A top military adviser to Iran’s Supreme Leader has boasted about the attack on US bases in Iraq in January 2020, emphasizing that Ali Khamenei ordered the attack.
Major General Yahya Rahim-Safavi, who is a former commander-in-chief of the Revolutionary Guard, said Friday that after the targeted killing of IRGC’s Quds force commander Qassem Soleimani, “the Supreme Leader ordered the missile strike on the Ayn al-Asad airbase (in western Iraq) within a short period.”
On January 3, 2020, former US President Donald Trump ordered a drone strike near Baghdad International Airport that killed Soleimani. The US justified the action by saying that Soleimani was actively planning attacks against American diplomats and military personnel in Iraq and the broader region.
Rahim-Safavi also claimed that Trump anticipating Iranian retaliation "had ordered his military commanders to be prepared to retaliate but hey argued that if we respond to Iran, Iran has already prepared its missiles, and all our armed forces in Iraq, Kuwait, and Bahrain will be vulnerable to Iranian missile strikes, and we cannot withstand it.”
“We had really prepared our missiles," he added, perhaps referring to the high alert status of Iran’s military forces that led to the IRGC's downing of a Ukrainian airliner killing all 176 passengers and crew. The airliner was shot down by two air-defense missiles fired by the IRGC as it took off from Tehran’s Imam Khomeini International Airport as the IRGC was anticipating retaliation for its ballistic missile attack that targeted the base.
“Today, we have become so strong that even our enemies like the United States and the Zionists (Israel) do not even think about attacking us,” he said. His sentiment was echoed by Iraj Masjedi, another former senior Quds force commander earlier in the day. Masjedi was also Iran's ambassador to Iraq and a top advisor to Soleimani.