18:13 GMT25 January 2021
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    US President Donald Trump yet again pointed the finger at Tehran over the 20 December rocket attack on the US Embassy in Baghdad, tweeting on Wednesday that he would “hold Iran responsible” in the case of any subsequent assaults resulting in the death of even one American.

    Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif offered a swift response on Thursday to Donald Trump’s tweeted warning to Tehran over its purported role in the recent rocket attack on the US embassy in Iraq.

    ​Zarif posted a message addressed to the sitting American president, urging him to take stock of “catastrophic failures at home”, instead of issuing threats to foreign countries and placing his own citizens abroad “at risk”.

    The post was accompanied by an image of a recently-published chart that summarises the 20 days in the past 100 years with the most American deaths from a natural disaster, war, or pandemic.

    According to it, the Pearl Harbor attack had made the top 20 until 16 December, when the US registered 3,448 coronavirus-related deaths — the most of any day of the pandemic so far.

    The death toll tops the 2,977 people killed in the 9/11 attacks, as well as the number of victims of the 1928 Okeechobee hurricane, one of the country’s deadliest natural disasters.

    In the Twitter post, Zarif also called out Donald Trump for hypocrisy, reposting images of the latter’s throw-back tweets dating to 2011, 2012 where he claimed that Barack Obama would target the Middle Eastern country to boost his popularity at home and “save face’.

    Trump Vows to ‘Hold Iran Responsible’

    The retaliatory tweet by the Iranian Foreign Minister came after US President Donald Trump claimed on Wednesday that Tehran was responsible for the attack on the US Embassy in Baghdad on 20 December.

    ​As he purported that there was a “chatter of additional attacks” targeting Americans in Iraq, he tweeted a threat to “hold Iran responsible” if any of his fellow citizens died in the potential assaults.

    ​The message, which urged Iran to “think it over” before taking any actions against the US, came with am accompanying photo of three small rockets that the sitting president claimed had failed to launch.

    The claim echoes a similar one levelled against Iran in June 2019, when a US drone was shot down over Yemen. An image had also been presented as evidence that the Houthis were being armed by Iran.

    Protesters chant slogans and hold up posters of Gen. Qassem Soleimani during a demonstration in front of the British Embassy in Tehran, Iran, Sunday, Jan. 12, 2020
    © AP Photo / Ebrahim Noroozi
    Protesters chant slogans and hold up posters of Gen. Qassem Soleimani during a demonstration in front of the British Embassy in Tehran, Iran, Sunday, Jan. 12, 2020

    Subsequently, the claim was used by Washington to ramp up attacks against Tehran. After designating the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) a terrorist organisation, the US assassinating one of its leaders, Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani, who commanded the IRGC’s elite Quds Force.

    Tehran responded at the time by bombing a pair of US bases in Iraq, injuring over 100 soldiers, and has since issued threats of more attacks.

    Washington Mulling ‘Range of Options’

    A volley of rockets hit the US embassy in Baghdad’s heavily fortified Green Zone on Sunday amid heightened concerns at the White House over possible retaliatory actions by Iranian-backed forces in Iraq ahead of the anniversary of the US assassination of Qasem Soleimani on 3 January.

    Pro-government protesters set fire to U.S. and British flags with a life size cut-out of Britain's ambassador to Tehran Rob Macaire, in a gathering to commemorate the late Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani, who was killed in Iraq in a U.S. drone attack on Jan. 3, and victims of last week's Ukrainian plane crash outside Tehran, at the Tehran University campus in Tehran, Iran, Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2020
    © AP Photo / Vahid Salemi
    Pro-government protesters set fire to U.S. and British flags with a life size cut-out of Britain's ambassador to Tehran Rob Macaire, in a gathering to commemorate the late Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani, who was killed in Iraq in a U.S. drone attack on Jan. 3, and victims of last week's Ukrainian plane crash outside Tehran, at the Tehran University campus in Tehran, Iran, Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2020

    An Iraqi military statement in the wake of the attack said an “an outlawed group” had launched eight rockets targeting the Green Zone, leaving one Iraqi security officer injured and damaging cars and a residential complex.

    A “range of options” to be undertaken by the US President were mulled at a meeting on 23 December by Acting Defense Secretary Chris Miller, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien, reported Reuters.

    According to a quoted official, they were “designed to be non-escalatory and to deter further attack.” He added that under consideration was a “set of options that we could present to the President to make sure that we deter the Iranians and Shia militias in Iraq from conducting attacks on our personnel.”

    Washington immediately placed the blame for the attack on the Iranian-backed militia.

    “The United States will hold Iran accountable for the deaths of any Americans that result from the work of these Iranian-backed rogue militia groups,” said US Central Command spokesman Navy Captain Bill Urban.

    On Tuesday Axios had reported, citing sources, that the Trump administration was considering closing the US embassy in Baghdad ahead of a response to the attack.

    On 21 December the American Navy confirmed that the USS Georgia nuclear attack submarine, equipped with 154 Tomahawk cruise missiles, had passed through the Strait of Hormuz and entered the Persian Gulf.

    Israeli media then reported that an Israeli Navy submarine had visibly crossed the Suez Canal in what was dubbed a ‘show of force’ aimed at Iran.

    ‘Blatantly Creating Tension’

    Iran has vehemently rejected the allegations of complicity in the attack on the American embassy compound on 20 December.

    ​As he tweeted on 21 December to denounce the latest rocket attack, Iran Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh refuted US accusations “which blatantly aim to create tension”.

    Related:

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    US Defense Chiefs to Give Trump Response Options to Iran After Baghdad Embassy Attack - Report
    US General Sees ‘Heightened Risk’ From Iran as One Year Anniversary of Soleimani Killing Approaches
    Trump Threatens Iran, Tweets Rocket Photos Claiming to Prove Complicity in Baghdad Embassy Attack
    ‘Crazy’ Trump Will Suffer Similar Fate as Executed Iraqi Leader Saddam Hussein, Says Iran’s Rouhani
    Tags:
    General Soleimani, Qasem Soleimani, Barack Obama, Donald Trump, Baghdad, Mohammad Javad Zarif, Javad Zarif, iran, Iran
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