iraq

Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, led Friday prayers in Tehran for the first time in eight years and delivered a sermon in which he excoriated U.S. leaders as "clowns" and accused European countries of negotiating in bad faith over the foundering nuclear deal.

Khamenei also indicated that Iran might retaliate further for the U.S. drone strike that killed top Iranian commander Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani, saying a missile attack on U.S. assets in Iraq had been a blow to America's dignity and its status as a superpower.

Sherrod Brown

Following an Iranian attack on Iraqi airbases housing U.S. troops, President Trump stopped short of declaring immediate military action—instead announcing new sanctions against Iran.

National Politics With Political Junkie Ken Rudin

Jan 9, 2020
Afkham Davis, who joined a Columbus protest on Saturday, says she fears for her family in Iran.
Roger Ingles / Statehouse News Bureau

President Trump says Iran “appears to be standing down” after the country launched a missile strike Tuesday against U.S. forces in Iraq. No Americans were hurt in the attack, which came as retaliation against the U.S. for the assassination of a top Iranian general.

Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio)
John Minchillo / Associated Press

In a break with President Trump, Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) says he opposes the suggestion of attacking Iran’s cultural sites.

Updated at 2:45 p.m. ET

Satellite photos taken Wednesday show that an Iranian missile strike has caused extensive damage at the Ain al-Assad air base in Iraq, which hosts U.S. and coalition troops.

The photos, taken by the commercial company Planet and shared with NPR via the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, show hangars and buildings hit hard by a barrage of Iranian missiles that were fired early Wednesday morning local time.

Updated at 5 p.m. ET

President Trump said that Iran appears "to be standing down" after Tuesday night's missile attack in Iraq and that "the American people should be extremely grateful and happy no Americans were harmed."

Trump, in a nationally televised address from the White House, also announced a new round of what he termed "punishing economic sanctions" against the Iranian government. And he called on NATO to become "much more involved in the Middle East process."

Updated at 10:03 p.m. ET

Iran has launched more than a dozen ballistic missiles against U.S. military and coalition forces, targeting at least two military bases in Iraq, the U.S. Defense Department announced late Tuesday.

The strikes on military and coalition personnel at the Ain al-Assad air base in Anbar province and in Irbil — at the center of Iraq's Kurdistan region — began at approximately 5:30 p.m. ET, according to a statement.

Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif defended the strike, saying it was an act of "self-defense."

Updated at 4:55 p.m. ET

President Trump and his top deputies offered a full-throated defense on Tuesday of the American strike against Iran's top foreign legion commander, stressing what they called the urgent danger of an attack he had been plotting.

The killing of Quds Force commander Qassem Soleimani last week has ratcheted up tensions between Tehran and Washington, prompting vows of retaliatory strikes.

Updated at 7:43 p.m. ET

Secretary of Defense Mark Esper announced on Monday that some forces are being repositioned inside Iraq, not leaving the country.

Two other U.S. officials told NPR that some are going to Kuwait temporarily.

Updated at 11:50 p.m. ET Sunday

As thousands of mourners flooded the streets of Iran on Sunday to mourn the death of Gen. Qassem Soleimani, a series of dizzying developments convulsed the Middle East, generating new uncertainty around everything from the future of U.S. forces in Iraq to the battle against ISIS and the effort to quell Tehran's nuclear ambitions.

Amid the fallout of the U.S. drone strike on Friday that killed Soleimani, Sunday saw the following whiplash-inducing developments unfold almost simultaneously:

Updated Tuesday at 8:30 a.m. ET

An angry mob protesting American airstrikes in Iraq and Syria tried to storm the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad on Tuesday, smashing through the main entrance and setting fire to a reception area as Marines guarding the compound fired tear gas to hold them back.

J. Scott Applewhite / Associated Press

Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) is pushing a bill in Congress to help veterans who might have been harmed by toxic emissions during deployment in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Before the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq, Gen. Najm al-Jabouri would stand at the border crossing with Turkey and look longingly across the gate.

"As an officer, I had a dream to travel outside of Iraq," he says, sitting in a garden in Saddam Hussein's former palace complex in Mosul. "Sometimes I would go to Ibrahim Khalil gate just to see outside Iraq — to see whether the ground outside Iraq was different from inside Iraq."

The Sixth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati is considering whether the federal government should be allowed to proceed with deporting hundreds of Detroit-area Iraqis.

Iraqi forces have opened what they hope will be the final assault to retake Mosul, pushing into the the crowded, narrow lanes of the area still occupied by ISIS. The operation, launched at dawn Sunday after a barrage of airstrikes from the U.S.-led coalition, aims to retake Mosul's Old City from the militant group.

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