Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani said his regime would be prepared to retaliate against the United States if they “commit another crime,” delivering the remarks during a meeting after President Donald Trump called for a de-escalation hours after Tehran fired missiles at American forces in Iraq.
“No matter how much [America] threatens us, she must know that we will act decisively as we have already shown,” he said during a cabinet meeting, adding that American forces “will receive a stronger reaction,” according to CNN.
The Iranian leader also said the United States shouldn’t blame Iran for problems in the region.
“If they (the United States) find that they have a problem anywhere in the world, do not say it was ordered by Iran,” Rouhani said. “If tomorrow something in another country happens, Americans would say this is the action of proxy forces of Iran. We do not have any proxy forces. From the beginning, Americans had it wrong. The people of the region are aware, free and act on their own. They are not under our control or order.”
On Tuesday night, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said Iran had “concluded” its retaliatory, “self-defense” attacks against the United States after a White House-authorized strike to kill Iranian General Qassem Soleimani last week.
“We do not seek escalation or war, but will defend ourselves against any aggression,” he wrote on Twitter.
Trump, in addressing the nation, said no deaths or injuries were caused by the Iranian missile strikes on two Iraqi bases. He said there would be no military reprisal for the attack but said “powerful sanctions” would be placed on Iran.
“Iran must abandon its nuclear ambitions and end its support for terrorism,” he said. NATO should also get more involved in the Middle East, and the countries that signed onto the 2015 deal to curb Iran’s nuclear program should reconsider other options, Trump said.
Early warning systems also saved lives, he remarked in the address.
Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul Mahdi said in a statement on Wednesday that Iran told Iraq the missile attack “had begun or would begin shortly” on American military locations in the country.
“We received an official verbal message from the Islamic Republic of Iran that the Iranian response to the assassination of Qassem Soleimani had begun or would begin shortly, and that the strike would be limited to where the US military was located in Iraq without specifying the locations,” he said, reported the AFP news agency.
White House officials have said Soleimani was responsible for the deaths of numerous Americans and said he was planning attacks on U.S. assets.