Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has called the overnight missile attacks on US airbases in Iraq a "slap" in America's face, while commenting on the Islamic Republic's prompt response to the killing of the country's top-ranking Quds Force General Qasem Soleimani late last week by the US.
He lambasted the US presence in the region at large as "a source of corruption" arguing the American forces should leave the Middle East.
They were slapped last night, but such military actions are not enough. #AlAssadBase— Khamenei.ir (@khamenei_ir) January 8, 2020
Khamenei specifically brought up the topic of resuming nuclear talks with Tehran's "enemy" the US, thundering that there is no way this could be done as it would otherwise "pave the way for US dominance". He stressed that among the Islamic Republic's foes are the US, Israel, and the "arrogant system" - an apparent reference to the West in general.
Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif echoed the stance, arguing the US assessment of Tehran's missile attacks should not be based on "illusions" as they were carried out in "legitimate self-defence".
Iran Has '100 Targets in Sight'
The Iranian Army has insisted the US must withdraw its troops from the Middle East, the national broadcaster reported citing an informed source. It went on to specify that none of Tehran's missiles aimed at US targets in Iraq were intercepted, but that the strike had killed 80 people.
The same TV report put the number of missiles launched at 15, stating they "severely damaged" US helicopters and other military equipment. According to state TV, Iran has 100 other targets "in sight" in case the US goes ahead with retaliatory measures.
Iranian Government Spokesman Ali Rabiei said on Twitter referring to the operation:
"We thank the Revolutionary Guards' successful operation ... We have never wanted war but any aggression will receive a crushing response", Ali Rabiei posted.
There is no official data on US losses in the strike, with Trump promising to make a statement on Wednesday morning local time. Meanwhile, Iraq's military has said that no casualties were recorded among the country’s forces from the 22 projectiles launched on the Ayn al-Asad Air Base, housing US troops, in the western province of Anbar and a base in Erbil.
'Iran Didn't Go beyond What Was Expected' From It, Academic Says
According to Foad Izadi, professor of political communication at the University of Tehran, Iran has responded in kind to “the illegal attack of the United States” saying the Islamic Republic has acted in self-defence, under the UN Charter.
“Mr Trump needed to get a lesson, he is out of control and it was up to Iran to teach him a lesson", Izadi contended stressing Iran doesn’t itself seek military confrontation with America, but will defend itself in line with what Iranian leaders have promised.
“The response will be proportionate to what the US has done. If the US attacks Iran again, Iran will respond again", the academic noted.
He pointed out he was surprised to see people “cheering on the streets” after Iran’s response to the US drone attack on Soleimani, suggesting the public realises well enough that a “criminal” should be countered and taken to task.
“A lot of people wanted to see this and this is what they've got", he said assuming a lot of people all over the world may be likewise celebrating.
“If there is no punishment for illegal actions and criminal behaviour, then the criminal will repeat that type of behaviour again", Izadi pointed out. He stressed the international reaction should be positive citing Iran’s “very proportional response” to the “illegal killing of the Iranian general".
“Iran did not go beyond what was expected to be done. This is what a lot of people expected, that is what a lot of people were telling President Trump - that if he attacks Iran, he will get a response from Iran", the professor said.