US President Donald Trump has said that war with Iran is not a good idea even as he threatened Tehran after Iraqi supporters of pro-Iranian regime factions attacked the American embassy in Baghdad, forcing its diplomats to stay inside for safety.
His statement came hours after hundreds of angry Iraqi Shiite militia supporters, including women, broke into the US embassy compound in high-security zone on Tuesday after smashing a main door near parking and setting fire to a reception area chanting “death to America” in anger over air strikes that killed at least 25 fighters of the Iran-backed militia in Iraq, the Kataeb Hezbollah.
President Trump, in his brief interaction with reporters, said that the situation in Iran has been handled very well.
“We had some great warriors come in… this will not be a Benghazi… they got in there very quickly,” he said in response to a question as he walked up to the grand ballroom at Mar-a-Lago for the New Year’s eve party.
Asked about the possibility of a war with Iran, the US President said: “I don’t think that would be a good idea for Iran… I like peace… I don’t see that happening”.
Earlier, Trump threatened Iran after the attack on the American embassy which was one of the worst in recent years.
“Iran will be held fully responsible for lives lost, or damage incurred, at any of our facilities. They will pay a very BIG PRICE! This is not a Warning; it is a Threat. Happy New Year!” he warned in a tweet.
“The US embassy in Iraq is, & has been for hours, SAFE! Many of our great Warfighters, together with the most lethal military equipment in the world, was immediately rushed to the site. Thank you to the President & Prime Minister of Iraq for their rapid response upon request…,” trump said in another tweet.
Soon thereafter, the Pentagon announced deployment of additional troops in Iraq as part of its effort to secure its personnel in Baghdad.
“At the direction of the Commander in Chief, I have authorised the deployment of an infantry battalion from the Immediate Response Force (IRF) of the 82nd Airborne Division to the US Central Command area of operations in response to recent events in Iraq,” US Defence Secretary Mark T Esper said.
Approximately 750 soldiers will be deployed to the region immediately and additional forces from the IRF are prepared to deploy over the next several days, he said.
“This deployment is an appropriate and precautionary action taken in response to increased threat levels against US personnel and facilities, such as we witnessed in Baghdad today. The United States will protect our people and interests anywhere they are found around the world,” Esper said.