Iran denies involvement in Iraq attacks, more attacks hours later

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Iran says “it wasn’t us,” in relation to new attacks on US bases over the past months.

Pro-Iranian militias are accused of attack Erbil on February 15 and then Balad air base and then Al-Asad base, where US forces are located. The attack on Al-Asad took place on March 3. Iran also attacked the same base in January 2020 with ballistic missiles after the US killed IRGC Quds Force head Qasem Soleimani.

Now it appears Balad Air base has been attacked. The base is north of Baghdad. Reports says seven rockets for fired. It was not clear if there were casualties. The base has been a target before, particularly in 2019. The US withdrew from most bases in Iraq in 2020 after tensions with Iran grew. Hours before the attack on Balad Iran said it didn’t carry out the other attacks.

”Iran has denied any involvement in the recent attacks against the US-occupied military bases in Iraq, but at the same time denounced the American airstrikes against Iraqi forces as a violation of international law,” Press TV in Iran says. “In a letter to UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres and the rotating president of the UN Security Council, Iran’s ambassador to the UN Majid Takht-Ravanchi categorically denied his American counterpart’s efforts to accuse Iran of supporting the so-called ‘non-governmental militia groups’ in Iraq.”

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Iran is protesting a bit too much it seems in saying it wasn’t Tehran. “The Islamic Republic of Iran has not been directly or indirectly involved in any armed attack against any US individual or body in Iraq,” Iran claimed. “Therefore, we deny any claim about our implicit or explicit involvement in attacks against American forces in Iraq. Such allegations are totally baseless, invalid, and false,” the Iranian envoy added.

Iran also notes that “earlier this month, a US contractor died after at least 10 rockets slammed into Ain al-Asad, a US-occupied air base in western Iraq.”

According to reports on March 15, seven rockets targeted an Iraqi air base housing US troops north of Baghdad on Monday, a security source said. “The evening attack on Al-Balad did not cause any casualties or damage inside the base, the security official said, according to Arab News. “The other five rockets crashed into a nearby village, he added, noting that all seven were fired from a separate village in the neighboring province of Diyala, east of the base.”

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It is unclear if the rockets were the usual Iranian-supplied 107mm that are used by pro-Iranian groups in Iraq to attack the US. A logistics convoy that supplies US forces was targeted on March 13 in Iraq. Another was targeted on March 11. This appears to be a systematic Iranian-backed campaign against the US in Iraq. Like the attacks on Saudi Arabia from Yemen, Iran is trying to set the region alight.

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