Watch: President Trump Addresses Iranian Rocket Attack
TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran has struck back at the United States for killing a top Revolutionary Guard commander, calling it revenge for the U.S. killing of Gen. Qassem Soleimani. Iran fired ballistic missiles at two military bases in Iraq housing American troops, but U.S. President Donald Trump said there were no casualties. He said Iran appears to be “standing down.” Iran, in turn, appeared to have calibrated its attack to avoid stoking further U.S. retaliation, giving some early warning to its Iraqi allies to avoid casualties. It was a signal that both sides were stepping away from an immediate spiral of more direct exchanges that could throw the Middle East into great turmoil.
The latest on U.S.-Iran tensions after the U.S. airstrike that killed Iran’s top general (all times local):
Turkey’s national airline has temporarily cancelled flights to Iran and Iraq.
The official Anadolu news agency said Wednesday that Turkish Airlines flights would be suspended as a precaution until 1800 GMT Thursday.
Turkish Airlines flights will not use Iraqi and Iranian airspaces during this time and planes would change their routes, the agency said.
Commercial airlines are rerouting flights throughout the Middle East to avoid potential danger during heightened tensions between the United States and Iran.
Also Wednesday, a Ukrainian passenger jet crashed shortly after taking off from Iran’s capital killing 167 passengers and nine crew members just hours after Iran’s ballistic missile attack. Iranian officials said they suspected a mechanical issue.
President Donald Trump says he is going to ask NATO to become much more involved in the Middle East.
Trump spoke during an address Wednesday from the White House after Iran struck back at the United States for killing its most powerful military commander.
Trump has frequently criticized NATO as obsolete and has encouraged participants to beef up their military spending.
He cited more reliance on NATO while also seeking to emphasize U.S. military strength. He said American military and economic strength is the best deterrence to war.
Trump also used his address to speak directly to Iran, saying “we want you to have a future and a great future.”
He said the United States is ready to embrace peace and all who seek it.
President Donald Trump says the U.S. will immediately impose new sanctions on Iran in response to its missile attacks on military bases in Iraq that house American troops.
In an address to the nation Wednesday, Trump said those new “powerful sanctions” will remain until Iran abandons its nuclear ambitions and ends its support for terrorism.
Trump also said he would ask NATO to become more involved in the Middle East. That seems to indicate continued U.S. involvement in the region despite Trump’s desire to withdraw troops from what he calls “endless wars.”
At the same time, Trump says the United State is “ready to embrace peace with all who seek it.”
President Donald Trump says the American people should be “extremely grateful and happy” that no Americans were harmed when Iran launched ballistic missiles at two Iraqi bases housing U.S. troops early Wednesday.
Trump says Iran “appears to be standing down” and is crediting an early warning system “that worked very well” for the fact that no Americans or Iraqis were killed.
The launch was Tehran’s most brazen direct assault on America since the 1979 seizing of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran and came days after Trump authorized the targeted killing of Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the head of Iran’s elite Quds Force.
Iran had pledged to retaliate, bringing the two countries closer to the brink of war.
Trump added: “We have the most powerful and well equipped military anywhere in the world, by far!”
Oxfam says it is restricting its humanitarian work in Iraq due to serious security concerns following Iranian missile attacks on military bases hosting U.S. troops there.
Oxfam’s Iraq country director said in a statement Wednesday that humanitarian work, including cash aid, had been suspended in some areas of the country owing to travel difficulties and checkpoints on in remote areas. It added that some Oxfam staff had been relocated to other areas over fears of more violence.
Andres Gonzalez Rodriguez added that if the organization was forced to continue the suspension of aid for a few weeks, “100,000 of the most vulnerable people will be affected.”
Oxfam runs 26 programs in five Iraqi governorates providing water and sanitation, food, cash and protection assistance, the statement said.
The U.N.’s head Antonio Guterres is renewing his “passionate appeal for peace,” stressing that the world cannot afford a war in the Persian Gulf.
U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric reiterated on Wednesday the secretary-general’s appeal to world leaders to “stop escalation” and “re-start dialogue.”
His appeal followed Iran’s ballistic missile launches at two bases in Iraq where U.S. troops are based, that was in response to the U.S. killing of the top Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani earlier this week.
The U.N. says Guterres is continuing contacts with key parties, stressing: “It is our common duty to make every effort to avoid a war in the Gulf that the world cannot afford.”
Denmark’s prime minister says it will relocate some of its 141 troops in Iraq to neighboring Kuwait.
Mette Frederiksen added Wednesday that Danish forces will “continue” with their mission “to counter the Islamic State” in Iraq, leaving behind “30-40” troops.
Frederiksen told a news conference that the move was temporary, without providing further details.
She added: “We are deeply worried about the situation.”
There are 133 Danish troops at Ain al-Asad air base where they train and advise Iraqi forces. The base was hit early Wednesday by an Iranian missile attack but no Danish forces were wounded, the prime minister said.
On top of that there are 8 Danish soldiers with the NATO mission in Iraq in Baghdad that have already been moved to Kuwait.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Russian President Vladimir Putin in a joint statement after a closed-door meeting on Mideast security are warning that the further use of force “would lead to a new cycle of instability and would eventually damage everyone’s interests.”
Their statement Wednesday expressed deep concern about the escalation of tensions between the U.S. and Iran after Tehran fired ballistic missiles at bases in Iraq used by U.S. forces.
Iran retaliated after the U.S. killed its top general in a drone strike last week, which Erdogan and Putin called “an act undermining security and stability in the region.”
The Turkish and Russian leaders said they have “always been against foreign interventions, unilateral military actions and sectarian conflicts” and they called for de-escalation and diplomacy.
Erdogan also vowed to work diplomatically to calm soaring tensions between Washington and Tehran, saying that “no one has the right to throw the region, especially Iraq, into a new ring of fire for their personal gain.”
The United Arab Emirates is seeking to allay concerns it has been impacted or is a target in tensions between its ally the United States and its regional neighbor Iran.
The Foreign Ministry on Wednesday said tensions in the region “will not affect citizens, residents or visitors.” It stressed that sectors across the country are operating normally.
Also Wednesday, the financial and tourist hub of Dubai said rumors being circulated regarding security threats targeting the emirate are fake and haven’t been issued from any official Iranian government source.
The UAE, which has supported maximum pressure on Iran, has called for de-escalation.
The White House says President Donald Trump plans to address the nation at 11 a.m. local time Wednesday (1600 GMT).
Trump faces one of the greatest tests of his presidency now that Iran has launched ballistic missiles at two Iraqi bases housing U.S. troops. It was Iran’s most brazen assault on America since the 1979 seizing of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran.
Iran’s missile strikes were in retaliation for last week’s American drone strike that killed Iran’s top general. Trump huddled with his national security advisers to weigh a response.
Top Senate Democrats are citing “deep concern” about the lack of information coming from the Trump administration about the Iran operation.
Pakistan’s prime minister has stressed the need to take immediate steps to de-escalate tensions in the Middle East.
In a Twitter post, Imran Khan added that he is sending his foreign minister to Iran, Saudi Arabia and United States to meet with counterparts. Regional tensions remain high after Iran fired missiles at two bases in Iraq used by U.S. forces in retaliation for the U.S. killing of its top military commander.
During a meeting Wednesday with Oman’s minister for religious affairs, the Pakistani leader reiterated that his country will not be part of any conflict in the region.
Also Wednesday, Pakistan’s military said the U.S. defense secretary has discussed the Middle East situation with Pakistan’s army chief, saying Washington does not want to seek a conflict but will respond forcefully if necessary.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has condemned what he called Iran’s “reckless and dangerous” missile attacks on bases in Iraq used by U.S. troops, and he called for “urgent de-escalation” by Tehran and Washington.
Johnson also said Qassem Soleimani, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard commander killed in a U.S. airstrike last week, “had the blood of British troops on his hands.”
Britain’s main opposition Labour Party has suggested the U.S. may have broken international law by killing Soleimani.
Johnson told British lawmakers on Wednesday that “the strict issue of legality is not for the U.K. to determine since it was not our operation. But I think most reasonable people would accept that the United States has the right to protect its bases and its personnel.”
The Trump administration alleges that Soleimani had been plotting new attacks just before he was killed.
NATO secretary general Jens Stoltenberg has condemned Iran’s missile strike against U.S. forces in Iraq, while a NATO official says there were no casualties among the military alliance’s personnel in the country.
The Iraqi mission consists of several hundred staff from allied nations and non-NATO countries.
In a message to The Associated Press, the NATO official who was not authorized to speak publicly said they were “keeping the situation under close review.”
Meanwhile, in a message posted on Twitter, Stoltenberg urged Iran to refrain from further violence.
NATO last week said it had suspended a training mission for Iraqi soldiers after the U.S. killing of top Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani. Stoltenberg said allies remain committed to the training mission in Iraq.
An official says the Cyprus government has approved a U.S. request to temporarily deploy a “rapid reaction” team to help evacuate personnel from U.S. diplomatic missions in nearby countries if needed.
Cyprus government spokesman Kyriakos Koushios said Wednesday the team also will be tasked with evacuating U.S. civilians from the region in the event of an emergency. The development comes after Iran fired more than 20 missiles overnight at bases in Iraq used by U.S. troops in retaliation for the U.S. killing of Iran’s top military commander.
Koushios said the east Mediterranean island nation granted permission as part of its long-standing policy to offer assistance to missions of a humanitarian nature following requests from non-European Union member countries.
He said Cyprus has excellent relations with eastern Mediterranean and Middle Eastern nations.
Turkey’s foreign minister will visit Iraq on Thursday as part of diplomatic efforts to “alleviate the escalated tension” in the region, a ministry statement said.
Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu also spoke with his Iranian counterpart Wednesday after Iran fired more than 20 missiles overnight at bases in Iraq used by U.S. troops in retaliation for the U.S. killing of Iran’s top military commander last week in Baghdad.
Turkey has called for calm and expressed concern about regional security after the U.S. drone strike. Turkey shares a border with Iran and Iraq and is engaged militarily in northern Iraq against Kurdish militants.
Slovenia’s defense ministry says its six soldiers stationed in northern Iraq with a German-led training mission will be evacuated after their base came under Iran’s missile attack in retaliation for the U.S. killing of Iran’s top general.
The Slovenian ministry said Wednesday the soldiers were unhurt in the attack near Irbil as they were in the base’s shelter during the strike.
The ministry said the evacuation will be conducted “in cooperation with the German partners.” It did not say where the soldiers will go.
The Syrian government is expressing full solidarity with Iran, saying Tehran has the right to defend itself “in the face of American threats and attacks.”
The foreign ministry said in a statement Wednesday that Syria holds the “American regime responsible for all the repercussions due to its reckless policy and arrogant mentality.”
The statement came after Iran fired more than 20 missiles overnight at bases in Iraq used by U.S. troops in retaliation for the U.S. killing of Iran’s top military commander last week in Baghdad.
Syria is Iran’s strongest ally in the Arab world, and Tehran sent thousands of Iran-backed fighters to join President Bashar Assad’s forces in the country’s civil war.
One analyst says Iran’s missile strike against U.S. forces in Iraq was “the smallest attack that Iran could carry out while at the same time being able to say they got revenge.”
Peter Viggo Jakobsen, an associate professor with the Royal Danish Defense College, added Wednesday that Iran has “done all that is possible to avoid American casualties. If what we hear is correct, they have warned the Americans in advance.”
He told Denmark’s TV2 channel the Iranians are doing all they can to avoid an American military response as harsh as President Donald Trump has promised.
“I would be deeply surprised if the Americans choose to respond militarily again,” he said.
Italy has condemned Iran’s missile strikes against the U.S.-led coalition in Iraq and repeated its call for de-escalation of tensions.
Italy has some 900 troops in Iraq, based in Baghdad and Irbil, that are involved in training Iraqi troops and in fighting the Islamic State group.
There has been no report from any member of the U.S.-led coalition in Iraq about casualties among their forces.
After a U.S. drone strike killed Iran’s top general last week, Italian news reports said Italy had transferred some troops from a Baghdad base to a more secure location.
Italy’s Foreign Ministry again urged European allies to work for dialogue, according to a statement.
The Iraqi prime ministry says Iran notified Iraq shortly after midnight that its response to the killing of its top military commander had begun, and that retaliation would be limited to locations where the U.S. military is present.
Adel Abdul-Mahdi’s office said in a statement Wednesday that Iraq was simultaneously informed by the Americans that military bases in Ain al-Asad and Irbil were under missile attack.
The office says it has received no reports of casualties on the Iraqi side and has not been officially notified of any losses among the U.S.-led coalition.
“Iraq refuses any violation of its sovereignty and any attacks on its territory,” the statement said.
It added that Iraq is doing everything in its power to contain the situation to avoid a “devastating all-out war.”
Poland’s Foreign Ministry says its ambassador to Iraq, Beata Peksa, has been evacuated to Poland for security reasons amid the rising tensions between the U.S. and Iran.
The evacuation was at Britain’s request because Poland’s diplomatic mission is located in the British Embassy.
According to Poland’s Foreign Ministry only the ambassador was evacuated while its embassy in Baghdad continues its work.
Poland is one of several European countries that has said their troops in Iraq were not harmed in the Iranian missile strike overnight that targeted two military bases in Iraq housing U.S. troops.
Chinese media reports say state oil company China National Petroleum Corporation has evacuated about 20 employees from the West Qurna-1 oil field in Iraq as a result of the rising tensions between the U.S. and Iran.
No details were given, and company spokespeople could not immediately be reached for comment.
The news followed the Iranian missile strike that targeted two military bases in Iraq housing U.S. troops. The attack was in retaliation for a U.S. drone strike that killed Iran’s top commander last week near the Baghdad airport.
The U.S. Embassy in Jordan has issued a security warning to American government personnel to avoid “non-essential” movements following the Iranian missile strike that targeted two military bases in neighboring Iraq housing U.S. troops.
In a tweet Wednesday, the embassy says that “out of an abundance of caution” American children should also be kept home from school. The embassy in Amman remains open.
Anti-government protesters in Iraq have set fires and closed streets near Baghdad’s Tahrir Square during a demonstration against the Iranian missile strike that targeted two military bases in Iraq housing U.S. troops.
The Iranian attack was in retaliation for a U.S. drone strike that killed top Revolutionary Guard commander Gen. Qassem Soleimani last week near the Baghdad airport.
About 100 protesters took part in Wednesday morning’s demonstration near Tahrir, the epicenter of Iraq’s protest movement. The protesters carrying Iraqi flags shouted “Iran out, out!” before they were dispersed by security forces.
The protesters who rose up against their country’s ruling elite in October, accusing them of corruption, have also been revolting against neighboring Iran’s military and political involvement.
Finland’s defense forces say they received advance warning of the Iranian missile strike against bases in Iraq used by U.S. troops.
The defense forces gave no details Wednesday, Finnish newspaper Ilta-Sanomat reported.
They added that Finnish troops at the base in Irbil that was targeted were were protected in a bomb shelter and were not hurt. Irbil is the capital of Iraq’s self-governing Kurdish region.
British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has condemned the Iranian missile strike against bases hosting coalition forces in Iraq and urged Iran to refrain from further military action.
The Ministry of Defense said Wednesday there were no British casualties in the attack launched in retaliation for the U.S. drone strike that killed Iran’s top Revolutionary Guard commander, Gen. Qassem Soleimani, in Baghdad last week.
U.S. officials have said there are no immediate reports of U.S. casualties.
“We urge Iran not to repeat these reckless and dangerous attacks, and instead to pursue urgent de-escalation,” Raab said. “A war in the Middle East would only benefit Daesh (the Islamic State group) and other terrorist groups.” Coalition forces are in Iraq to train local forces to fight the extremists.
Tom Tugendhat, the chairman of the defense committee during the previous Parliament, told the BBC it would be “extremely welcome” if Iran’s action marked the end of tensions and both sides could “get back to talking.”
China’s foreign ministry is expressing concern about the spike in tensions in the Middle East and says it hopes matters can swiftly “cool off.”
Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told reporters Wednesday that Beijing has called for restraint by all sides and is in close consultation with the governments involved, including at the United Nations and through China’s embassy in Baghdad.
He spoke after the Iranian missile strike at bases in Iraq used by U.S. forces but did not address it directly.
Geng also accused the U.S. of abusing the rights of people in the region through its military actions.
Germany has condemned the Iranian missile strike at bases in Iraq used by U.S. forces.
Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer said Wednesday the government “rejects this aggression in the sharpest possible terms.”
She told German public broadcaster ARD that “it’s now particularly up to the Iranians not to engage in further escalation.′
None of the German troops stationed in Iraq were injured.
It joined several European countries in saying their troops in Iraq were not harmed, including France, Poland, Denmark and Finland.
At least one missile from the Iranian strike against U.S. forces in Iraq on Wednesday landed in a field near Bardarash, about 50 kilometers (31 miles) from Irbil, the capital of Iraq’s self-governing Kurdish region.
An Iraqi Kurdish channel, Rudaw TV, showed video of police inspecting the impact site and removing shrapnel.
No casualties were reported but residents said the earth shook upon impact, and one man was seen cleaning up slight damage to his house on a nearby street.
The Kurdish region hosts American military forces at its main airport just outside Irbil.
Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in an address to the nation says “we slapped them (Americans) on the face last night” with a missile strike “but military action is not enough.”
He spoke hours after the strike at military bases in Iraq used by U.S. forces. The strike was in retaliation for the U.S. killing of Iran’s top military commander in Baghdad.
Khamenei added that the “corrupt presence of the U.S. in the region should come to an end,” saying it has caused war, division, and destruction.
Iran’s supreme leader also invoked the virtues of the slain commander, Gen. Qassem Soleimani, saying he was a “great, brave warrior” and “dear friend to us.” Huge crowds in Iran have mourned Soleimani’s death last week in the airstrike in Baghdad.
A Russian lawmaker warns that a conflict between the U.S. and Iran might lead to a nuclear war.
The comments by Vladimir Dzhabarov, lawmaker with Russia’s upper house of parliament, on Wednesday followed an Iranian missile strike at military bases in Iraq used by U.S. forces. The strike was in retaliation for the U.S. killing Iran’s top military commander in Baghdad.
“Reciprocal strikes by the U.S. and Iran may lead to an all-out war in the region,” Dzhabarov said. “If Washington sees that it can’t achieve its goals, there’s a danger of a nuclear war.”
The Russian lawmaker said the U.N. Security Council should get involved to prevent further escalation in the Middle East.
Iraq’s military says it had no troop casualties in the Iranian strike, and President Donald Trump tweeted that“All is well!” as casualty and damage assessments are ongoing.
The Iraqi military says there are no casualties among its troops as a result of an Iranian missile strike at bases in Iraq used by U.S. forces.
The military said in a statement carried by the state news agency Wednesday that the attack lasted half an hour, starting at 1:45 a.m. local time.
The statement said 22 missiles were fired. Seventeen missiles hit al-Asad air base, including two that did not explode in the Hitan area west of the town of Hit. Five other missiles hit the northern region of Irbil.
The energy minister of the United Arab Emirates says he sees no immediate shortages in oil supplies, but that OPEC will be called in if there is an issue.
“The situation is not currently a war situation,” Suhail Al-Mazrouei told reporters Wednesday. “We are all hoping for deescalation. I think wisdom will prevail despite the tension.”
He spoke after an Iranian missile strike at military bases in Iraq used by U.S. forces. The strike was in retaliation for the U.S. killing an Iranian general in Baghdad.
He said even in past times of war, the flow of oil has been maintained.
“So let’s not exaggerate what’s happening. There is no risk that we have seen to the Strait of Hormuz or the movement of oil yet,” Al-Mazrouei said, referring to the narrow waterway between the Arabian Peninsula and Iran through which 20% of the world’s oil passes through.
He spoke reporters in Abu Dhabi at the Gulf Intelligence’s UAE Energy Forum.
Brent crude oil has jumped to around $70 a barrel amid heightened concerns over tensions between Iran and the United States.
Japan says it will urge governments to do their utmost to help ease tensions following an Iranian missile strike at bases in Iraq used by U.S. forces.
The strike came in retaliation for the killing of an Iranian general.
Japanese Chief Cabinet spokesman Yoshihide Suga said Wednesday that his “government will coordinate with the related governments to collect intelligence while we ensure the safety of Japanese citizens in the region.”
He added: “Japan will also urge all related nations to do their utmost diplomatic effort to improve the relations.”
He said Japan remained on track to soon deploy a warship to the Gulf to help safeguard Japanese vessels and oil tankers transiting the area.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison says all of his country’s troops and diplomatic staff in Iraq are safe after Iran’s firing of missiles at two military bases there.
Around 300 Australian defense personnel are stationed in Iraq.
Morrison said he spoke with President Donald Trump about the situation between the U.S. and Iran on Tuesday during a call about the wildfires raging in Australia.
Sepaking to reporters Wednesday, Morrison said in reference to the killing of Revolutionary Guard Gen. Qassem Soleimani: “The United States have taken the action that they have to address what has been intelligence that they say that they received, which was putting their interests at risks and under threat.”
President Donald Trump says “All is well!” after more than a dozen Iranian missiles were fired at two bases housing U.S. troops in Iraq.
Trump tweets that casualty and damage assessments are ongoing but adds, “So far, so good!”
He says he will be making a statement on the strikes Wednesday morning.
Iranian state TV says the missile strikes were retaliation for the killing of Revolutionary Guard Gen. Qassem Soleimani, whose death last week in an American drone strike near Baghdad prompted angry calls to avenge his slaying.
Iran’s foreign minister is calling Tuesday night’s ballistic missile attack on Iraqi bases housing U.S. troops “proportionate measures in self-defense.”
Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has also tweeted, “’We do not seek escalation or war, but will defend ourselves against any aggression.”
His tweet follows the missile attack in retaliation for the killing of Iranian Revolutionary Guard Gen. Qassem Soleimani in a U.S. drone strike last week in Baghdad.
Iran has buried a top Revolutionary Guard general slain by U.S. airstrike in Baghdad after a stampede at his funeral killed 56 and Iran launched a ballistic missile attack on Iraqi bases housing American troops in response.
Officials lowered the shroud-wrapped remains of Qassem Soleimani into the ground in the southeastern city of Kerman just before 6 a.m. Wednesday.
Mourners at the grave site wailed.
Soleimani’s death in the airstrikes has drastically raised tensions between Tehran and Washington. Iran launched a ballistic missile attack just hours earlier on two Iraqi bases housing American troops.
A U.S. official says there were very few, if any, casualties from Tuesday night’s Iranian missile attack on two Iraqi bases housing U.S. troops.
The official spoke on condition of anonymity in advance of a Pentagon briefing.
The official says 15 missiles were fired. Ten struck the Ain al-Asad air base in Iraq’s western Anbar province. One struck a base in Irbil in Iraq’s semiautonomous Kurdish region. Four missiles failed to hit their targets.
The official says the bases are still being searched for casualties.
Iranian state TV says the missile strikes were retaliation for the U.S. killing of Revolutionary Guard Gen. Qassem Soleimani, whose death last week — in an American drone strike near Baghdad prompted angry calls to avenge his slaying.
— Lolita C. Baldor
The Federal Aviation Administration is barring U.S. pilots and carriers from flying in areas of Iraqi, Iranian and some Persian Gulf airspace.
The agency is warning of the “potential for miscalculation or mis-identification” for civilian aircraft amid heightened tensions between the U.S. and Iran. The emergency flight restrictions follow ballistic missile strikes Tuesday on two Iraqi bases that house U.S. troops.
Such restrictions are often precautionary in nature to prevent civilian aircraft from being confused for ones engaged in armed conflict. The FAA says the restrictions are being issued due to “heightened military activities and increased political tensions in the Middle East, which present an inadvertent risk to U.S. civil aviation operations.”
Vice President Mike Pence has briefed top Democrats in Congress on the Iranian strikes on installations in Iraq holding U.S. forces.
Aides to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer both confirmed the lawmakers spoke with the vice president by telephone Tuesday.
Justin Goodman, a spokesman for Schumer, says the New York Democrat is closely monitoring the situation and is praying for the safety of service members and other personnel.
Pelosi spokesman Drew Hammill tweeted that the speaker returned a call from the vice president moments after presiding over the House.
Katie Waldman, a spokeswoman for the vice president, says Pence has been in continuous contact with national security officials and made calls to congressional leadership at President Donald Trump’s direction.
The Pentagon is confirming that Iran has launched “more than a dozen ballistic missiles” at two targets hosting against U.S. military and coalition forces in Iraq.
Defense Department spokesman Jonathan Hoffman says “It is clear that these missiles were launched from Iran.”
He says the attacks “targeted at least two Iraqi military bases” at Ain Assad and Irbil.
Hoffman says the U.S. is “working on initial battle damage assessments.”
Iranian state TV says the attack was in revenge for the killing of Revolutionary Guard Gen. Qassem Soleimani, whose funeral Tuesday prompted angry calls to avenge his death.
Iran is protesting “inflammatory” and threatening statement from Israeli officials and calling on the U.N. Security Council to hold Israel accountable.
Iran’s U.N. Ambassador Majid Takht Ravanchi pointed to Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz saying in a Dec. 6 interview that bombing Iran is “an option.” He also mentioned remarks by several Israeli defense officials who referenced a possible confrontation with Iran.
Ravanchi’s letter to Secretary-General Antonio Guterres was circulated Tuesday but was written Dec. 27, before the U.S. airstrike that killed Iran’s top general, Qassam Soleimani, sparking fears of retaliation against U.S. ally Israel and other American targets.
Chevron says it has moved all its non-Iraqi employees and contractors out of Iraq amid heightened tensions there between the United States and Iran.
Chevron said in a statement Tuesday that its workers’ safety is a “top priority.” Chevron has only been operating in the self-governing Kurdish region of northern Iraq.
The statement says Chevron has “local staff who are overseeing our ongoing operations” in the Kurdish area.
Mideast tensions have soared after a recent U.S. airstrike killed a top Iranian general, shortly after he arrived at Baghdad’s international airport. Iran has vowed to retaliate.
French President Emmanuel Macron has telephoned his Iranian counterpart to voice concern over events in Iraq, asking Tehran to “avoid any measures that would aggravate the escalation in progress.”
Tensions have soared in after a recent U.S. airstrike killed a top Iranian general, shortly after he arrived at Baghdad’s international airport. Iran has vowed to retaliate.
A statement from Macron’s office Tuesday said he told Hassan Rouhani that Iraqi sovereignty and security would be strengthened by the presence of the international coalition in Iraq. He said the U.S.-led military coalition’s “only objective is the fight against Daech,” using an alternative acronym for the Islamic State group.
Macron also called on Iran to “quickly return” to its commitments to the 2015 nuclear deal. The Iranian general’s slaying has already pushed Tehran to abandon the remaining limits of the agreement.
Canada’s top general says his country’s military is temporarily relocating some soldiers from Iraq to Kuwait.
Gen. Jonathan Vance made the announcement Tuesday. Western troops in Iraq have been on high alert since the killing of Iran’s top general by a U.S. drone strike last week in Baghdad.
Canada has about 500 soldiers in Iraq to help fight the Islamic State group. Canada currently leads the NATO training mission in Iraq.
Britain’s defense secretary says urgent measures are being taken to protect British interests in the Middle East, as tensions rise between the U.S. and Iran.
Ben Wallace said Tuesday that the British government is looking at the implications of the vote in the Iraqi parliament that called for foreign troops. That came after a U.S. airstrike killed a top Iranian general shortly after he arrived at Baghdad’s international airport. Iran has vowed to retaliate.
Wallace told lawmakers: “Our commitment to Iraq’s stability and sovereignty is unwavering and we urge the Iraqi government to ensure the coalition is able to continue our work countering this shared threat,” in a reference to the Islamic State group.
He said British forces in the region are on standby, while non-essential personnel have been relocated from Baghdad to the city of Taji, around 30 kilometers (18 miles) to the north.
Wallace said: “A small team has been sent to the region to provide additional situational awareness and contingency planning assistance.”
Britain’s defense secretary is urging Iranian leaders not to retaliating for the recent killing of their top general by the United States.
Ben Wallace appealed for calm Tuesday even as he told the House of Commons that Iran’s “aggressive behavior” such as seizing civilian ships “was never going to go unchallenged.”
Nonetheless, he says further conflict is in no one’s interest. He added that “Her Majesty’s Government urges Iran to return to the normal behavior of the country it aspires to be.”
The main opposition Labour Party leader has questioned the legality of the U.S. actions.
Jeremy Corbyn is calling the Iranian general’s killing an “assassination” that has placed British troops and civilians “in danger.” He also warns against plunging the country into another war.
Wallace says it’s up to the U.S. to explain its decision. He adds that from the intelligence he’s seen “it is clear there was a case for self-defense to be made about an individual who had come to Iraq to coordinate murder and attacks on U.S. citizens.”
U.S. embassies in a growing number of countries outside the Middle East are issuing security alerts to U.S. citizens.
Embassies in France, Algeria and Morocco issued alerts Tuesday warning of “heightened tension in the Middle East that may result in security risks to U.S. citizens abroad.”
The warnings also have been issued at some embassies in sub-Saharan Africa. The U.S. Embassy in Tanzania issued one Monday.
Governments and companies around the world are weighing how to respond after a U.S. airstrike killed a top Iranian general near Baghdad’s airport last week and Tehran vowed “harsh retaliation.”
Sweden has joined a number of other countries in telling its citizens not to travel to Iraq, except to the self-governing Kurdish region. Tuesday’s statement cited “changes in the security situation.”
Neighboring Denmark two days ago noted “a very high security risk” and said those who decide to travel to Iraq “should seek professional counselling.”
Governments and companies around the world are weighing how to respond to the rising tensions in the Middle East, after a U.S. airstrike killed a top Iranian general near Baghdad’s airport last week. Tehran has vowed “harsh retaliation.”
National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien says the U.S. “will not tolerate” the latest threats by Iran as tensions rise over the U.S. killing of a top Iranian general last week in Baghdad.
O’Brien told Fox News Channel’s “Fox and Friends” on Tuesday that Iranian threats to Americans, U.S. shipping interests and more “have been around for 40 years” since the Iranian revolution.
He says the U.S. is watching the situation carefully.
In comments to reporters afterward, O’Brien also defended the drone strike that killed Revolutionary Guard Gen. Qassem Soleimani and the intelligence on which the Trump administration says the operation was based. He called the information “very strong.”
The U.S. has asserted that Soleimani was plotting to kill American diplomats and soldiers in significant numbers.
Egypt’s national airline EgyptAir has temporarily suspended flights to Baghdad. A statement by the country’s civil aviation authority says it is due to the turmoil that’s taking place there.
A spokesman for the authority, Bassem Abdel Karim, says the airline will halt flights on Wednesday through Friday this week. He says authorities will then assess the situation and resume flights when they deem the situation safe again.
Governments and companies around the world are weighing how to respond to the rising tensions in the Middle East after a U.S. airstrike killed Iran’s top military commander near Baghdad’s airport last week and Tehran vowed “harsh retaliation.”
Lebanon’s president says the country is working to prevent rising tensions in the region from affecting stability at home.
Michel Aoun made the remarks on Tuesday during separate meetings with the U.N. special coordinator for Lebanon and the commander of the U.N. peacekeeping force deployed along the border with Israel.
A statement by Aoun’s office quoted him as saying it is important that calm continues along the Lebanon-Israel border and to “prevent negative developments from happening there.”
The leader of Lebanon’s Iran-backed Hezbollah group has said the U.S. military will pay a price for killing Iran’s top general and Iraqi militia leaders in Baghdad last week.
Finland’s President Sauli Niinisto says relations between the United States and Iran are “in a critical state” and that the impacts of this crisis “threaten to extend also beyond the region.”
His statement on Tuesday said the international community “must use all means” to create dialogue.
The Finnish head of state also reached out to neighboring Sweden’s Prime Minister Stefan Lofven. Both Nordic nations have troops in Iraq that are part of the international coalition.
He did not say whether troops would be moved out of Iraq, as some other European nations are doing.
Croatia’s defense ministry says the country’s 14 troops in Iraq have been moved to Kuwait amid soaring tensions after a U.S. airstrike killed Iran’s top commander in Baghdad last week.
The statement says any future steps also will be made in consultation with NATO allies.
A growing number of European countries are shifting troops out of Iraq.
Germany says it has moved 35 soldiers serving in Iraq to neighboring Jordan and Kuwait. Slovakia says it has moved its seven service members from Iraq to an unspecified location.
Slovenia, however, says its six soldiers in Iraq are staying there. They are posted at the Erbil base in northern Iraq. The defense ministry says it is constantly monitoring the situation and will make further decisions based on future developments.
British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab is traveling to Brussels for talks Tuesday with European counterparts about the situation in the Middle East as tensions soar after a U.S. airstrike killed a top Iranian general.
The talks are expected to assess the state of Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers after Tehran announced Sunday it is withdrawing from further commitments in the agreement.
Raab will have a bilateral meeting with the French foreign minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian, before meeting with German and Italian counterparts.
The Japanese Foreign Ministry has issued a warning to its citizens in the Middle East citing security concerns after Iran said it would retaliate against the U.S. following the killing of Tehran’s top military commander.
The Japanese warning dated Sunday tells citizens to stay in a safe area, maintain communications channels and keep family and friends updated on whereabouts.
Japanese auto giant Toyota says it has not made any policy changes on travel for its employees to the Middle East.
China is criticizing the U.S. for reportedly denying a visa to Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif to attend United Nations meetings in New York.
Foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said in Beijing on Tuesday that the U.S. has an international obligation to issue visas for such meetings as the host country of the U.N.
Zarif said the U.S. declined to issue him a visa, adding that “this is because they fear someone will go there and tell the truth to the American people.” Tensions have soared over the killing of a top Iranian general in a U.S. airstrike last week.
Geng also said China is highly concerned about the situation in the Middle East and urged the U.S. not to abuse the use of force. He called on all parties to exercise restraint to prevent a spiral of escalation.
The remains of a senior Iraqi militia commander killed in a U.S. drone strike last week have been brought to Iraq from Iran for burial. Thousands of mourners clad in black chanted “America is the Great Satan” during the procession from the border.
Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, a veteran Iraqi militant who was closely allied with Iran, was killed in the strike that also killed Iran’s top general, Qassem Soleimani, in Baghdad.
Al-Muhandis’ remains had been taken to Iran for DNA testing. They were sent back through the Shalamsheh border crossing to his hometown of Basra in southern Iraq before being transferred to the holy city of Najaf for burial.
Thousands of mourners in Basra’s city center gathered to receive the body. Many waved banners of the Kataeb Hezbollah, or Hezbollah Brigades, that al-Muhandis founded. The U.S. has blamed the group, which is separate from the Lebanese Hezbollah movement, for a rocket attack in northern Iraq in late December that killed a U.S. contractor. That prompted the airstrike last week.
Slovakia says it has moved its seven service members from Iraq to an unspecified location. It is the latest European country to move troops in response to the soaring tensions after a U.S. airstrike killed Iran’s top commander in Baghdad last week.
The office of Slovakia’s Prime Minister Peter Pellegrini said Tuesday it will consult with NATO allies on further steps. Its seven service members have been in Iraq as part of a NATO training mission.
Germany plans to move some of its roughly 120 soldiers in Iraq to neighboring Jordan and Kuwait. Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer and Foreign Minister Heiko Maas wrote to lawmakers that the troops at the bases in Baghdad and Taji will be “temporarily thinned out,” news agency dpa reported.
The two officials stressed that talks would continue with the Iraqi government on a continuation of the mission to train Iraqi troops. The majority of Germany’s troops are not stationed in Taji and Baghdad but elsewhere in Iraq.
The leader of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard has threatened to “set ablaze” places supported by the United States over the killing of a top Iranian general in a U.S. airstrike last week, sparking cries from the crowd of supporters of “Death to Israel!”
Hossein Salami made the pledge Tuesday before a crowd of thousands in a central square in Kerman, the hometown of the slain Gen. Qassem Soleimani. His vow mirrored the demands of top Iranian officials for retaliation against America for a slaying that’s drastically raised tensions across the Middle East.
Mourners carried posters bearing the image of Soleimani, a man whose slaying prompted Iran’s supreme leader to weep over his casket on Monday as a crowd said by police to be in the millions filled Tehran streets.