"We warn all allied countries of the U.S. that if attacks are launched from bases in their countries on Iran, they will be a target of military retaliation," it added.
A second wave of missile attacks against American forces in Iraq has begun, Iran’s Tasnim News Agency announced.
The IRGC warned on their Telegram channel that in the event that Iranian soil is bombed, they would launch a third wave of attacks to destroy Dubai and Haifa.
Meanwhile, Iranian military sources claimed that at least 30 U.S. soldiers in Iraq had been wounded in the attacks.
Tasnim also reported that Hezbollah has threatened to strike Israel if the U.S. retaliates against Iran, while Iraq's Hashd al-Shaabi group, or Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), said they have launched their own retaliation attacks against U.S. bases.
Iran's Fars news agency called the firing of the missiles at Ain al-Asad airbase a "hard revenge" in a Twitter post.
The Pentagon confirmed that the attacks occurred at approximately 5:30 p.m. (EST) on Tuesday, with Iran launching more than a dozen ballistic missiles against U.S. military and coalition forces in Iraq.
President Donald Trump said he will be making a statement early Wednesday after Iranian missiles hit Iraqi military bases hosting U.S. troops, adding "all is well".
"All is well! Missiles launched from Iran at two military bases located in Iraq. Assessment of casualties & damages taking place now. So far, so good! We have the most powerful and well equipped military anywhere in the world, by far!
Qassem Soleimani, the head of the IRGC's elite Quds Force, was killed in a U.S. drone strike outside Baghdad International Airport early Friday.
His death marked a dramatic escalation in tensions between the U.S. and Iran, which have often been at a fever pitch since President Donald Trump chose in 2018 to unilaterally withdraw Washington from a 2015 nuclear pact world powers struck with Tehran.
Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, who bestowed the country's highest honor on Soleimani last year, vowed "severe retaliation" in response to his killing.