After Iranian top general Qasem Soleimani and senior members of the Iranian-backed militia in Iraq were assassinated at the behest of US President Donald Trump near Baghdad on 3 January, Tehran and Washington have reportedly been one step from triggering a full-scale war in the Middle East.
In a recent interview with NBC News, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif detailed the circumstances of last month’s events.
“It’s unfortunate that the United States, based on misinformation, based on ignorance and arrogance, combined on a course that has brought the region very close to the brink. […] We were very close to a war”, Zarid said, cited by NBC News.
Trump justified the assassination of Soleimani by claiming that the latter posed a threat to American assets abroad. Tehran quickly responded to the extrajudicial killing of its top general by firing ballistic missiles at two military installations in Iraq that house US troops. Despite that no American personnel were reported to have been injured, the US Department of Defence subsequently began claiming that an estimated 100 soldiers suffered what was loosely characterized as traumatic brain injuries (TBI) in the attack. Zarif noted that the firing of the missiles at US bases in Iraq were intended to send a “clear message”.