A top Iranian general revealed a plan to strike 400 U.S. targets if the United States had responded to a January missile attack on an Iraq airbase.
“The day we attacked Ain al-Asad, we thought the U.S. forces would respond after 20 minutes, so we were ready to attack 400 American targets,” Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh told Iranian state media Mehr News last week.
“Our plan was to attack 400 U.S. targets if they responded,” he said. However, he didn’t reveal any of the targets.
On Jan. 7, Iran launched about two dozen rockets at the al-Asad airbase in Iraq, causing minor injuries to more than 100 American troops housed there. Iran later confirmed it was behind the attack, although the regime two weeks later admitted it fired two missiles and downed a Ukrainian Airlines plane, killing more than 150 people, on the same night it launched the barrage of missiles into Iraq.
The regime said the missiles were launched after the United States killed Quds Force commander Qassem Soleimani near Baghdad. Top Pentagon officials, describing him as a terrorist, said he was behind a number of recent attacks on U.S. assets in the region and was plotting new ones.
Days before that, Iranian-backed militia groups attempted to storm the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad and attempted to light it on fire.
“By assassinating Lt. Gen. Soleimani, [the United States] wanted to show that they killed a symbol of Resistance, and they were sure that Iran would not respond to their attack,” Hajizadeh also told state media. “But we responded to them by an attack on Ain al-Asad base in Iraq.”
Since January’s attack, Iran-backed Iraqi militia groups have sporadically fired rockets at military bases in Iraq housing U.S. troops.
“I have to say that the obstacles have been removed from our path and from now on we will move faster,” Haijzadeh noted.
Another Iranian commander, Maj. Gen. Hossein Salami of the Revolutionary Guards, threatened to attack any U.S. warship that it believes is a threat to an Iranian vessel or its military.
“We have also ordered our military units at sea that if a vessel or military unit of the navy of the U.S.’s terrorist military seeks to threaten the security of our civilian ships or combat vessels, they should target that (enemy) vessel or military unit,” he told state-run media last week, adding that “we are fully determined and serious in defending our national security, maritime borders, maritime interests, maritime security, and security of our forces at sea.”