Tehran, 17 January, 2024 (GNP): In a significant turn of events, an Iranian missile strike on targets in northern Iraq has triggered a diplomatic dispute between Tehran and Baghdad.
The Iranian Revolutionary Guards claimed responsibility for the attack, stating that they had targeted an Israeli espionage center in Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdistan region. The strike also included operations against the militant Islamic State group in Syria.
The missile strike, which occurred late on Wednesday, marked Iran’s first direct military involvement in the ongoing crisis linked to Gaza. The Revolutionary Guards asserted that the attack was a response to Israeli atrocities against its commanders and those of Iranian-allied forces throughout the Middle East.
The Iraqi Prime Minister, condemned the attack as “clear aggression” against Iraq and deemed it a dangerous development that undermined the strong relationship between Tehran and Baghdad. The Prime Minister declared that Iraq reserved the right to take all legal and diplomatic measures granted by its sovereignty.
Iraq, in protest, has recalled its ambassador from Tehran and summoned Iran’s charge d’affaires in Baghdad. The strike targeted a residential area near the US consulate in Erbil, the capital of Kurdistan, and has been described as a “crime against the Kurdish people” by Iraqi Kurdish Prime Minister Masrour Barzani. Unfortunately, the strike resulted in the loss of civilian lives, including prominent Kurdish businessman Peshraw Dizayee.
Despite Iranian claims that the strike targeted an Israeli espionage center, Iraq’s National Security Adviser Qasim Al Araji denied these allegations, stating that the affected house belonged to an Iraqi businessman.
Israeli government spokesperson Avi Hayman, when questioned about Iran’s assertion, refrained from speculating on the nature of the targeted site. He condemned Iran’s activities and called on the international community to stand up against Iran and advocate for peace in the region.
In response, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Kanaani defended the attack, emphasizing Tehran’s commitment to deterring national security threats. The missile strike also included operations in Syria, targeting alleged “perpetrators of terrorist operations,” including the Islamic State.