Politics

US Doesnt Expect More Iranian Retaliatory Attacks, Pentagon Chief Says

The United States doesnt expect more Iranian retaliatory attacks after the regime fired missiles at U.S. troops stationed in Iraq last week, Secretary of Defense Mark Esper said in an interview.

Esper said that Tehran is now under internal threat from demonstrators after the regime said over the weekend it accidentally shot down a Ukrainian International Airlines plane last week, killing 176 people—including 82 Iranians. Following the admission, throngs of protesters poured into the streets of Tehran, with people openly criticizing the government.

“You can see the Iranian people are standing up and asserting their rights, their aspirations for a better government—a different regime,” Esper said Jan. 12 on CBS News “Face the Nation.”

When asked about whether Iran would attempt to strike U.S. assets in the near future, Esper said that officials “do not expect any further attacks,” while adding that Washington “stand[s] with the Iranian people” because they are seeking “the same things that most people around the world want,” including basic human rights.

“I just think you see a very corrupt regime that the Iranian people are finally standing up and trying to hold them accountable,” Esper said.

Tehran protests
Tehran protests
Iranians light candles for the victims of Ukraine International Airlines Boeing 737 during a gathering in front of the Amirkabir University in the capital Tehran, on Jan. 11, 2020. (AFP via Getty Images)

In the interview, Esper stopped short of calling for regime change in Iran, echoing a statement that has been made by President Donald Trump.

The regime, led by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, is “still the legitimate government” of Iran, Esper said.

“And what weve said, Ive said publicly, the president certainly has said, is we will meet with them. Were willing to sit down and discuss without precondition, a new way forward … steps by which Iran becomes a more normal country,” he said.

Tensions between Iran and the United States were ratcheted up to levels not seen in decades after a U.S. drone strike killed Iranian commander Qassem Soleiman, who headed the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Quds Force, months after it was designated a Foreign Terrorist Organization by the U.S. State Department in 2019. Trump and other top officials have said Soleimani was planning to carry out attacks on American assets, including embassies.

The Quds Force has weaved an intricate web of influence over the region over the past several decades, including supporting various Shiite proxy militias, the Hezbollah organization in Lebanon, Yemens Houthis, and others.

Debris at the scene where a Ukrainian plane crashed in Shahedshahr, southwest of the capital Tehran, Iran, on Jan. 8, 2020. (Ebrahim Noroozi/AP Photo)

Esper told CBS he shares the view expresseRead More – Source