RNA - Russia has severely censured US threat to assassinate Brigadier General Esmaeil Qa’ani, the new commander of the Quds Force of Iran's Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), as “unacceptable.”
“I state once again that such statements are unacceptable for us. Such remarks have been made beyond rights and law, and representatives of world states are not entitled to utter them,” the Arabic service of Russia’s Sputnik news agency quoted Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova as saying at a news briefing in the capital Moscow on Thursday.
Earlier in the day, Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Seyyed Abbas Mousavi denounced Washington’s assassination threat against Brig. Gen. Qa’ani, stating that the latest remarks by US Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook “are an official publicizing and blatant unveiling of targeted and state terrorism by the United States."
“Now, after the Zionist regime [of Israel], the US is the second regime to officially announce that it has employed the resources of its government and armed forces for terrorist acts and that it will continue them in the future,” Mousavi added.
The Iranian diplomat further noted that Washington’s recourse to terrorist acts is a clear sign of "weakness, desperation, and confusion" among the officials of the American regime.
Mousavi then condemned "brazen remarks and terrorist acts" by US leaders, calling on the international community to also condemn them, "because the continuation of this trend would sooner or later befall everyone."
Hook told the Arabic-language and Saudi-owned daily Asharq al-Awsat that the new Quds Force commander could face the fate of his predecessor, Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani, who was assassinated along with the second-in-command of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, and their companions near Baghdad International Airport on January 3.
In a message addressed to Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Khamenei on January 9, Brig. Gen. Qa'ani vowed to continue the path pursued by Lt. Gen. Soleimani “with might.” He said the goal was to drive American forces out of the region.
On January 8, IRGC fired a number of ballistic missiles at al-Asad Air Base in Iraq’s western province of Andar, where more than 1,000 US troops are based, and another American military facility in Kurdistan’s regional capital Erbil
The attack was in retaliation for US President Donald Trump’s authorization of a drone strike that assassinated Lt. Gen. Soleimani and his companions earlier this month.
Fox News television news network claimed at the time that there was no US missile system in position to shoot down the Iranian missiles.
Last week, eleven US soldiers were flown from Iraq to US medical facilities in Germany and Kuwait for further evaluation of concussion-like symptoms in the wake of the Iranian missile attack.
Navy Capt. Bill Urban, spokesman for US Central Command, which oversees military operations across the Middle East, confirmed on Tuesday evening the additional evacuations but did not say how many were included.
“As medical treatment and evaluations in theater continue, additional service members have been identified as having potential injuries,” Urban said.
“These service members – out of an abundance of caution – have been transported to Landstuhl, Germany, for further evaluations and necessary treatment on an outpatient basis. Given the nature of injuries already noted, it is possible additional injuries may be identified in the future,” he added.