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‘Very Capable Enemy’: US Mulls Deploying Missile Defenses to Middle East After Iranian Strikes

© US Army/Spc. Derek MustardMedia outlets visit one of the many impact sites created by the recent missile attacks at Al Asad Air Base, Iraq, Jan. 13, 202
Media outlets visit one of the many impact sites created by the recent missile attacks at Al Asad Air Base, Iraq, Jan. 13, 202 - Sputnik International
The US Army is now considering the delivery of missile defense systems and other capabilities to the Middle East in an effort to combat potential missile strikes by Iranian forces following the Islamic Revolutionary Guard’s (IRGC) January 8 attack on US bases in Iraq.

Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy revealed Wednesday that Iran’s “Operation Martyr Soleimani,” which consisted of strikes on Ayn al-Asad Air Base in western Iraq and another airbase to the north in Erbil, has triggered the US to go on the defensive.

"They are a very capable enemy; they have capabilities that can strike and hit Americans, so we are looking at additional capabilities that we could send to the region," the Army’s top civilian told reporters Wednesday at a Defense Writers Group breakfast in Washington, DC, as reported by Military.com.

Though he did not go into detail about what the “capabilities” up for consideration included, he did tell attendees "it could be a variety of enablers like missile defense, so we are looking at that."

McCarthy’s announcement comes on the heels of the UK, France and Germany triggering a dispute clause of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) against Iran on Tuesday in response to the country’s alleged violation of nuclear provisions laid out in agreement.

“Our three countries are not joining a campaign to implement maximum pressure against Iran,” the joint statement read. “Our hope is to bring Iran back into full compliance with its commitments under the JCPOA.”

"Today, the American soldier is in danger; tomorrow the European soldier could be in danger," Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said during a televised Cabinet meeting on Wednesday, reported the Associated Press. He did not further elaborate on the matter, but many Western outlets have perceived his statements as a threat to European troops in the Middle East.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov directly slammed the three nations’ joint statement on Wednesday, calling it a “a destructive step that dramatically reduces chances to preserve the JCPOA.”

Likewise, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif accused the UK, France and Germany of selling out to appease Washington and avoid new tariffs threatened by US President Donald Trump.

“It won't work my friends. You only whet his appetite. Remember your high school bully?” he said on social media. “If you want to sell your integrity, go ahead. But DO NOT assume high moral/legal ground.”

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