Lawmakers and former American officials have reacted to an Iranian ballistic missile attack on the US consulate in Iraq’s Erbil urging an end to Iran nuclear talks.
In a major escalation of tensions in the Middle East, a dozen ballistic missiles struck Erbil at 1 am on Sunday, targeting the US consulate's new building and the neighboring residential area but caused only material damage and one civilian was injured, the Kurdish interior ministry said on Sunday.
Iran's Revolutionary Guards released on Sunday a statement taking responsibility for missile attacks against Israeli "strategic centers" in Iraq's northern Kurdish regional capital of Erbil
Democratic representative Elaine Luria said in a tweet hours after the attack that she is continuing to monitor the situation, stating that “if reports are accurate, the Biden Administration must withdraw its negotiations with Iran”.
“We cannot re-enter a failed JCPOA to further empower Iran and threaten global security”, the Navy veteran added.
Republican Congresswoman Lisa McClain said, “This aggression shows we should absolutely end all Iran Nuclear Deal negotiations now. We must also never buy Iranian oil”.
Congressman Ritchie Torres twitted, “Iran attacks a US consulate while seeking US sanctions relief? No Bueno”.
Senior Adviser at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies Richard Goldberg urged Biden to convene an emergency meeting of the National Security Council “to assess available intelligence & consider a full range of military, cyber, economic & political responses, noting, “The Russian-brokered Iran Deal on the table in Vienna includes lifting terrorism sanctions on Iran’s central bank, oil company, tanker company, petrochemical company & many more alongside removing the IRGC from the FTO list. Tonight should be a death knell for this horrible deal”.
“No country can be allowed to launch missile attacks against US interests without facing an immediate and meaningful response. There are a range of options. Deterrence must be restored. This isn’t partisan. If the President acts, he should get bipartisan support”, he added.
Gabriel Noronha, a former official at Iran desk in the State Department said, “Democrats and Republicans in Congress agree: Biden must not continue talks with Iran while they attack our bases in Iraq”.
Another official of the former US administration Robert Greenway, who was part of the negotiating team for the Abraham Accords, said, “Is it too much to ask Iran cease threatening US citizens to continue negotiations or enjoy any benefits of a deal? Or that we consider a regime so committed to killing more Americans unworthy of our trust negating the viability of any deal?”
Andrew Lewis Peek, who was a strategic advisor to the NATO commander in Afghanistan, said in a tweet, “Tonight’s missile attack in Iraq is 100% representative of a breakdown of deterrence against Iran not just under Biden, but under years of US policy in Iraq”.
Former research fellow at the Washington Institute Nadav Pollak has reacted to a video shared by advisor to Iran's nuclear negotiating team Mohammad Marandi, who gloated, “This is just the beginning”.
Pollak said, “The fact that Iran is doing this while talks are still being held in Vienna says something about how they perceive the EU and US resolve to contain them”.
A State Department spokesperson told Axios that the incident "is being investigated by the government of Iraq and the Kurdish Regional Government."