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Updated January 31st, 2024 at 19:55 IST

Iran Threatens to ‘Decisively Respond’ to Any US Strikes as Biden Weighs Response

Iran’s general in charge of air defenses said they were at “highest defensive readiness,” sparking concerns about commercial planes in its airspace.

Zaini Majeed
Iran US Biden Jordan strike war
Iran's President Ebrahim Raisi and US President Joe Biden. | Image:AP
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Iran on Tuesday threatened the United States with “decisive response” warning retaliatory strikes should the Biden administration attack the Islamic Republic or its armed forces. The warnings came as US President Joe Biden on Tuesday said that he had made a decision on how to respond to the drone attack at the Al-Tanf base on the border of Jordan and Syria. 

Biden told reporters in Washington that Iran bears responsibility for funding the proxy group that carried out the attack on US forces. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said at a presser that the response “could well be multi-leveled, it could come in stages, and it could be sustained over time.”

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“I do hold them [Iranians] responsible in the sense that they’re supplying the weapons to the people who did it,” Biden said. He added, “I don’t think we need a wider war in the Middle East. That’s not what I’m looking for." 

.@DeptofDefense briefing – LIVE online here: https://t.co/hQrhuzonos

— CSPAN (@cspan) January 30, 2024

Biden has been linking the “despicable” attack on US base outpost to Iran, who he accuses of funding the proxies in the Middle East. Iraq based Iranian backed proxy launched four separate drone strikes on at least three US bases. A UAV struck the T-22 outpost at Al-Tanf facility killing three American troops and injuring 34 or more, according to US CENTCOM's statement.

President Biden on Iran: "I do hold them responsible in a sense that they're supplying the weapons to the people who did it...I don't think we need a wider war in the Middle East. That's not what I'm looking for." pic.twitter.com/mcviToXzgJ

— CSPAN (@cspan) January 30, 2024

Iran’s military on ‘highest defensive readiness’

Iran’s foreign ministry, in its initial statement, denied having anything to do with attack. The armed regional militia factions do not consult Islamic Republic, it clarified, adding that the Iranian government does not participate, neither is consulted in their decision making process.

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“Iran had no connection and had nothing to do with the attack on the US base,” a statement published by Iran’s mission to the UN, cited by state news agency IRNA, said. “There is a conflict between US forces and resistance groups in the region, which reciprocate retaliatory attacks,” the added.

This satellite photo from Planet Labs PBC shows a military base known as Tower 22. (Planet Labs PBC via AP)

Iran’s general in charge of air defenses said that they were at their “highest defensive readiness,” sparking concerns about the commercial aviation traveling through and over the Iranian airspace.

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In 2020, after the administration of the former US President Donald Trump ordered a drone strike which killed a top IRGC Commander General Qassem Suleimani, the Iranian air defenses mistakenly shot down a Ukrainian passenger plane, flight PS752, that took off from Imam Khomeini International Airport. All 176 passengers on board were killed. The Boeing 737-800 aircraft was shot with two missiles that went haywire in error amid heightened tensions between United States and Iran.

Debris litters the scene where a Ukrainian plane crashed in Shahedshahr southwest of the capital Tehran, Iran. (AP)

'We do not leave any threat without an answer’: IRGC

In a briefing late Tuesday, Amir Saeid Iravani, Iran’s ambassador to the United Nations in New York, said that Islamic Republic “would decisively respond to any attack on the county, its interests and nationals under any pretexts,” according to the state-run IRNA news agency. He warned Washington that any Iranian retaliation will trigger a “strong response,” without elaborating on the details.

Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei, was briefed about the Biden administration’s threats of retaliation. “Sometime, our enemies raise the threat and nowadays we hear some threats in between words by American officials,” Revolutionary Guard (IRGC) commander Gen. Hossein Salami, who reports directly to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said. "We tell them that you have experienced us and we know each other. We do not leave any threat without an answer,” he went on to add. “We are not after war, but we have no fear of war.”

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Iranian clergyman looks at the domestically built surface-to-surface missiles deployed by Revolutionary Guards. (AP)

As tensions ratcheted between Iran and US, the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels on Tuesday launched missiles on the American warship USS Gravely, an Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer. Houthi military spokesman, Brig. Gen. Yahya Saree, in a televised address said that Iran backed faction launched “several” missiles on US vessel, having previously claimed Monday that they targeted USS Lewis B. Puller, a floating landing base used by the Navy SEALs and other troops.

US National Security Council spokesman, John Kirby, said at a presser that the US will respond to the troop killing at a time and manner of Biden’s choosing.

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Published January 31st, 2024 at 19:50 IST

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