Threat From Iran to US Forces Remains ‘Significant’

Iranian-backed militia pose a “significant” threat to US forces in Iraq, the State Department’s top diplomat for the Middle East said on Thursday, about a week after U.S. President Donald Trump warned of an attack by Iran or its proxies.

David Schenker, assistant secretary of Near Eastern Affairs, did not give details about the threat, but told reporters in a teleconference: “It continues to be significant.” Iran-backed paramilitary groups have regularly been shelling bases in Iraq that host US forces, and the area around the US embassy in Baghdad.

On Monday, three Katyusha rockets landed near a district in southern Iraq that houses workers for foreign oil companies, including US oil service company Halliburton. No casualties or damage were reported.

Last week, Trump said Iran or its proxies planned a sneak attack on US targets in Iraq, and warned they would pay a “very heavy price” but gave no details.

US-Iranian relations have been bitter since the Islamic Revolution toppled the US-backed shah of Iran in 1979 and ushered in an era of theocratic rule. While there was a detente with the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, relations have deteriorated with Trump’s decision nearly two years ago to abandon that international agreement and reimpose US sanctions that have crippled the Iranian economy.

Read More: Jerusalem Post