In Depth

‘Harsher revenge’: Iran threatens further attacks against US

Warning follows Donald Trump’s claim that Tehran ‘standing down’ following missile strikes

Iranian military leaders have shot down Donald Trump’s bid to de-escalate tensions with Tehran by warning that “harsher revenge” may still be to come for the assassination of General Qasem Soleimani.

The threat follows Iranian missile strikes on two US military bases in Iraq in the early hours of Wednesday. Revolutionary Guards commander Abdollah Araghi told the Tehran-based Tasnim news agency that further aggressions would follow if the US targets Iranian interests in the Middle East.

In a televised address from the White House yesterday, Donald Trump claimed that Iran appeared to be “standing down” in the wake of the air base bombings. But Araghi’s warning has been echoed by a number of other high-profile figures in both the Iranian military and government.

The chief of staff of Iran’s Armed Forces, Major General Mohammad Bagheri, warned that the missile attacks were only a part of his nation’s “capabilities”, according to semi-official Iranian state media Mehr News Agency.

“It is time that the wicked US leaders understand the capabilities of the Islamic Republic and adopt a wise policy and pull their troops out of the region as soon as possible,” he said.

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has also warned that stronger responses are available to Tehran than the missile attacks in Iraq, which he described as a “slap in the face” for the US.

“Military action like this is not sufficient,” Khamenei said in a televised speech on Wednesday morning. “What is important is ending the corrupting presence of America in the region.”

US officials say that no American or Iraqi lives were lost in this week’s missile attacks. But while ruling out military action by his forces, Trump has promised a “ratcheting up of economic sanctions against Iran”, CNN reports.

In his speech on Wednesday, the president said that additional sanctions would stay in place until the Islamic Republic “changes its behaviour”, but did not clarify what shape those sanctions would take. 

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