President Trump asserted that “Iran is orchestrating an attack on the U.S. Embassy in Iraq. They will be held fully responsible. In addition, we expect Iraq to use its forces to protect the embassy, and so notified!” He also tweeted: “to those many millions of people in Iraq who want freedom and who don’t want to be dominated and controlled by Iran, this is your time!” Later in the day, Trump indicated that the facility “is, and has been for hours… safe”, adding that “Iran will be held fully responsible for lives lost, or damage incurred, at any of our facility. They will pay a very big price! This is not a warning, it is a threat”. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo spoke with Iraq’s senior leadership and underscored that “the U.S. will protect and defend its people”. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper stated that “we have taken appropriate force protection actions to ensure the safety of American citizens, military personnel and diplomats in country, and to ensure our right of self-defence. We are sending additional forces to support our personnel at the embassy”. “We rely on host nation forces to assist in the protection of our personnel in country, and we call on the government of Iraq to fulfill its international responsibilities to do so”, he added.
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