By Hossein Beizayi
The world woke up Sunday morning hearing yet another bold, irresponsible and destructive terrorist missile attack by the regime in Tehran and its notorious Revolutionary Guards.
In a major escalation of tensions in the Middle East, up to 12 missiles launched from Iran targeted the city of Erbil in northern Iraq shortly after midnight local time on Sunday, slamming into an area close to the US consulate and a military base associated with the international coalition stationed in Iraq. The missiles used were reported to be of the Iran-made “Fateh 110” type. According to the regime’s official IRNA news agency, the IRGC issued a statement officially assuming responsibility for the attack on Sunday.
US and Iraq’s reactions to Iran’s missile attacks
According to a US official, the missile attack on Erbil was launched from Iran, tweeted Phil Steward, the Reuters military and intelligence correspondent. A second US official told the Associated Press that “there was no damage at any U.S. government facility and that there was no indication the target was the consulate building, which is new and currently unoccupied.” The US condemned what it described as an “outrageous attack against Iraqi sovereignty and display of violence.” The incident is currently under investigation by the Iraqi government and authorities of the Kurdish Regional Government. The United Nations’ mission to Iraq strongly condemned the missile attacks on Erbil, urging Iraqis to stand together in the face of acts that violate their country’s “sovereignty, territorial integrity, and/or aims to undermine stability/unity.”
Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi condemned the attack earlier that apparently targeted the U.S. Consulate’s new building in Erbil.
In a tweet a few hours after the attack, al-Kadhimi said, “The aggression which targeted the dear city of Erbil and spread fear amongst its inhabitants is an attack on the security of our people.” He added that he discussed these developments with Kurdistan Region Prime Minister Masrur Barzani, noting that “Our security forces will investigate and stand firm against any threats towards our people.” Iraq’s foreign ministry summoned the Iranian ambassador Sunday to protest against a ballistic missile attack on the city of Erbil, state news agency INA said.
US forces stationed at Erbil’s international airport complex have come under fire from rocket and drone attacks in the past. US officials have blamed them on Iran-aligned militia groups. The last time ballistic missiles were directed at US forces was in January 2020. Reports from Iran claimed this attack was in retaliation for killing its military commander Qasem Soleimani at Baghdad airport by US forces. More recently, Iranian regime proxies are believed responsible for an assassination attempt late last year targeting Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi. Officials have also said they believe the Iranian regime was behind the October drone attack targeting the Al-Tanf military outpost in southern Syria, where US troops are based. No US personnel were killed or injured in the attack. Iraq’s top Shiite politician and cleric Muqtada al-Sadr also condemned the attack and urged the government to let Iran know it could not violate Iraq’s security.
Iran claims responsibility and boasts about it
Iran’s Revolutionary Guard (IRGC) released a statement taking responsibility for the ballistic missile attack on Iraq’s Kurdish regional capital of Erbil. The Sunday statement is coming hours after the attack said Israeli “strategic centers” were targeted “last night with precision-guided missiles” of the IRGC, while the apparent target was the U.S. consulate in the city. It stressed that the Iranian armed forces are a “red line” and “no one will be allowed to threaten or attack them.” “Any repetition of attacks by Israel will be met with a harsh, decisive, and destructive response,” the statement added, noting the IRGC had vowed it would not “leave Israel’s crimes and evils unanswered.” The advisor to Iran’s nuclear negotiating team in Vienna, Mohammad Marandi, who is also the son of the supreme leader’s personal physician, gloats after tonight’s attack on Erbil near the unoccupied new U.S. consulate that “this is just the beginning.” Hours before the Revolutionary Guards claimed responsibility for the attacks, Abbaszadeh Meshkini, spokesman for the National Security Commission of the Islamic Consultative Assembly, claimed that “the Erbil rockets have nothing to do with us and the Islamic Republic’s revenge on Israel will be very serious, harsh, obvious and regrettable.”
The attack comes as nuclear talks have halted yet again in Vienna, and Tehran sides with Moscow in the Ukraine crisis. Furthermore, there are reports that the Biden administration has been considering the Iranian regime’s demand of delisting the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) from the State Department’s list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTO). It is worth noting that the regime’s missile program is under the control of the IRGC.
The regime in Tehran, a web of lies and distrust
The regime in Tehran is tangled in an array of internal and international economic and social problems. The ever-growing people’s discontent and dissatisfaction with the regime in the form of strike actions, protests, and demonstrations are daily occurrences in Iran’s cities, towns, and streets. The bankrupt regime of Iran is so deeply corrupt and incapable that its judiciary personnel and correctional officers have also come to the streets and are protesting their back pays and working conditions. Similar to so many times in the past, the illusioned mullahs think such terrorist attacks will be instrumental in taming their problems in the country and beyond. What the mullahs seem to be unaware of is that the era of appeasement and hollow show of force has come to a decisive end. The condemnation of Iran’s missile attacks on Erbil by most countries in the world, especially those involved in the nuclear Vienna negotiations with Iran, is another testimony that these terrorist attacks will indeed fire back and isolate the regime further. A terrorist regime is a terrorist regime; no matter how civilized or reformed it will try to paint its façade. Every strand of the fabric of the regime in Tehran is tied to terrorism, repression, injustice, lies, deception, and distrust. Trusting this regime is foolish, in vain, dangerous, and naïve.