Khamenei, Iran-Backed Militia Leader Threaten U.S. over Recognition of Jerusalem

Iran’s Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei expressed his anger over the decision to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, threatening that Palestine will be “freed” and claiming that America was starting a “war in the region to protect the security of the Zionist regime.”

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei
The Jerusalem Post reported on Wednesday that Khamenei had dismissed President Donald Trump’s decision as a sign of desperation. “That they claim they want to announce Quds as the capital of occupied Palestine is because of their incompetence and failure,” Khamenei said, using the Arabic name for Jerusalem. He added: “On the issue of Palestine (US) hands are tied and they cannot advance their goals.” Iran has long supported a number of Palestinian terrorist groups, including Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, in their fight against Israel. Meanwhile, the leader of an one of the Iran-backed Shiite militias operating in Iraq, which make up the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) threatened to attack United States forces in the wake of Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, Agence France-Presse reported on Thursday.

Iranians walk past a giant portrait of the country’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Photograph: SIPA/REX/Shutterstock
“The decision by Trump on Al-Quds (Jerusalem) makes it legitimate to strike the American forces in Iraq,” Akram al-Kaabi, leader of the Al-Nojaba militia, said.
Al-Nojaba was formed in 2013 by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). It answers to Iran’s IRGC-Qods Force commander Qassem Soleimani and is part of the PMF, or Hashd al-Shaabi, as the militias are known in Arabic. In addition to fighting against ISIS in Iraq, Al-Nojaba has fought in Syria to support regime President Bashar al-Assad and helped Iran extend it influence across the region. The U.S. is estimated to have between 5,000 and 9,000 troops currently serving in Iraq.
Last week, CIA Director Mike Pompeo said that he sent a letter to Soleimani warning him and his proxies not to target American troops.

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