14:31 GMT19 February 2020
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    Tensions in the Middle East significantly escalated after the United States killed top Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani and Iran responded with missile attacks on two bases in Iraq hosting US forces.

    Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei said that Iran should become strong enough to confront enemy plots, Iranian state media reported on Saturday.

    "We should become so strong to be able to put an end to our enemies' plots ... their plots against the Iranian nation are doomed to fail,"

    Khamenei said as quoted by state news agency IRNA.

    He also raised the issue of sanctions, which were introduced by the United States in January amid Iran's ballistic missile strikes on Iraqi military bases housing US troops, saying that Iran has a very strong Air Force despite the limitations imposed on it by the United States.

    "Since the revolution their aim was to stop us from having a strong air force ... but look at us now. We even build planes. We have transformed their pressure to opportunity," Khamenei said.

    He added that the US sanctions against Iran are a criminal act.

    Iran and US Tensions Escalation 

    The first week of January saw a drastic spike in tensions between the United States and Iran when US President Donald Trump ordered the assassination of Iran’s elite Quds Force Commander Qasem Soleimani.

    The Iranian missile strikes on two bases hosting American soldiers came in retaliation for a drone attack on 3 January that killed a top Iranian military commander.

    The missiles struck the US section of the base, which is shared with Iraqi forces and sits about equidistant between Baghdad and Iraq’s western border with Syria.

    Sixty four US service members have been diagnosed with concussions and traumatic brain injuries after Iran fired missiles on two bases in Iraq.

    Tehran, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran, United States
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