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‘Harsher revenge’: Revolutionary Guards commander vows it’s not over after Iranian missile strikes on US forces in Iraq

A senior Iranian military commander has promised further action against the United States, a day after Tehran launched missiles at two bases housing US troops in Iraq.

Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) commander Abdollah Araghi said that Iran would take “harsher revenge soon,” without specifying what that might entail, Tasnim news agency reported on Thursday.

The Iranian strike was not intended to lead to casualties among US or Iraqi personnel deployed at these bases. The pattern of damage caused to the Ayn al-Assad airbase also allows to suggest the missile warheads’ payload was much smaller than it could be. In this case, the strike was first of all a strong military (!) message to the US military and political leadership.

Iran’s semi-official Tashim news agency citing own sources said the IRGC employed Qiam (the range – 800km) and Fateh-313 (the range – 500 km) short-range ballistic missiles. However, photos and videos appearing oline demonstrate a bit different picture. According to them, that the IRGC in fact employed Qiam and Zolfaghar (the range – up to 800km) missiles.

Open data suggests that the missile launches were made from Iran’s Kirmasan province. One of the largest Iranian missile bases is located  near Kirmasan city.

The Iraqi military said that 22 missiles were launched. 17 of them hit the Ain al-Asad air base, including 2 missiles that did not explode, and 5 missiles hit the US facility in the city of Erbil.

The US military said that 10 missiles hit the Ayn al-Assad airbase, a misile struck the US facility in Erbil and 4 missiles failed. The Pentagon, and later US President Donald Trump, denied any casualties among US or Iraqi personnel.

Satellite images and visual evidence from the ground demonstrate that the strike was preceise and caused a visible impact to the Ayn al-Assad airbase. The close grouping of destroyed targets serves as a visual demonstration of the accuracy of the Iranian missiles.

Earlier, President Hassan Rouhani said that Iran’s ultimate goal, in retaliation against the assassination of Quds Force commander Qassem Soleimani, is the complete removal of US forces from the region.

Iran’s supreme leader described the missile strike as a “slap in the face” for the US, but said that the attack was not “sufficient” to remove “the corrupting presence of America in the region.”

Tehran defended the strikes as a legitimate act of self-defense. US President Donald Trump said that Washington would respond with more sanctions while reserving the right to take further military action against Iran in the future.

The escalation has prompted calls from the international community for an easing of US-Iran tensions.

Header: Members of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards march during a military parade ©  REUTERS/Morteza Nikoubazl