U.S. will defend troops and interests after rocket attack in Iraq, Defense Secretary says

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U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin speaks to Defense Department unit during a sojourn by U.S. President Joe Biden astatine the Pentagon successful Arlington, Virginia, February 10, 2021.

Carlos Barria | Reuters

WASHINGTON – Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin warned those liable for carrying retired last week's rocket onslaught against an Iraqi base that hosts American troops volition beryllium held to account.

"The connection to those that would transportation retired specified an onslaught is that expect america to bash what is indispensable to support ourselves," Austin said successful an interrogation with ABC that aired connected Sunday.

"We'll onslaught if that's what we deliberation we request to bash astatine a clip and spot of our ain choosing. We request the close to support our troops," helium said, adding that the U.S. is inactive assessing quality with its Iraqi partners.

Defense officials person antecedently said the onslaught had emblematic hallmarks of a onslaught by Iran-backed groups. Iran has denied involvement.

When asked if Iran would presumption a imaginable U.S. effect arsenic an escalation of tensions, the caller Pentagon main and retired Army four-star reiterated that Washington would bash immoderate is indispensable to support Americans and U.S. interests successful the region.

"What they [Iranians] should gully from this, again, is that we're going to support our troops and our effect volition beryllium thoughtful. It volition beryllium appropriate," Austin said. "We would anticipation that they would take to bash the close things," helium added.

On Sunday, the U.S. military's Central Command, which oversees the wars successful the Middle East, flew its 4th bomber deployment to the region.

The amusement of unit ngo included 2 B-52H Stratofortress bombers alongside craft from Israel, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar astatine antithetic points to "deter aggression and reassure partners and allies of the U.S. military's committedness to information successful the region."

Last month, Iran rejected an invitation from planetary powers who signed the 2015 atomic woody to sermon the regime's imaginable instrumentality to the negotiating table, a important setback successful the Biden administration's efforts to revive the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, oregon JCPOA.

The White House said that the Biden medication was disappointed with Iran's determination to skip the informal gathering but would "reengage successful meaningful diplomacy to execute a communal instrumentality to compliance with JCPOA commitments."

President of Iran, Hassan Rouhani speaks during the National Combat Board Meeting with Coronavirus (Covid-19) successful Tehran, Iran connected Nov. 21, 2020.

Iranian Presidency Handout | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

The Biden medication has antecedently said that it wants to revive the atomic woody but won't suspend sanctions until Tehran comes backmost into compliance. Tehran has refused to negociate portion U.S. sanctions stay successful place.

The 2015 JCPOA, brokered by the Obama administration, lifted sanctions connected Iran that had crippled its system and chopped its lipid exports astir successful half. In speech for billions of dollars successful sanctions relief, Iran agreed to dismantle immoderate of its atomic programme and unfastened its facilities to much extended planetary inspections.

The U.S. and its European allies judge Iran has ambitions to make a atomic bomb. Tehran has denied that allegation.

In 2018, then-President Donald Trump kept a run committedness and withdrew the United States from the JCPOA calling it the "worst woody ever." Following Washington's exit from the landmark atomic deal, different signatories of the pact ⁠have tried to support the statement alive. 

Washington's tense narration with Tehran took respective turns for the worse nether the Trump administration.

President Donald Trump speaks during a briefing connected Hurricane Michael successful the Oval Office of the White House successful Washington, DC, October 10, 2018. 

Saul Loeb | AFP | Getty Images

People stitchery to protestation the US aerial onslaught successful Iraq that killed Iranian commandant Qasem Soleimani, who headed Iran's Revolutionary Guards' elite Quds unit successful Sanaa, Yemen connected January 6, 2020.

Mohammed Hamoud | Andalou Agency | Getty Images

Soleimani's decease led the authorities to further standard backmost compliance with the planetary atomic pact. In January 2020, Iran said it would nary longer bounds its uranium enrichment capableness oregon atomic research.

In October, the United States unilaterally re-imposed U.N. sanctions connected Tehran done a snapback process, which different U.N. Security Council members person antecedently said Washington does not person the authorization to execute due to the fact that it withdrew from the atomic woody successful 2018.

A period later, a top Iranian atomic idiosyncratic was assassinated near Tehran, which led Iran's authorities to allege that Israel was down the onslaught with U.S. backing.

A presumption shows the country of the onslaught that killed Prominent Iranian idiosyncratic Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, extracurricular Tehran, Iran, November 27, 2020.

WANA via Reuters

During the summertime of 2019, a drawstring of attacks successful the Persian Gulf acceptable the U.S. and Iran connected a way toward greater confrontation.

In June 2019, U.S. officials said an Iranian surface-to-air rocket changeable down an American subject surveillance drone implicit the Strait of Hormuz. Iran said the craft was implicit its territory. That onslaught came a week aft the U.S. blamed Iran for attacks connected 2 lipid tankers successful the Persian Gulf portion and aft 4 tankers were attacked successful May.

The U.S. that June slapped caller sanctions connected Iranian subject leaders blamed for shooting down the drone. The measures besides aimed to artifact fiscal resources for Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei.

Tensions soared again successful September of 2019 erstwhile the U.S. blamed Iran for strikes successful Saudi Arabia connected the world's largest crude processing works and lipid field. The strikes forced the kingdom to unopen down fractional of its accumulation operations.

The lawsuit triggered the largest spike successful crude prices successful decades and renewed concerns of a budding struggle successful the Middle East.

The Pentagon described the strikes connected the Saudi Arabian lipid facilities as "sophisticated" and represented a "dramatic escalation" in tensions wrong the region.

All the while, Iran maintains that it was not down the attacks.

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