U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has warned Iran of a decisive response if US interests are harmed in Iraq, after a series of rocket attacks on bases.
“We must… use this opportunity to remind Iran´s leaders that any attacks by them, or their proxies of any identity, that harm Americans, our allies or our interests will be answered with a decisive US response,” Mike Pompeo said in a statement.
“Iran must respect the sovereignty of its neighbors and immediately cease its provision of lethal aid and support to third parties in Iraq and throughout the region,” he said.
Mike Pompeo singled out two rocket attacks in his statement. They were a Dec. 9 attack against an Iraqi military compound at the Baghdad airport that wounded at least five members of Iraq’s Counter-terrorism Service, an elite unit that was established and trained by the U.S. military, and another rocket attack two days later on the airport.
The United States (US) has expressed mounting concern about the flurry of attacks on Iraqi bases used by US troops, several of which it has blamed on Iranian backed Shiite paramilitary groups.
Iran has long been accused by U.S. officials of arming and funding Shiite militias in Iraq.
During the U.S. occupation of Iraq, Iranian-backed militias killed hundreds of U.S. troops, according to U.S. intelligence reports.
Two rocket attacks this week targeted a compound near Baghdad International Airport, which houses US troops, with an incident Wednesday wounding Iraqi troops.
Iran has gained overwhelming influence in Iraq, its neighbor with which it shares a Shiite majority, since the 2003 US invasion brought down Saddam Hussein.
President Donald Trump´s administration, which is close to Iran´s adversaries Saudi Arabia and Israel, has been trying to counter Tehran´s influence around the region, including through sanctions aimed at blocking all its oil exports.