The possibility of an attack in Iraq by the Iranian government on the eve of the anniversary of General Qasem Soleimani’s assassination left U.S. government officials divided this week.
While the Pentagon flew nuclear-capable bombers to the Middle East in a show of force intended to deter Iran, U.S. Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller decided against sending an aircraft carrier to the Persian Gulf in an effort to deescalate tensions in the region.
Tehran has vowed to avenge the death of Soleimani, a former commander of Iran’s Quds Force who was assassinated in Iraq by a U.S. drone strike on January 3, and who was widely believed to be the architect behind the regime’s expansion.
Former UK Foreign Minister Jeremy Hunt said that Britain was “beginning to look weak” over its handling of detained dual nationals held in Iran. The statement followed claims by the UK Foreign Office that it had no legal obligation to assist detained British dual nationals held overseas.
Mr. Hunt said the government “must stand up for the rights of British citizens, starting with Mrs. Zaghari-Ratcliffe,” in an opinion piece published by the Times.
And the Iranian government’s handling of the Ukraine plane crash was called “unacceptable” by Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry. The Ministry said the decision to pay each of the victims’ families $150,000 dollars had not been agreed and that the sum needed to be negotiated. The ministry also called for those responsible for the crash to be brought to justice.
Flight 752 was accidentally shot down by regime security officials who said they had mistaken the plane for a missile, during a period of heightened tension between the U.S. and Iran. All 167 passengers and nine crew members on board were killed. The incident led to nationwide anti-government protests in Iran, with thousands of people taking to the streets to demonstrate.