December 31, 2019
Former national security adviser John Bolton echoed President Trump in accusing Iran of being responsible for the attack on the American embassy in Baghdad on Tuesday.
“The attack on the U.S. embassy in Baghdad is straight from Iran’s playbook in 1979. It’s a sign of Iranian control over Shia militia groups, not a sign of Iraqi anti-Americanism,” Bolton tweeted. “We must protect our citizens from Iranian belligerence.”
The attack on the U.S. embassy in Baghdad is straight from Iran’s playbook in 1979. It’s a sign of Iranian control over Shia militia groups, not a sign of Iraqi anti-Americanism. We must protect our citizens from Iranian belligerence.
— John Bolton (@AmbJohnBolton) December 31, 2019
Hundreds of pro-Iranian protesters breached the embassy, setting fire to the compound and smashing windows. While the U.S. ambassador to Iraq was reportedly not present, other American diplomats and embassy staffers took shelter in a fortified safe room inside the facility, according to reports. American security forces used tear gas to try and disperse the protesters.
The protests were in response to the United States carrying out five airstrikes in Iraq and Syria over the weekend on facilities controlled by Kataib Hezbollah, an Iranian-backed militia.
Earlier Tuesday, Trump said Iran would be held “fully responsible” for the attack on the embassy.
Iran killed an American contractor, wounding many. We strongly responded, and always will. Now Iran is orchestrating an attack on the U.S. Embassy in Iraq. They will be held fully responsible. In addition, we expect Iraq to use its forces to protect the Embassy, and so notified!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 31, 2019
Four decades ago, Iranian students seized the U.S. embassy in Tehran and held more than 50 Americans hostage for 444 days. The hostage crisis followed the Iranian Revolution that led to the establishment of an Islamic republic.
Bolton’s comments on national security relating to Iran and previously North Korea come as he faces scrutiny over his silence on Trump’s conduct toward Ukraine.