Middle East/North Africa

Iranian foreign minister alleges that Israel wants to instigate a war


Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Saturday took to Twitter to warn President Trump to not be trapped by alleged attempts from Israel to provoke a war through attacks on U.S. forces. 

The Trump administration has blamed Iran for regular rocket attacks on U.S. bases in Iraq, including near the U.S. Embassy, though no Iranian-backed group has claimed responsibility, Reuters reported. 

“New intelligence from Iraq indicate that Israeli agent-provocateurs are plotting attacks against Americans—putting an outgoing Trump in a bind with a fake casus belli [act justifying war],” Zarif tweeted Saturday. 

“Be careful of a trap, @realDonaldTrump. Any fireworks will backfire badly,” he added.

Israel did not immediately comment on Zarif’s accusations Saturday, according to Reuters. 

The tweet comes ahead of Sunday’s one-year anniversary of the U.S. killing of top Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani by a drone strike in Iraq. 

National security officials have signaled concerns that Iran may be planning a retaliatory attack on the anniversary, prompting the U.S. military to fly two B-52H bombers over the Persian Gulf on Wednesday in an effort to deter Iran. 

The deployment marked the third such mission into the region in the past 45 days. 

A senior U.S. military official told reporters ahead of the flight that a recent U.S. intelligence report indicates that Iran wants to “avenge that killing” and has “potential for other more complex attacks” against Americans in Iraq, Fox News reported.

“We’re seeing planning for, particularly in Iraq, for complex attacks that require Iranian assistance in order to be pulled off,” the official told the news outlet. 

On Thursday, Zarif issued a tweet accusing Trump of attempting to create a “pretext for war.” 

“Instead of fighting Covid in US, @realDonaldTrump & cohorts waste billions to fly B52s & send armadas to OUR region. Intelligence from Iraq indicate plot to FABRICATE pretext for war,” Zarif wrote. “Iran doesn’t seek war but will OPENLY & DIRECTLY defend its people, security & vital interests.” 

This was followed on Friday by Iranian commander Esmail Ghaani saying at an anniversary event for Soleimani’s death that Iran was ready to retaliate for the strike against the general. Ghaani replaced Soleimani as the leader of the Quds force after the general died last year. 

“From inside your own house, there may emerge someone who will retaliate for your crime,” he said at the event at Tehran University, according to Reuters. “American mischief will not deter the Quds force from carrying on its resistance path.” 

Last month, the U.S. confirmed it was temporarily removing some staff from its embassy in Baghdad ahead of the anniversary of Soleimani’s death.

Tags Assassination of Qasem Soleimani deterrence Donald Trump Iran Iran retaliation Iraq Israel Mohammad Javad Zarif Reuters Trump Administration Twitter
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