Recent US remarks regarding the allged Iranian involvement in the deaths of at least 608 US service members are an attempt “to invent another pretext to justify a rapid escalation in relations with Iran”, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mariya Zakharova said during a press briefing on April 4.
“I was surprised to read the startling, as I see it, statement by Brian Hook, the US Special Representative for Iran, alleging that Iran is responsible for the deaths of 608 US service members in Iraq. We have not heard of any military clashes between Americans and Iranians in Iraq. And so our colleagues in Washington should provide an explanation as to what they specifically mean by Teheran’s involvement.
We do understand that anti-Iranian sentiment in Washington is running high but there should be at least some facts to support statements made and accountability for what is said,” the diplomat stressed.
She continued by saying that “Washington is trying to invent another pretext to justify a rapid escalation in relations with Iran if it deems it expedient”. Zakharova warned Washington against “such steps because they are fraught with catastrophic consequences for stability in the Middle East, which is in disarray even without it.”
“Getting back to Hook’s statement, I would like to ask what the United States was doing in Iraq anyway? Why did they invade the country, essentially destroying it, in 2003? The US occupation led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, most of whom were civilians. I would like to stress that there is no exact figure. Nobody has counted the civilian population killed there. There was a separate set of statistics for troops.
For example, we remember the video of 2007 that shows Blackwater private security company personnel shooting unarmed people with a machinegun in Bagdad. Who will answer for those victims? But they must be counted first.
And who will answer for the killing of 290 passengers of the Iranian plane shot down by a missile launched from a US cruiser in the Persian Gulf in 1988? Would Mr Hook like to speak on this subject? Has anybody in Washington apologised for all those victims?“, she added.
The diplomat added that there is no secret that “it was the US invasion in Iraq that resulted in the emergence of ISIS.”
“It brought additional suffering to the people of Iraq and neighboring Syria as well as to many other countries. Moreover, it created additional risks to global security because ISIS militants have dispersed all around the world now, and yet Western countries have reported that ISIS has been destroyed. Maybe they meant in Syria only? Yet, they are also still there, unfortunately. We see their crimes all over the world.
There should be no doubts that the US intervention in Iraq will remain in history as a grave violation of international law and, in fact, a criminal act. We advise the United States to stop seeking pretexts for new conflicts, increasing suffering all around the world with its aggressive policy,” Zakharova stated.
On April 2, Advisor to the Secretary of State Brian Hook said that Iran is responsible for the deaths of at least 608 US service members in Iraq in the period from 2003 to 2011. Besides this Hook came with a wide list of accusations blaiming and shaming Iran for its “meddling” in affairs of Middle Eastern states.
While these remarks added nothing new to the US stance towards Iran, they openly showed that Washington is not interested in a de-escalation of relations with the Middle Eastern country.