Statement on Iranian-backed Attacks on U.S. Embassy Baghdad

January 3, 2020

On December 31, 2019, Iranian-backed terrorists attacked the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, Iraq.   Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo noted the terrorists posed a risk to American diplomats and personnel inside the embassy.  “This is state-sponsored terror. This is Iranian-backed terrorism that took place that threatened American interests.” Secretary Pompeo stated.  He confirmed the embassy is safe and is being monitored.

At the direction of the President, on January 3 the U.S. military took decisive defensive action to protect U.S. personnel by killing Qasem Soleimani, the head of Quds Force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, a U.S.-designated Foreign Terrorist Organization.  Soleimani was actively developing plans to attack American diplomats and service members in Iraq and throughout the region.  Soleimani had orchestrated attacks on coalition bases in Iraq over the last several months – including the attack on December 27th – culminating in the death of an American and wounding of additional American and Iraqi personnel.  This strike was aimed at deterring future Iranian attack plans.

On December 29, President Trump ordered U.S. airstrikes on Iranian-backed facilities and militias in Iraq and Syria.  These strikes were a defensive action designed to protect American forces and American citizens in Iraq, aimed at deterring Iran.  Since September 2018, the Trump Administration has made clear it will not tolerate attacks on U.S. citizens, its military, or its allies. Secretary of State Pompeo recently issued a stern warning that if any Iran proxies harm Americans or our allies, they will be answered with a decisive U.S. response.

These strikes demonstrate the United States will respond to Iranian threats in Iraq, Syria, or wherever they threaten U.S. interests. As Secretary Pompeo stated in September 2018, “We will not let Iran get away with using a proxy force to attack an American interest: Iran will be held accountable for those incidents.”