Iran is going to intensify attempts at terrorism and other attacks against the United States in the coming weeks, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo predicted Wednesday.
“Clearly, they see our comprehensive pressure campaign as serious and succeeding,” Pompeo told reporters at the State Department. “We must be prepared for them to continue their attempts to hit back, especially after our full sanctions are reimposed on the 4th of November.”
Pompeo announced that expectation while blaming Iran for a recent flurry of threats to U.S. diplomatic facilities in Iraq. He reiterated his warning that the United States would hold the nation of Iran responsible for any attacks that emanated from the paramilitary militias that Iran can influence in Iraq.
“Iran is the origin of the current threat to Americans in Iraq,” he said. “Our intelligence in this regard is solid. We can see the hand of the Ayatollah and his henchman supporting these attacks on the United States.”
Pompeo was referring specifically to recent threats against the U.S. embassy in Baghdad and a diplomatic facility in Basra, which was the apparent target of rocket fire. He ordered the temporary closure of the U.S. mission in Basra on Friday.
“These latest destabilizing acts in Iraq are attempts by the Iranian regime to push back on our efforts to constrain its malign behavior,” he said.
Russia defended Iran from terrorism charges on Friday, even as Pompeo decided to close the facility at Basra. “We have never seen a terrorist threat in Iran,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told reporters at the United Nations General Assembly. “There is not such a term in the international law or in the UN documents. yes the U.S. and other states have introduced this term.”
The threats against the U.S. diplomatic posts came on the heels of Iraqi protesters burning an Iranian office in Basra. “The United States will continue to stand with the people of Iraq as the continue to chart a future based on Iraqi interests, not those dictated by Iran,” Pompeo said Wednesday.