Iran 'concludes' attack, says foreign minister; 'All is well,' tweets Trump

Iran 'concludes' attack, says Foreign Minister; 'All is well', tweets Trump
The slain commander Qassem Soleimani (L), US President Donald Trump (R)

Tehran: Iran on Wednesday said it had carried out and "concluded" its reprisal over the killing of top Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani when it targeted US forces in Iraq with a missile strike.

"Iran took and concluded proportionate measures in self-defence" targeting a base from which a "cowardly armed attack against our citizens and senior officials" was launched, said Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Twitter.

"We do not seek escalation or war, but will defend ourselves against any aggression,” the Minister added. Iran's Revolutionary Guards too have warned the US that any retaliatory measures would draw a renewed response.

A senior official in supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's office also added that the missile attacks on the US airbase had been the “weakest” of the Iranian revenge scenarios.

According to an Iranian state television, at least 80 "American terrorists" were killed in the attack. US helicopters and military equipments too were severely damaged.

'All is well,' tweets Trump

US President Donald Trump, in his first reaction after Iran's missile attack on two American bases in Iraq, insisted that "all is well" and promised to make a statement to the nation soon.

Shortly after the missile attacks, Trump tweeted, "All is well! Missiles launched from Iran at two military bases located in Iraq. Assessment of casualties & damages taking place now. So far, so good! We have the most powerful and well-equipped military anywhere in the world, by far! I will be making a statement tomorrow morning."

Trump's tweet came after his reported meeting with his national security team, including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defence Secretary Mark Esper.

Meanwhile, the Democratic party leadership continued to blame Trump for the escalating tensions in the Middle East.

"What's happening in Iraq and Iran today was predictable. Not exactly what's happening but the chaos that's ensuing," former US vice president Joe Biden said, blaming the situation on Trump's decisions of withdrawing from the Iran nuclear deal and ordering the missile strike in which Iranian general Soleimani was killed.

"Some of the things he's (Trump) done and said in the meantime have been close to ludicrous, including threatening to bomb holy sites...I just pray to God as he goes through what's happening, as we speak, that he's listening to his military commanders for the first time because so far that has not been the case," the Democratic presidential contender said.

On Tuesday, Trump threatened Iran of dangerous consequences in the event of an attack from them.

"If Iran does anything that they shouldn't be doing, they are going to be suffering the consequences, and very strongly," he told reporters at the White House.

Prompted by the strong public backlash over Soleimani's killing on Iraqi soil, lawmakers in Iraq voted on Sunday to demand the removal of all foreign forces from the country.

Despite Iraq voting on Sunday demanding the removal of all foreign forces from the country, more than 5,000 US troops remain in Iraq still along with other foreign forces as part of a coalition that has trained and backed up Iraqi security forces against the threat of Islamic State militants.

Soleimani, a 62-year-old general, was Tehran's pre-eminent military commander and - as head of the Quds Force, the foreign arm of the Revolutionary Guards - the architect of Iran's spreading influence in the Middle East.

US officials have said Soleimani was killed because of solid intelligence indicating forces under his command planned attacks on US targets in the region.

India asks citizens to avoid non-essential travel to Iraq

The government on Wednesday issued a travel advisory, asking citizens to avoid non-essential travel to Iraq in view of prevailing situation in the Gulf country.

"In view of the prevailing situation in Iraq, Indian nationals are advised to avoid all non-essential travel to Iraq until further notification," the advisory by Ministry of External Affairs said.

It said Indian nationals residing in Iraq are advised to be alert and may avoid travel within Iraq.

"Our Embassy in Baghdad and Consulate in Erbil will continue to function normally to provide all services to Indians residing in Iraq," according to MEA.

DGCA asks airlines to be vigilant in airspace over Iran, Iraq, Gulf of Oman, waters of Persian Gulf

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) on Wednesday asked Indian airline companies to remain vigilant and take all precautions in airspace over Iran, Iraq, Gulf of Oman and waters of Persian Gulf, hours after a Ukrainian International airlines carrying 180 passengers crashed near Tehran in Iran.

US aviation regulator FAA has also asked all US airlines to stop operating in the airspace over Iraq, Iran, and the waters of the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman due to "events in Middle East".

(With inputs from agencies)

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