News ID: 280764
Published: 0301 GMT February 16, 2021

Khatibzadeh condemns attempts to link Iraq attack to Iran

Khatibzadeh condemns attempts to link Iraq attack to Iran
A worker cleans shattered glass on February 16, 2021 outside a damaged shop following a rocket attack the previous night in Erbil, the capital of the northern Iraqi Kurdistan region.

Iran condemned “suspicious attempts” to attribute the recent rocket attack in Iraq’s Erbil to it, saying Tehran is opposed to any move that disrupts peace and order in the neighboring Arab country.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said on Tuesday that Iran rejects the “suspicious rumors” circulating about the rocket attack that targeted a US airbase in the main city of Iraq’s semiautonomous Kurdistan region last night and condemns “suspicious attempts” to link the incident to the Islamic Republic, Press TV reported.

“Iran regards Iraq’s stability and security as a key issue for the region and the neighbors, and rejects any action that disturbs the peace and order in this country,” Khatibzadeh said.

He called on the Iraqi government to follow up on the issue and deal with the perpetrators.

The rocket attack – the worst to hit a position of the US-led military coalition in a year – killed a civilian contractor and wounded several others, including an American service member, according to a coalition spokesman.

Former Iraqi prime minister and senior Kurdish official Hoshyar Zebari said “five Katyusha rockets” hit some diplomatic facilities and residential areas.

A newly-established militant group which calls itself “Saraya Awliya al-Dam” has claimed responsibility.

Following the reports, certain media outlets tried to tie the attack to Iran’s pledge of revenge for the assassination by the US of top anti-terror commander Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani and fellow Iraqi commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis near the Baghdad airport in January 2020.

Several US missions and military bases in Iraq have repeatedly come under attack over the past year, with Washington blaming forces of Iraq’s counterterrorism Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), which Washington claims receive support from Iran.

Tehran has on numerous occasions rejected any role in such attacks, saying if it goes for such an attack to avenge General Soleimani’s blood, it will openly do so, just like it acted in the case of the missile strike that it carried out against the US-run Ain al-Asad airbase in the aftermath of the senior commander’s martyrdom.

The assassination of General Soleimani and Muhandis has sharply angered Iraqis, sparking growing calls for the US military to withdraw its forces from the Iraqi soil as per a law adopted by the Iraqi parliament following the assassination.

Washington has since reduced its military presence but hinted that it wants to leave a number of its troops in the Arab country in defiance of the Iraqi law.




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