Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corp (IRGC) fired missiles into a Kurdistan city, the autonomous region of Iraq, on March 12.
The strike was initially reported to have targeted a US consulate.
The Iranian group said the strike was in response to the killing, in Syria, of four people, including two members of the IRGC. Iran said the attack was directed at Israelis.
The US has reported the missile strike did not kill anyone. The attack on a “civilian residence” was carried out “without any justification”.
US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said the US backed Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi and the leaders of the Kurdistan region, President Nechirvan Barzani and Prime Minister Masrour Barzani. They have condemned the attack.
“We will support the government of Iraq in holding Iran accountable, and we will support our partners throughout the Middle East in confronting similar threats from Iran,” Sullivan said. “The United States of America stands behind the full sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity of Iraq.”
A State Department spokesperson, Ned Price said that US facilities “had not been damaged or personnel injured”. There is “no indication the attack was directed at the United States”.
Al-Kadhimi arrived in Kurdistan this morning to hold talks with the local administration.
I received PM @MAKadhimi and Iraqi ministers in Erbil to discuss yesterday's despicable attacks and closely see the damage to civilian areas.
We're in absolute agreement that the repeated attacks on Iraq's sovereignty must stop -mb. pic.twitter.com/UdiS8u7s8v
— Masrour Barzani (@masrour_barzani) March 14, 2022
Secretary of State Antony Blinken talked to Al-Kadhimi and Kurdistan’s Barzani on March 13.
Barzani said it was a “brazen violation of Iraq’s sovereignty”. There have been a “fabricated set of false narratives used repeatedly in recent years in attacks on Erbil”, he said. Barzani went on to call for the US to do more to support Kurdistan.
Iraq has demanded answers from Iran and summoned the Iranian ambassador.
Barzani and Al-Kadhimi inspected the site where the missiles struck.
— المكتب الإعلامي لرئيس الوزراء 🇮🇶 (@IraqiPMO) March 14, 2022
The IRGC, in a statement reported by Iran’s Fars News agency, said it had carried out the strike on the “strategic centre of Zionist conspiracy and evil”.
Attacks by the Israeli government would “not go unanswered”, it said. “Once again, we warn the criminal Zionist regime that the repetition of any evil will face harsh, decisive and destructive responses,” the IRGC statement said.
Fars reported the attack had targeted “secret Mossad bases” in Erbil. The IRGC claimed that the attack had killed several Israelis.
The US and Israel have not confirmed the presence of Israeli agents at the site.
The attack comes at a time when talks on easing sanctions of Iranian oil exports are at a critical time. Officials said talks had “paused” on March 11. The US pulled out of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in 2018.
Russia has made some requests that other parties to the talks, the US and European Union, have opposed. Russia has asked that its contracts with Iran be exempt from any future sanctions.