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Iran "strongly" condemns US attacks in Syria and Iraq

An Iranian spokesman accused the United States of "aggravating tensions and instability in the region" with its military response to the killing of three American soldiers by Tehran-backed militias.

Several F-16 flying.

(Wikimedia Commons)

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Iran publicly condemned U.S. bombings against pro-Iran militias in Syria and Iraq. The attacks were carried out early this Saturday in response to the death of three American soldiers in Jordan.

Nasser Kanani, spokesman for the Iranian Foreign Ministry, "strongly" condemned the air response. AFP reported that he described it as a "violation of sovereignty" and a "strategic error." He also claimed that it would only serve to "aggravate tensions and instability in the region."

Iraq claimed that the attacks in the west of the country left 16 dead, some of them civilians. This was reported by government spokesman Bassem al Awadi who also stated that the security of his country and the region was "on the brink" and that Washington had not coordinated the military response with Baghdad.

The Syrian army claimed that the missiles killed "a number of civilians and soldiers, wounded others, and caused significant damage to public and private property," according to a statement released by the same agency. They protested "the occupation of parts of Syrian territory by U.S. forces."

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) said in a statement that the airstrikes killed 18 members of Iranian-backed armed groups. "Iranian militias imposed a security cordon on the positions targeted by American aircraft," the SOHR said. It revealed that there was "an intense flight by American drones" monitoring the situation in the Syrian city of Al-Bokamal, near the Iraqi border.

President Biden said in a statement that attacks against proxy militias would continue "at times and places of our choosing. The United States does not seek conflict in the Middle East or anywhere else in the world," he added, before declaring:

But let all those who might seek to do us harm know this: If you harm an American, we will respond.

Protecting shipping

While attacking targets in Syrian and Iraqi territory by air, the Armed Forces also continued their maritime operations.

U.S. Central Command reported Saturday that the destroyer USS Carney (DDG 64) shot down an unmanned aerial vehicle over the Gulf of Aden. Later, U.S. forces also destroyed four other similar vehicles that were in areas of Yemen controlled by the Iranian-backed Houthi militia. Hours later the USS Laboon (DDG 58) assisted in the destruction of seven more UAVs over the Red Sea, bringing the total to a dozen.

Sanctions against companies and officials

On the other hand, the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) announced on Friday that it was imposing sanctions on six Iranian officials for cyber espionage activities. Those sanctioned were part of the cyber command of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard of Iran (IRGC).

"The deliberate targeting of critical infrastructure by Iranian cyber actors is an unconscionable and dangerous act," Treasury Undersecretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian Nelson said in a statement. "The United States will not tolerate such actions and will use the full range of our tools and authorities to hold the perpetrators to account."

Five companies linked to Iran were added to the list of those sanctioned by OFAC.