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Zarif: Iran missile strikes legitimate self-defense against US terrorism

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif gestures at the Tehran Dialogue Forum in the Iranian capital on January 7, 2018. (Photo by Fars)

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says Iran’s missile attack on American bases in Iraq was an act of “legitimate self-defense” against “legitimate targets” in response to the terrorist act perpetrated by the US military and the targeted killing of prominent commander Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani.

Speaking at the end of a cabinet meeting in Tehran on Wednesday, Zarif said the Islamic Republic had targeted a US military base, which had previously acted against General Soleimani and the resistance front.

The base hit was “a legitimate target under international law” that was struck in response to the US act of terrorism, said the minister. “We communicated a message to Americans immediately after the operation via the country’s interests section in Iran.”

In the early hours of Wednesday, Iran launched tens of missiles at two bases housing US troops in Iraq’s western Anbar Province and Kurdistan regional capital, Erbil, in revenge for the assassination of General Soleimani and his companions.

Tehran says its missiles precisely hit their targets, with initial reports of casualties.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran had to react militarily against the US measure, which it did. But this is not the end of our job. The end is to be the US pullout [from the region], which does not require military action,” Zarif said, adding that this will come about as a result of  of Washington’s own “stupid” move to carry out the targeted killings.

Zarif said the extent of public hatred towards the US shows the country’s days in the region are numbered and it will have no future there.

The top Iranian diplomat also highlighted reactions of the regional countries to General Soleimani’s assassination, saying this indicated that they were “highly concerned about the very dangerous US adventurism.”

Referring to the Tehran Dialogue Forum, which was held in the Iranian capital on Tuesday, Zarif said Tehran told the participants that while the US is after warmongering, Iran has always been pursuing dialog in the region.

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