Iran’s foreign ministry Wednesday warned about American “military moves” in Iraq leading to “disastrous instability” in the region. The official warning came after expressions of concern by Iranian officials and allegation of U.S. preparing some sort of military operation.
The ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi sounded the warning in reaction to reports and speculations about a possible U.S. attack on Iran’s militia proxy forces in Iraq.
Mousavi renewed a call by Iran that American forces should leave Iraq in accordance with “demands by the people and government” of the country and should refrain from “creating tensions in the region”.
In the past week, the U.S. has relocated part of its forces out of some of Iraqi military bases.
In the meantime, reports said on Monday the U.S. increased the number of its Patriot anti-air defense systems around Iraqi military bases where American troops are deployed.
One of the Patriot batteries was deployed to the Ain al-Asad base last week and was being assembled, according to a U.S. defense official and an Iraqi military source, AFP reported on Monday.
The New York Times and Washington Post also reported in recent days that Pentagon was planning possible retaliation against Iraqi paramilitaries allied with the Islamic Republic.
"Annihilation of Kata'ib Hezbollah (Hezbollah Brigades), in particular, is on Pentagon's agenda," New York Times reported.
In recent months, the Iran-backed Iraqi militia groups have intensified their attacks on the U.S. military and diplomatic targets.
According to AFP, Iraq's caretaker prime minister Adel Abdul Mahdi warned on Monday against any "offensive military action without the approval of the Iraqi government" but did not specifically mention the Patriots.
On March 31, the Islamic Revolution Guard Corps (IRGC) also issued warnings and vowed retaliation if the U.S. attacks any targets in Iraq.