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The latest on the US-Iran crisis
In a Thursday phone call between Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Qatar's deputy Prime Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani, the two discussed military action and US involvement in the region, according to a statement from Iran’s Foreign Ministry.
According to the statement, Rouhani told Al-Thani that if the US responds to Iran’s recent military actions, they will receive a bigger and more dangerous response.
"I hope the US which is known to always make political mistakes, doesn't make another one," Rouhani said.
Rouhani also said that the US killing of General Qasem Soleimani was an unforgivable crime and that “for the safety of Iran, and bringing back peace to Middle East, it’s very important to stop the foreigners from interfering in our politics.”
According to the statement, Al-Thani said, "we are against any further tensions towards Iran."
The UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) is advising against all travel to Iran, according to a statement updated early Friday local time.
“If you’re in Iran, you should review your departure options and consider leaving the country,” the FCO said in a statement. “There are heightened tensions in the region. On 8 January 2020, Iran fired missiles against two military bases in Iraq containing US personnel. Tensions between Iran and other countries could escalate rapidly. Anger inside Iran is high, following the death of Iranian General Qasem Soleimani in a US strike in Baghdad on 3 January. There is a possibility of an increased threat against Western interests and the security situation could worsen with little warning.”
The statement added, “There is uncertainty surrounding the crash on 8 January of a Ukrainian International Airlines flight shortly after take-off from Imam Khomeini International Airport in Tehran.”
The FCO said, “In the event of a sudden deterioration in the security station, there may be limits to the assistance the FCO can provide, depending on the security and transport situation. You should not assume that the FCO will be able to provide assistance to leave the country.”
Anti-war protests are happening in several cities around the US tonight over tensions in the Middle East.
Heather Schotten attended a protest in Chicago.
"I am horrified by US interventionism in West Asia and view the assassination of Soleimani as an unprovoked act of war and a continuation of the racist, illegal, and unjustifiable atrocities of the War on Terror begun by Bush and continued by Obama, whose drone strike assassinations of US citizens abroad paved the way for and made possible Trump’s murder of Soleimani," Schotten said.
There was also a vigil in Cambridge, Massachusetts, near the Harvard and MIT campuses. Here's what it looked like:
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this post misidentified where the photos were taken. They are from a protest in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
President Trump is said to be furious over the House vote on the Iran War Powers resolution, according to multiple people who have spoken with him.
About the vote: The House voted earlier tonight to approve a resolution aimed at restraining the President's ability to use military action against Iran without congressional approval.
The vote was 224-194. Republican Reps. Matt Gaetz of Florida, Thomas Massie of Kentucky and Francis Rooney of Florida crossed party lines to vote in favor while Democratic Reps. Max Rose of New York, Ben McAdams of Utah, Anthony Brindisi of New York, Joe Cunningham of South Carolina, Elaine Luria of Virginia, Josh Gottheimer of New Jersey, Kendra Horn of Oklahoma and Stephanie Murphy of Florida voted against the resolution.
President Trump claimed tonight that Iranian General Qasem Soleimani was planning attacks on multiple US embassies.
"Soleimani was actively planning new attacks, and he was looking very seriously at our embassies, and not just the embassy in Baghdad," Trump said. "But we stopped him, and we stopped him quickly, and we stopped him cold."
The President said earlier that Soleimani was "looking to blow up our embassy." A senior defense official said later Thursday the US had intelligence that there was a plot to attack the embassy involving explosives, one of multiple plots that Soleimani was working on prior to the US targeting him in a drone strike.
Criticizing the Iran deal negotiated under the Obama administration, President Trump made two false claims at his rally in Ohio tonight.
Here's what he said:
"The Obama administration enabled and emboldened the Iranian regime," Trump said. "They gave Iran $150 billion including $1.7 billion in hard cold cash.
Facts First: The “$150 billion” Trump referenced was not US government money but actually Iranian money frozen in foreign financial institutions because of sanctions – and experts say the total was significantly lower than $150 billion.
The Obama administration did send Iran $1.7 billion to settle a decades-old dispute over a purchase of US military goods Iran made before its government was overthrown in the Islamic Revolution of 1979.
"Iran nuclear deal financed Iranian aggression while allowing a quick path to nuclear breakout," Trump said. He added, "And by the way it expires so soon."
Facts First: Some central provisions of the nuclear agreement with Iran, which was signed in 2015, were written to expire in the next 10 to 15 years. But the deal as a whole – including a blanket prohibition on Iran developing nuclear weapons – was written to continue in perpetuity.
You can read more on Trump's false claims about Iran here.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made no mention of a plan to “blow up” the US Embassy in Baghdad in an interview today, instead referring to the intelligence community assessment that it was “a big attack.”
“It was going to be against the United States of America, likely in the region. We can’t say much more than that, but the American people should know there was an attack. It was in the planning stages, but we had seen Qasem Soleimani be able to deliver on this kind of plan before,” he said on “The Ben Shapiro Show.”
Asked about the imminence of the attacks, Pompeo said they saw “days and weeks where the next set of plots was being planned, so this was right on top of us, and this opportunity was fleeting.”
Earlier today: President Trump said that the Iranians were planning to “blow up our embassy." Trump's statement was backed up by a senior defense official today who said the US had intelligence about multiple plots and threats involving Soleimani, including one that involved a plan to attack the embassy using explosives.
Neither official provided more details about the plot and earlier today, administration officials had explained Trump's comments about the plot to blow up the US embassy by saying he was referring to the public demonstrations by Khatib Hezbollah.
President Trump touted the response to the US Embassy attack as the “anti-Benghazi" at a rally in Ohio tonight.
“This was the anti-Benghazi. We got there very quickly,” Trump said to the audience. “We did it exactly the opposite of Benghazi.”
Trump added: "Had they broken the final plate of glass, there would have been hundreds of deaths.”
The President began his comments referring to Iran’s Qasem Soleimani as a “sadistic mass murderer” who brought “death destruction and mayhem” to the world.
“He’s no longer a terror — he’s dead," Trump said.
“If you threaten our citizens, you do so at your own great peril,” Trump said earlier in the rally.