Trump threatens to attack 52 key Iranian targets
Trump threatens to attack 52 key Iranian targets. Missiles hit near the U.S. embassy in Baghdad. Will the Middle East escalate after the killing of Qassem Soleimani?
The latest developments
- President Donald Trump emphatically warns the leadership in Tehran of retaliation. In the event that Iran should attack US citizens or U.S. institutions, there is a list of 52 key Iranian targets that would be attacked, Trump wrote on Saturday (local time) on Twitter. The strategically and culturally important places for Iran would then be “attacked very quickly and very hard,” Trump wrote in capital letters. “The United States no longer want threats”, the president said. The 52 targets represented the 52 hostages Iran had taken many years ago. The US president apparently refers to the occupation of the American embassy on November 4, 1979. The storming of the US embassy is still celebrated by the hardliners in Iran as a revolutionary feat and victory over US imperialism.
- The body of the killed Iranian general Kassem Soleimani has meanwhile arrived in Iran for burial. The official news agency Irib reported on the night of Saturday that he had been brought to the city of Ahwaz in the southwest of the country by plane. State television showed thousands of people dressed in black marching through the city in a funeral march.
- In dozen US cities, numerous people demonstrate on Saturday (local time) against the targeted killing of Iran’s top general Soleimani. Around 200 demonstrators shouted in front of the White House in Washington: “No justice, no peace, the USA out of the Gulf region”. The demonstrators moved from the President’s seat to the nearby Trump International Hotel. Would you like a distraction? Start a war! Was a reference to the impeachment procedure against Trump on a poster. According to the organizers, protests took place in around 70 US cities, including New York, Los Angeles and Chicago. In the famous Times Square in New York, a protester held up a poster that reads: “War is not a strategy for re-election”.
- The website of the agency for the distribution of US government publications (FDLP) appears on Saturday with the lettering “Iranian hackers”. There were also pictures of the top Iranian leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Revenge was demanded on the website for Iranian General Qassem Soleimani, who was killed in a US drone attack in Baghdad. In an animation, US President Donald Trump is struck while Iranian missiles fly through the picture. Even after Soleimani’s death, his “work and path would not end,” the animation said.
- The official announcement by the United States government to Congress on the killing of Iranian general Qassem Soleimani, raises serious and pressing questions about the timing, execution, and reasoning of the government’s decision, according to House Democratic Chairman Nancy Pelosi. The American government had also made the highly unusual decision to completely classify the legally required communication to Parliament as secret. The leadership of President Donald Trump apparently wants to keep the public in the dark about the background of the military operation against Iran. The disproportionate military deployment puts US soldiers, diplomats and American citizens at risk she explained further.
- The German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas announces direct talks with Iran on, to prevent a further escalation of the situation. The German government will work in the United Nations, the EU and in dialogue with partners in the region to calm the situation, and will also speak to Iran. In a newspaper report, Maas said that he had been in close contact with his British and French colleagues, EU Commissioner for Foreign Affairs Josep Borrell and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo since Friday morning. Maas warned that any provocation could now lead to an uncontrollable spiral of violence with unforeseeable consequences for the entire region and security in Europe.
- At least two rockets hit the Al-Balad Air Force Base in Iraq, which also houses US soldiers, on Saturday (4.1.20). The reports the dpa news agency, citing security circles. They went down in the evening in the warehouse area of the base, which is about 80 kilometers north of Baghdad. The US troops were put on alert. Helicopters circled the base in the sky. In addition, a Katyusha rocket went down near the American embassy in the green zone in Baghdad on Saturday. Numerous embassies are based in the highly secure government district. There are said to have been no victims.
- The Iranian revolution guards do not rule out attacks in the Strait of Hormuz in retaliation for the killing of the Iranian top general Qassem Soleimani. Iran will punish the Americans wherever they can be reached, Genera Gholamali Abuhamseh, commander of the Kerman province elite unit, said on Saturday (Jan. 4), according to the Tasnim news agency. Important American targets had long been identified in the Middle East. 35 American positions in the region and in the Israeli city of Tel Aviv were within Iran’s reach.