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Iran distances itself from attacks on US troops

Written by The Anand Market

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Iran distanced itself Monday from an attack that killed three U.S. soldiers as domestic pressure mounted on President Joe Biden to respond against Tehran.

A day after the United States accused “radical militant groups backed by Iran” of being responsible for the drone attack on a military base in northeastern Jordan, the Iranian Foreign Ministry denied any connection with the attack.

The department said accusations of Iranian involvement in the deaths of American personnel were “baseless,” calling them a “plot” by those “interested in drawing the United States into a new conflict in the region to intensify the crisis.

IRNA, Iran’s official news agency, cited Tehran’s mission to the UN as saying that the Islamic Republic had “no connection with these attacks, and the clashes were between the US military and resistance groups from the region, which confront each other reciprocally.

This is the first time that American soldiers have been killed in an attack in the Middle East since the start of the war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza in October.

In response, top Republicans in Congress called for direct strikes against Iran. “Hit Iran now. Hit them hard,” Sen. Lindsey Graham wrote on X, while Sen. John Cornyn wrote, “Target Tehran.”

In a post on his Truth Social network, former President Donald Trump called the attack “a horrible and tragic consequence of Joe Biden’s weakness and capitulation” but called for no specific action. “We are on the brink of a Third World War,” he added.

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The attack, which U.S. defense officials said also injured at least 34 service members, hit the Tower 22 outpost near the Jordan-Syria border, which is home to 350 U.S. troops as part of the coalition against ISIS.

US forces in Syria and Iraq have been the target of repeated attacks by a newly created group of Iran-backed militias known as the Islamic Resistance in Iraq, which claims to be acting in retaliation. to Washington’s support for Israel’s war against Hamas in Gaza.

The United States responded by carrying out airstrikes on installations linked to Iraqi militias.

“Iran probably calculates that the United States is reluctant to respond and engage in regional-scale conflict,” said Jonathan Panikoff, a former senior intelligence official now at the Atlantic Council.

“The facts on the ground demonstrate that it is increasingly difficult to avoid regional conflict, regardless of US desires, and that the United States is now a prime target. This should at least prompt the Biden administration to reconsider its view of the nature of the current conflict.”

The IRI said Sunday it used armed drones to attack three military bases with U.S. personnel in Syria, including one across the border from the Tower 22 outpost. clear if this is the attack that killed the three American soldiers.

tower22 jordan map

Biden promised that the United States would “hold accountable all those responsible at a time and in a manner of our choosing.”

Oil prices briefly rose more than 1 percent in early trading Monday after the White House announcement, before falling again.

Brent crude, the international benchmark, was down 0.4 percent at $83.18 a barrel. The equivalent US benchmark, West Texas Intermediate, fell 0.4 percent to trade at $77.71 a barrel.

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Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Kanaani accused the United States of “largely supporting the genocide of Palestinians” in Gaza as well as bombings and attacks on anti-Israel groups in Iraq, in Syria and Yemen which “exacerbated this cycle of instability”.

Iran demanded “an immediate ceasefire” which “can pave the way for the return of calm to the region”, he added.

Sunday’s attack comes as the war between Israel and Hamas has sparked an escalation of violence in the region, despite Washington’s goal of preventing that war from escalating into a broader conflict. Iran has also insisted it wants to avoid a regional war and said the militant groups it supports act independently.

This month, the US military killed a high-ranking commander of Harakat al-Nujaba, an Iran-backed militia in Iraq. Washington called the action “self-defense” after the faction carried out attacks against American personnel. Experts believe that Harakat al-Nujaba is one of the most influential factions of the IRI. The United States has about 2,500 troops in Iraq and about 900 in Syria, where they are deployed to prevent a resurgence of ISIS.

The US and UK have also coordinated joint strikes against Houthi targets in Yemen in response to the Iran-backed rebel group’s attacks on ships sailing in the Red Sea, a key shipping lane for trade global.

Iran-backed Houthi rebels said their attacks on shipping lanes were a response to Israel’s bombardment of the Gaza Strip since its war against Hamas began in October. The Houthis have carried out more than 30 attacks on international and commercial ships since mid-November.

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Additional reporting by William Sandlund in Hong Kong and Najmeh Bozorgmehr in Tehran