‘Think it over’
US President Donald Trump has warned he would hold "Iran responsible" in the event of a fatal attack on Americans in Iraq, as the first anniversary of the killing of a top Iranian general in a US air strike approaches.
"Our embassy in Baghdad got hit Sunday by several rockets," Trump said on Twitter on Wednesday, referring to an attack that caused damage but no deaths.
"Guess where they came from: IRAN," he added.
"Now we hear chatter of additional attacks against Americans in Iraq," he added, before offering "some friendly health advice to Iran: if one American is killed, I will hold Iran responsible. Think it over," he said.
Responding to Trump, the Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javid Zarif yesterday tweeted : "Putting your own citizens at risk abroad won't divert attention from catastrophic failures at home."
He also attached an image of years-old Trump tweets that claimed ex-president Barack Obama would have started a war with Iran to win re-election, as well as a screengrab of a graph that purported to show the severity of the coronavirus pandemic in the US.
Trump ordered the drone attack on January 3, 2020 to kill the powerful Iranian general while he was in Baghdad. The air strike came after Iranian-backed militias had fired rockets at US targets in Iraq, in a scenario echoed by the latest strikes against the US embassy.
After Soleimani's killing, the entire region held its breath in anticipation of an uncontrolled escalation which ultimately did not materialize. But tensions are rising again as the first anniversary of the strike nears and the US leader -- in his final weeks in office -- is sticking to his "maximum pressure" approach toward the Iranian regime.