Iran’s supreme leader on Wednesday expressed his disapproval of a recent series of U.S. airstrikes on various Iranian-backed militia group targets in Iraq that led to the deaths of dozens of their fighters.
According to The Hill, it was reported by Iranian state television that Ayatollah Ali Khamenei spoke out against the attacks, which were authorized by President Donald Trump and retaliatory in nature, given that the Iran-backed Kataib Hezbollah militia group were reportedly responsible for an earlier attack that left one U.S. contractor dead and several U.S. troops injured.
“The Iranian government, nation and I strongly condemn the attacks,” Khamenei reportedly said.
He then doubled down on his anti-Trump rant in tweet rant, blasting the U.S. president with regard to the United States’ foreign policy and intervention in Middle Eastern countries.
“You cannot do a damn thing. If you were logical, which you are not, you would see that your crimes in Iraq and other countries have made nations hate you,” Khamenei wrote.
“If Iran decides to confront a country, we will do that openly… If anyone threatens our nation’s interests we will fight back… without any hesitation,” he added.
Supporters of the Iran-backed militia became angered in the wake of the retaliatory U.S. airstrikes and launched mass protests outside of the U.S. embassy in Baghdad, which morphed into violence as the protesters damaged the building with various makeshift weapons. The protesters also broke down one of the gates protecting the main reception area of the embassy and chanted “Death to America!” in the process.
They’re in reception area. Smoke seen in other videos. Hezbollah refusing calls to leave vicinity: pic.twitter.com/Kz1rMuxxcy
— Joyce Karam (@Joyce_Karam) December 31, 2019
Reports began to emerge on Wednesday that the angry mobs of pro-militia protesters began to retreat, as The Hill reported. The retreat came on the heels of a show of U.S. military force as reinforcements were sent in to bolster embassy security, with thousands of troops on standby as a precautionary measure.
A Kataib Hezbollah official announced that the reason for the retreat, however, was because the protest was a victory, declaring that if Iraq didn’t push to have U.S. military forces removed from the area, that they would return for more chaos.
“We will take our fight to expel U.S. troops from our land to parliament, and if we don’t succeed, we will return,” said militia spokesman Mohammed Mohyee.
Trump condemned Iran in a New Year’s Eve tweet, blaming them for the embassy violence while vowing to hold the country “fully responsible” for the unrest. He also called on Iraqi security forces to assist U.S. troops in defending the embassy grounds.