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Live updates: US-Iran tensions after Qassem Soleimani's killing

Live updates: US-Iran tensions after Qassem Soleimani's killing
US hits Iran with more sanctions following Tehran's retaliatory attack in Iraq after Soleimani's assassination
Key Points
US imposes new sanctions against Iran over ties to missile attacks
Killing Soleimani made US 'weaker' in Middle East, US senator Chris Murphy says
US and allies believes Iran shot down Ukraine plane that claimed 176 lives

Live Updates

4 years ago

Canada's Foreign Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne said in a news conference on Friday that the number of Canadian victims from Ukrainian International Airlines flight PS752 is 57, not 63 as was first stated.

Champagne said that the government will create an emergency task force to help the families of the plane crash victims, and is coordinating with the UK, Ukraine, Sweden, and Afghanistan to help the families of the other plane crash victims as well.

4 years ago

Huge crowds of protesters hit the streets of several Iraqi provinces on Friday, rallying against the government and rejecting both US and Iranian presences in the country.

"No to America and no to Iran, Sunnis and Shias are brothers," anti-government protesters in Babil province chanted.

Basrans chanted, "In our souls, in our blood, we will be for you Iraq," while the people in Nasiriyah, a restive city about 200km away, were chanting "Neither America nor Iran, our revolution is a young revolution."

Read more here.

4 years ago

The United States military tried, but failed, to take out another senior Iranian commander on the same day a US drone strike killed the Revolutionary Guard's top general, Qassem Soleimani, US officials said Friday.

The officials said a military air attack targeted Abdul Reza Shahlai, a high-ranking commander in Iran's Islamic Republican Guard Corps but the mission was not successful. The officials spoke to the Associated Press news agency on condition of anonymity in order to discuss a classified mission. 

The Pentagon declined to discuss the highly classified operation.

4 years ago

The United States imposed new sanctions on Iranian industries and officials on Friday in retaliation for Tehran's missile attack on US troops in Iraq this week, senior Trump administration officials said. 

The newly sanctioned individuals include: Ali Shamkhani, the secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council; Mohsen Rezai, a Khamenei adviser; Mohammad Reza Naqdi, the deputy coordinator of the IRGC; Mohammad Reza Ashtiani and Ali Abdollahi, senior Iranian military leaders; Ali Asghar Hejazi, the director of Khamenei's security office; Mohsen Qomi, Khamenei's deputy adviser for international affairs and adviser on international communications. 

The eighth individual was not identified.

Read more here.

4 years ago

American troops will not be leaving Iraq, the US State Department announced on Thursday, hours after Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi said he informed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that US forces should start working on a withdrawal plan.

"America is a force for good in the Middle East," State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said in a statement on Thursday. 

"Our military presence in Iraq is to continue the fight against ISIS [Islamic State (IS) group] and as the Secretary has said, we are committed to protecting Americans, Iraqis, and our coalition partners."

4 years ago

US President Donald Trump said Iran probably had targeted the US embassy in Baghdad and was aiming to attack four US embassies when its top general, Qassem Soleimani, was killed in a US drone strike.

"We will tell you probably it was going to be the embassy in Baghdad," Trump said in a clip of an interview on Fox News. "I can reveal that I believe it would have been four embassies."

4 years ago

US Secretary of State Pompeo has acknowledged that the US did not know "precisely" when or where attacks allegedly being planned by Soleimani would take place.

"There is no doubt that there were a series of imminent attacks that were being plotted by Qassem Soleimani," Pompeo said in a Fox News interview that aired on Thursday.

"We don't know precisely when, and we don't know precisely where, but it was real," he added.

The Trump administration has come under fire for its decision to assassinate Soleimani without consulting Congress. 

4 years ago

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said on Friday that the possibility a missile downed a Ukrainian passenger airplane over Iran this week killing all on board had not been ruled out but it had not been confirmed yet.

He said would discuss the investigation with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo later on Friday, the Reuters news agency reported.

The airliner that crashed in Iran, killing all 176 passengers and crew, was likely brought down by an Iranian missile, Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Thursday, citing intelligence from Canadian and other sources.

4 years ago

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the Ukrainian airliner that went down on Tuesday night was shot down by Iranian surface-to-air missiles, adding that the hit could have been an accident. 

"It is now more important than ever that we know exactly how such a tragedy could have happened," Trudeau said, speaking to reporters at the National Press Theatre in Ottawa. 

Trudeau said Canada is working with its allies to ensure that an in depth investigation takes place.

Trudeau reiterated Canada's request to Iran to take part in its investigation, but implied Iranian authorities had not yet approved such a request. 

"We're working with Ukrainian investigators at this time and we are continuing to ask to have Canadians involved in this process and we will continue to have that conversation,"  Trudeau said. 

For the moment Iran plans to keep the black box from the crashed plane in Iran, Trudeau said, adding that Ukrainian authorities said they were told by Iran that their investigators would be allowed access to the box. 

4 years ago

The US House of Representatives has advanced a resolution to ban Donald Trump from taking military action against Iran without the approval of Congress.

The measure, which would "terminate the use of United States Armed Forces to engage in hostilities in or against Iran".

The final vote is expected later today.

While it will likely be blocked by the Republican-controlled Senate, it serves as a symbolic congressional expression of dissent with the White House's handling of the crisis.

The resolution comes six days after Trump ordered the killing of top Iranian general Qassem Soleimani and two days after Iran responded to the assassination by targeting bases that host US forces in Iraq with ballistic missiles.

4 years ago

A rocket fell on Thursday night in Iraq's northern Salahuddin province, police sources said, according to Reuters news agency.

The rocket hit in an area near the Balad air base, which houses US troops.

The source of the rocket is unknown, the sources said. It caused no casualties.

The Dujail district, where the rocket fell, is 50 km (30 miles) north of Baghdad. Balad base is about 80 kilometers (50 miles) north of Baghdad.

4 years ago

US officials believe that Iranian missiles caused the crash of a Ukraine airliner on Wednesday morning which led to deaths of all 176 people on board, multiple outlets reported on Thursday.

One US official told Reuters that US satellites had detected the launch of two missiles shortly before the plane crashed, followed by evidence of an explosion. Two officials also said Washington believes the downing of the plane was accidental.

UK sources told the Guardian that the Britain had seen US intelligence suggesting that the plane had been hit by an Iranian air defence missile.

While unverified photos and reports mounted suspicions on Thursday that the plane was brought down by something other than technical difficulty, investigators told Middle East Eye they remained cautious of the latest reports citing anonymous western officials.

Nick Waters, a senior investigator at Bellingcat, told MEE he "would wait for official confirmation and, above all, I would want to see data that I can verify."

4 years ago

Speaking to reporters at the White House, US President Donald Trump said new sanctions against Iran have already been approved, but did not provide details regarding what those sanctions look like. 

"It's already been done. We've increased them. They were very severe, but now it's increased substantially," Trump said. "I just approved it a little while ago with Treasury." 

The president said the US Treasury Department would issue a press release detailing the sanctions soon. 

Trump also said that he is open to fresh negotiations with Iran regarding a new nuclear deal. 

He added that he beleives NATO should be expanded to include the Middle East. 

4 years ago

Iraqi activists planning demonstrations on 10 January to renew the now months-long anti-government protest movement and signal opposition to both Iranian and American interference in the country’s affairs.

Some protesters had already begun gathering in Baghdad's Tahrir Square on Thursday evening:

4 years ago

Nancy Pelosi just told reporters that the House will pass a war powers resolution aimed at limiting Trump’s military actions in Iran.

"Last week, in our view, the administration conducted a provocative disproportionate airstrike against Iran, which endangered Americans and did so without consulting congress. When I was informed of this attack that the administration took responsibility for over the weekend, I said 'why did you not consult with congress'," Pelosi said. 

"You have a responsibility to consult with Congress," she continued. 

"So here we are to protect American lives and values we are passing today a war powers resolution to limit the president's military actions. The administration must de-escalate and must prevent further violence - America and the world cannot afford war," Pelosi said. 

Trump has called on Republicans to vote against the resolution, which will face an uncertain future in the Senate.

Full coverage coming soon