February 25, 2020
Washington warned on Monday that the Iranian regime would be held accountable for any action by ‘the Shia militias’ in Iraq against US interests, and reminded Tehran to take those warnings ‘seriously’.
“We’re still going to do everything we can to deter the Shia militias from attacking us. We also obviously saw as it started with the attacks that were sponsored by Iranian militias … attacking our embassy back in the beginning of the year. And now, we’re starting to see and continue to see more of this activity start to creep up again,” US State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus said in an interview with Al-Arabiya.
The Americans’ resolve to protect its interest in Iraq, according to Ortagus, was proven when a targeted drone attack killed Gen. Qassem Soleimani, Iran’s top general and the architect of Tehran’s proxy wars in the Middle East, on January 3.
The strike also killed Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis, deputy commander of Iran-backed militias in Iraq known as the Popular Mobilization Forces, and five others.
“The Iranian regime should know that we will hold them accountable for any actions that their Shia militias take in Iraq,” Al-Arabiya reported Ortagus as saying. “We were serious at the beginning of the year when we warned them on this before we killed Qassem Soleimani and we’re serious about it now, and they need to take those warnings seriously.”
The US State Department spokesperson also reaffirmed US support for the Iraqi people following protests that erupted against the country’s largely Iran-backed ruling elite.
“One of the things that is most important for us is that the killing of innocent protesters in Iraq,” Ortagus said. “You know, we have seen a lot of protests around Iraq, and we understand that people are frustrated with their government. It’s one of the reasons that you’ve seen a change in leadership and that we saw the last prime minister resign.”