US President Donald Trump has hit out at Iran saying his national security advisor is suggesting that sanctions by the United States and protests happening within the country after Iran accidentally shot down a Ukraine plane killing 178 people have choked-up the country which will further force them to negotiate. Amid escalating tensions with Iran following the killing of its top general Qasem Soleimani in a US airstrike, Trump once again reiterated that he couldn't care less if they negotiate. This will be totally up to them, making clear that there will no nuclear deal with Tehran and advised the nation not to kill their protesters.
Earlier on Sunday, four rockets had hit Balad airbase in Iraq that hosts US troops days after Iran launched multiple missile attacks. As per reports, four Iraqi airmen were reportedly injured.
National Security Adviser suggested today that sanctions & protests have Iran “choked off”, will force them to negotiate. Actually, I couldn’t care less if they negotiate. Will be totally up to them but, no nuclear weapons and “don’t kill your protesters.”— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 12, 2020
Reuters suggests that the attack involves mortar shelling as well. The news agency said that mortar bombs fell on the airbase's runway. The airbase is located 80 km north of Iraqi capital Baghdad. It is being reported in world media that Katyusha rockets have been fired at the airbase. Iraq has become a battleground on which Iran and the USA appear to be settling scores against each other.
The events were sparked by killing Qasem Soleimani, a high ranking military commander of Iran who was killed in American drone strike outside Baghdad Airport on January 3.
Qasem Soleimani was a powerful general who headed Quds Force of Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards. Soleimani was considered to be instrumental in setting up of Iran security framework and influence in the Middle East/West Asia after power vacuum created by Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein's death. Under Soleimani, Iran was able to increase its influence inside Iraq, a nation it had previously gone to war with. Soleimani was a popular figure in Iran.
Soleimani's death followed a wave of anger inside Iran even when US President Donald Trump described Soleimani a global terrorist again and again.