TEHRAN (Dispatches) - Iran on Tuesday condemned "suspicious attempts” to attribute the recent rocket attack in Erbil, the main city of Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdistan region, saying the Islamic Republic is opposed to any move that disrupts peace and order in the neighboring Arab county.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said that Iran rejects the "suspicious rumors” circulating about the rocket attack that targeted a U.S. airbase in Erbil last night and condemns "suspicious attempts” to link the incident to the Islamic Republic.
"Iran regards Iraq’s stability and security as a key issue for the region and the neighbors, and rejects any action that disturbs the peace and order in this country,” Khatibzadeh said.
He called on the Iraqi government to follow up on the issue and deal with the perpetrators.
The rocket attack — the worst to hit a position of the U.S.-led military coalition in a year — killed a civilian contractor and wounded several others, including an American service member, according to a coalition spokesman.
Former Iraqi prime minister and senior Kurdish official Hoshyar Zebari said "five Katyusha rockets” hit some diplomatic facilities and residential areas.
A newly-established militant group which calls itself "Saraya Awliya al-Dam” has claimed responsibility.
Following the reports, certain media outlets tried to tie the attack to Iran’s pledge of revenge for the assassination by the U.S. of top anti-terror commander Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani and fellow Iraqi commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis near the Baghdad airport in January 2020.
Several U.S. missions and military bases in Iraq have repeatedly come under attack over the past year, with Washington blaming forces of Iraq’s counter-terrorism Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), which Washington claims receive support from Iran.
KRGWaiting for Baghdad’s Expulsion of U.S. Forces
Representative of the Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in Tehran Nazim Dabaq in an interview with the Persian-language ANA news agency on Tuesday said that the KRG is waiting for the central government’s expulsion of the American forces from the country.
He added that the Kurdistan region has always supported the Iranians’ presence in Erbil, stressing that Erbil will never allow the Iraqi Kurdistan region to be used as a platform for attacks, threats and insecurity against the neighbors, specially Iran. The Iraqi parliament called on the government in January 2020 to work to end all foreign troop presence as a backlash grew after the killing of the senior Iranian and Iraqi military commanders in the US strike in Baghdad.
Dabaq’s remarks came as a rocket attack in the Northern Iraqi city of Erbil on Monday killed a civilian contractor with the U.S.-led military coalition and wounded six others, including a U.S. service member, said a U.S.-led coalition spokesman.