Hours after a violent mob attack on U.S. embassy in Baghdad, President Donald trump threatened Iran if any harm comes to Americans or U.S. facilities.
The U.S. president made it clear that he is not just warning the Islamic Republic, he is issuing a clear threat.
Earlier in the day Trump blamed Iran for “orchestrating” an attack on the U.S. embassy in Baghdad, by Iran-backed militia, and said he will hold Tehran responsible.
"Iran killed an American contractor, wounding many. We strongly responded, and always will. Now Iran is orchestrating an attack on the U.S. Embassy in Iraq. They will be held fully responsible. In addition, we expect Iraq to use its forces to protect the Embassy, and so notified!”, Trump tweeted.
Thousands of protesters stormed the U.S. embassy compound in the heavily fortified Green Zone on December 31 in reaction to the airstrikes carried out by the United States in Iraq and Syria.
No evacuations took place according to U.S. officials and there were no reports of any injuries to U.S. personnel.
Iraqi security forces fired tear gas outside and guards inside the compound fired stun grenades in an attempt to break up violent protests.
The AP news agency reported that the embassy's gate door was broken down, and gunshots were heard as demonstrators entered the compound, while video emerged showing protesters setting fire to a wall outside the compound.
In a later tweet, the U.S. President addressed the "many millions of people in Iraq who want freedom and who don’t want to be dominated and controlled by Iran" and said this is their time to act to realize their wishes. This can be seen as a challenge to the Iraqi government, which has been under pressure by protesters to prevent Iran's influence from spreading in the country.
However, in a later tweet Trump thanked Iraq's top leaders for responding to the crisis, saying " Thank you to the President & Prime Minister of Iraq for their rapid response upon request...."
On December 29, the United States said three locations in Iraq and two in Syria were targeted by U.S. forces which included weapons storage facilities and control and command locations used for planning and executing attacks on Operation Inherent Resolve coalition forces.
The "precision defensive strikes" were in response to repeated Kataib Hezbollah attacks on Iraqi bases that house U.S. troops, including one on December 27 that killed a U.S. defense contractor and injured U.S. and Iraqi forces, Chief Pentagon Spokesman Jonathan Hoffman said in a statement on December 29.
Iran and their proxy forces must cease their attacks on U.S. and coalition forces, and respect Iraq’s sovereignty, to prevent additional defensive actions by U.S. forces,” Hoffman added.
The strikes targeted the members of the Iran-backed Kataib Hezbollah militia. The group, which said that 50 militia members were killed and 50 wounded in the attack, has denied being behind the rocket attacks on U.S. bases attacks and vowed revenge.
Reuters reported from Baghdad that on Tuesday the defensive measures around the U.S. embassy injured 12 militiamen who were taking part in the demonstrations.
An Iraqi security commentator in a tweet has said that anti-government protestors in downtown have tried to enter Baghdad’s Green Zone for weeks but were held back with shocking levels of violence by government forces. "But these gentlemen were allowed to stroll into the GZ and walk right up to the American Embassy without a single obstacle in their way. Interesting," he wrote.
In a tweet on Tuesday the U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he has spoken with the President and Prime Minister of Iraq "to reiterate their obligation" to protect U.S. personnel and property.
State Department officials on Monday said the administration of President Trump has decided that it is time to re-establish deterrence against Iranian aggression.
Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi warned on Tuesday against any aggression towards foreign embassies and representations in Baghdad, asking protesters outside the U.S. embassy to leave.
In a statement on December 30 Iraqi Shi'ite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr called on the Iran-backed militias to avoid "irresponsible actions".
The U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in a tweet on December 31 said he had talked with the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and "discussed U.S. defensive strikes in Iraq and Syria to counter Iran’s threats".
"The U.S. will take decisive action to defend its citizens and interests," Pompeo said in this tweet while in another tweet he announced that he had spoken with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and made clear that U.S. action was aimed at deterring Iran and protecting American lives.