UPDATED 6:46 AM PT — Wed. Sept. 12, 2018
The Trump administration sends a stern warning to Iran against any violence that harms American lives, following rocket-fire over the weekend.
In a statement Tuesday, Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said the Middle Eastern country did not do enough to prevent recent attacks against the U.S. consulate in Basra as well the American Embassy in Baghdad.
The violence came just hours after anti-government protesters set fire to the Iranian consulate in Iraq.
Though there were no reports of any injuries or casualties, Sanders said the U.S. would respond “swiftly and decisively” in defense of American lives.
Although officials did not confirm the strikes were ordered by Iran, they are believed to have been carried out by Shi’ite militants, which the White House claims are proxies that Iran has armed, trained and financed.
For years the U.S. and Iran have backed rivaling political parties in Iraq, which have heightened tensions between the two countries.
The attack was the first one in years to hit the “green zone,” which is an area that is home to several foreign embassies and other government buildings.
This comes as President Trump has taken a harsher stance against Tehran, including ramped up sanctions and pulling out of the Iran Nuclear Deal earlier this year.
“The fact that they (Iran) have not behaved well in the past number of years, no matter where I go in the Middle East, I see Iran is behind it and we can’t just let that happen,” stated the president.
Since pulling out of the accord, the U.S. has reimposed some of the sanctions with a second round set to go into effect in November.
Despite recent tensions, President Trump said earlier this year he is willing to speak with Iranian leadership with no pre-conditions.
“I would certainly meet with Iran if they’re willing to meet… they’re having a hard time right now…and I’m ready to meet any time they want to…I would certainly be willing to meet,” he said.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also announced the creation of an Iran Action Group last month, which will oversee the post-nuclear deal policy between the two countries.
In an exclusive interview with the Associated Press on Tuesday, Iran’s nuclear chief said he hopes the agreement will survive, but warned if it doesn’t the country will be in a higher position.