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This aerial photo taken from a helicopter shows Ain al-Asad air base in the western Anbar desert, Iraq, Sunday, Dec. 29, 2019. - Sputnik International

Live Updates: Iran Hails 'Legitimate Self-Defence' as World Expects US Response to Missile Strikes

US Defence Department spokesman Jonathan Hoffman has confirmed that Iran launched more than a dozen ballistic missiles at American forces in Iraq.

On Wednesday morning, a missile strike was launched by Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard (IRGC) targeting US military facilities in Erbil, Iraq and the country's Ayn al-Asad Air Base, which houses American military forces. Another series of rockets was fired later, according to Iranian media reports.

There has been no retaliatory strike from the United States yet.

Last week, Commander of the IRGC's elite Quds Force Qasem Soleimani was killed in a US drone strike ordered by US President Donald Trump at the Baghdad International Airport. In response, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani swore that Tehran would avenge his death.

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19:14 GMT 08.01.2020

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and US President Donald Trump agreed on Wednesday that the alliance can contribute more to stabilization in the Middle East, the alliance said in a statement on both leaders’ phone call on Monday.

"The President asked the Secretary General for NATO to become more involved in the Middle East. They agreed that NATO could contribute more to regional stability and the fight against international terrorism," NATO said.

18:04 GMT 08.01.2020

President Donald Trump’s measured response to Iran's missile attacks in Iraq present a chance to resolve the situation peacefully, US Republican Senator Lindsey Graham said in a statement on Wednesday.

"A homerun speech by President Donald Trump about the challenges we face with Iran. It was measured and firm," Graham said in a statement via Twitter. "To the Iranian people: President Trump laid out a pathway forward for peace and prosperity. I hope you take it."

The statement comes in contrast to Graham’s typical hardline stance, evidenced by comments last night in which he called for a massive retaliation against the Iranians.

17:30 GMT 08.01.2020
17:29 GMT 08.01.2020

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres welcomes any indication that world leaders are walking back from major confrontation following US President Trump’s statement on the Iran’s missile attacks, UN spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said in a press briefing on Wednesday.

"We also take note of the statement made by President Trump not long ago, and we welcome any indication that leads are walking back from major confrontation or doing whatever they can to avoid any further escalation," Dujarric said.

15:43 GMT 08.01.2020

Canadians should avoid all non-essential to travel to Iran, Global Affairs Canada said in a travel advisory on Wednesday.

"Avoid non-essential travel to Iran due to the volatile security situation, the regional threat of terrorism and the risk of arbitrary detention," the advisory said. "Canadians, particularly dual Canadian-Iranian citizens, are at risk of being arbitrarily questioned, arrested and detained."

The advisory noted that Iran does not recognize dual nationality and Canada will not be granted consular access to dual Canadian-Iranian citizens.

"Canadian-Iranian dual citizens should carefully consider the risks of traveling to Iran," the advisory said.

15:37 GMT 08.01.2020
15:26 GMT 08.01.2020

UNITED NATIONS (Sputnik) - The United Nations Security Council has not yet received a request from any member state to convene an emergency meeting following the Iranian missile attacks in Iraq, the council's current president Vietnamese Permanent Representative to the United Nations Dang Dinh Quy told reporters on Wednesday.

“No,” Quy said when asked whether any country had requested a meeting.

15:07 GMT 08.01.2020

UNITED NATIONS (Sputnik) - UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Wednesday called on all sides to make every effort to avoid war in the Persian Gulf after Iran fired missiles at bases in Iraq hosting US military personnel.

“It is our common duty to make every effort to avoid a war in the Gulf that the world cannot afford,” Guterres said. “We must not forget the terrible human suffering caused by war. As always, ordinary people pay the highest price.”

14:57 GMT 08.01.2020
14:37 GMT 08.01.2020
14:06 GMT 08.01.2020

"Recent missile attacks in Erbil and Anbar governorates only escalate conflict, and again violate Iraqi sovereignty", the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq said on its Twitter account. “We call for urgent restraint and a resumption of dialogue".

13:51 GMT 08.01.2020

The office of Iraqi President Barham Saleh has condemned Iran's missile strikes on two US military facilities stationed in the country, while saying in a statement that Iraq "has previously declared its refusal to be a starting point for aggression against any country, and also refuses to be a source of threat to any of its neighbours", as quoted by AP.

The president's office also added that the stationing of US military personnel in Iraq was an "internal matter", while reiterating its condemnation of the breach of Iraqi sovereignty with Tehran's attacks.

12:08 GMT 08.01.2020
11:58 GMT 08.01.2020

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has condemned Iran's attacks on US military bases housing coalition forces in Iraq that were preceded by the assassination of the IRGC's Quds Force Qasem Soleimani.

"We of course condemn the attack on Iraqi military bases hosting coalition forces. Iran should not repeat these reckless and dangerous attacks but must instead pursue urgent de-escalation", Johson told the British Parliament.

The prime minister also added that it was not for London to determine whether US drone strikes on Soleimani conducted on 3 January were legal. 

10:47 GMT 08.01.2020
10:40 GMT 08.01.2020

Paris has condemned the IRGC's attacks on American military facilities in Iraq.

"France would like to highlight again the importance of continuing the fight against Islamic State, while respecting the sovereignty of Iraq", a statement by the French foreign ministry reads.

10:10 GMT 08.01.2020

According to Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi, Iran said its strikes would only target locations of US military, but didn't share any additional details.

The minister said in a Wednesday statement that he hadn't received any reports of casualties either from the Iraqi military or the US-led coalition following Iran's overnight strikes on US military targets.

He has called on all sides to exercise self-restraint and adhere to international agreements, while respecting Iraq's sovereignty.

Abdul-Mahdi has also warned that the ongoing dangerous crisis "threatens a devastating all-out war" in Iraq, the region, and the world.


10:00 GMT 08.01.2020

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and his Turkish counterpart, Mevlut Cavusoglu, discussed Tehran launching airstrikes on US military bases over the phone on Wednesday, Iran's Foreign Ministry said.

"The heads of Iran's and Turkey's foreign ministries discussed over the phone the development of the situation in the [Middle East] following [Iran's] legitimate and decisive response on US military bases in Iraq," the ministry said in a statement.

09:21 GMT 08.01.2020

Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh has said that Tehran is benefiting from rising oil prices, Reuters reported, citing the ISNA news agency.

"The trend of oil prices is up and this benefits Iran ... Americans should stop disturbing the region and let the people of the region live", Zanganeh was quoted as saying.

09:14 GMT 08.01.2020

Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyhahu has warned about a "hard" retaliation against any country that attacks Israel, while reaffirming his support for the assassination of Iranian Military Commander Qasem Soleimani in the US strike.

"Whoever tries to attack us will be dealt the strongest blow", Netanyahu said according to Reuters.

President Donald Trump, right, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, left, shake hands in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Monday, March 25, 2019, at the beginning of their meeting.  - Sputnik International
Netanyahu: Trump Should Be Congratulated for Acting 'Swiftly, Boldly and Resolutely' Over Soleimani
09:08 GMT 08.01.2020
08:57 GMT 08.01.2020

Russia's Air Transport Agency authority has issued a recommendation to national air companies to avoid using the airspace over Iran and Iraq.

"In connection with the information about the existing risks to the security of international civilian flights, the Federal Air Transport Agency recommends to not use the airspace over Iran, Iraq, the Persian and Gulf of Oman for Russian civil aircraft, including transit flights until further notice", the statement from the agency reads.

08:40 GMT 08.01.2020
08:38 GMT 08.01.2020

"As a precautionary measure and following news of airstrikes underway, Air France has decided to suspend until further notice all flights through Iranian and Iraqi airspace", a spokesperson from Air France told AFP.

08:30 GMT 08.01.2020

The current situation in Iraq and Iran following Tehran's airstrikes has "implications" for the coalition fighting the Daesh* terrorist group, said EU Minister for Foreign Affairs Josep Borrell.

"The recent developments in Iran and Iraq and the whole region are extremely worrying and we have had a very fruitful discussion about what the [European] Commission can do. One thing is clear — the current situation puts at risk the efforts of the past years and also has implications for the important work of the anti-Daesh coalition", Borrell said, adding that an extraordinary meeting of the Foreign Affairst Council has been scheduled to take place on Friday.

* Daesh (also known as ISIS/ISIL/IS/Islamic State) is a terrorist organization banned in Russia and many other countries.

08:28 GMT 08.01.2020
08:21 GMT 08.01.2020

Vietnam Airlines is re-routing its planes from Iranian and Iraqi airspaces starting Wednesday, according to a statement from the country's transport ministry cited by Reuters.

Flights are expected to resume after the tensions in the region ease, the statement reads.

08:20 GMT 08.01.2020
07:59 GMT 08.01.2020

No German soldiers were injured following Iran's airstrikes on Iraqi bases housing US-led coalition forces, Defence Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer said.

"Among our servicewomen and servicemen, nobody was injured", the defence minister told the broadcaster ARD.

She also added that Berlin was now considering a partial pullout of German military personnel from Erbil following Tehran's airstrikes, as it wants to ensure soldiers are not subjected to "unnecessary risks".

07:40 GMT 08.01.2020
06:48 GMT 08.01.2020

No oil supply disruptions are currently expected from Iraq, the Secretary General of the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) has reportedly said, adding that "nobody" wants a war in the Middle East.

06:29 GMT 08.01.2020

Iranian state TV said that President Hassan Rouhani will deliver a speech to the nation following country's airstikes against US military facilities in Iraq. The timing for the speech has not been specified yet. 

06:14 GMT 08.01.2020

Iraq's military said on Wednesday that no casualties were recorded among the country’s forces from the 22 projectiles launched on the Ayn al-Asad Air Base, housing US troops, in the western province of Anbar and a base in Erbil.

"Iraq was subjected between 1:45 and 2:45 this morning of 8 January 2020 to bombardment by 22 missiles; 17 missiles fell on Ayn al-Asad Air Base including two that did not explode ... and five on the city of Erbil that all fell on coalition headquarters. No casualties among Iraqi forces were recorded", a statement from the Iraqi military said as quoted by Reuters.

06:06 GMT 08.01.2020

Flydubai on Wednesday cancelled its flight to Baghdad following two waves of airstikes on US military facilities in Iraq by Iran. Its flights to the Iraqi cities of Basra and Najaf will still go ahead as scheduled, the airline said as quoted by Reuters. 

06:02 GMT 08.01.2020

"In view of recent developments and the prevailing security situation in the region, Pakistani nationals are advised to exercise maximum caution while planning visit to Iraq at this point", a statement from Pakistan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs reads. "Those already in Iraq are advised to remain in close contact with the Embassy of Pakistan in Baghdad".

05:55 GMT 08.01.2020

"In view of the latest developments in the region, all SIA flights in and out of Europe are diverted from Iranian airspace", Singapore Airlines said in a statement to CNBC. "We are monitoring the situation closely and will make the appropriate adjustments to our routes if necessary".

05:27 GMT 08.01.2020

Iranian state TV reportedly said the US military death toll has reached 80 following Tehran's airstrikes. It was also reported that American helicopters and military equipment were "severely damaged" by 15 Iranian missiles.

None of the projectiles were allegedly intercepted, according to the media.

Washington has not commented on the information yet.

04:58 GMT 08.01.2020

On Wednesday, India issued a travel warning, cautioning its citizens to avoid "non-essential" travel to Iraq following two waves of missile attacks on US targets in Erbil and the country's Ayn al-Asad Air Base by Iran.

"In view of the prevailing situation in Iraq, Indian nationals are advised to avoid all non-essential travel to Iraq until further notification", a statement from India's foreign ministry says as quoted by Reuters. 

The Indian government has also asked the country's airlines to avoid travelling in the airspace of Iran, Iraq, and the Gulf region.

"The government asked Indian airlines to avoid airspace of Iran, Iraq, and Persian Gulf & Gulf of Oman", sources from Indian civil aviation told Sputnik.

04:43 GMT 08.01.2020

The United States has suffered "great losses" following Iran's strike on the Ayn al-Asad Air Base in Iraq, where US troops are housed, according to advisor to the commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Hamid Reza Moghadam Far.

"Initial information confirms great losses on the US Ayn al-Asad Air Base, despite the US trying to hide the facts", Hamid Reza Moghadam Far said on Wednesday.

04:31 GMT 08.01.2020

"We thank the Revolutionary Guards' successful operation ... We have never wanted war but any aggression will receive a crushing response", Iranian Government Spokesman Ali Rabiei said on Twitter.

03:45 GMT 08.01.2020

"Missile tracking shows they hit intended American targets in Iraq," Iranian television said, according to Reuters.

03:25 GMT 08.01.2020
03:15 GMT 08.01.2020
03:08 GMT 08.01.2020

Iran will take all necessary and proportionate actions against any threat or use of force, Iranian Ambassador to the United Nations Majid Takht Ravanchi said in a letter addressed to Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and the UN Security Council.

"Accordingly, in conformity with international law and in exercising its inherent right to self-defence, Iran will take all necessary and proportionate measures against any threat or use of force," Ravanchi said on Tuesday.

Ravanchi also called on the Security Council to strongly condemn the US threats and policies and hold the country accountable for its "wrongful" acts.

03:03 GMT 08.01.2020

Judd Deere, the deputy press secretary of the White House, said that Trump had thanked Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani for Qatar's partnership with the United States. Apart from Iraq and Iran, they touched upon important bilateral and regional matters.

Meanwhile, Deere did not specify whether the negotiations had been held prior to or after Iran's attacks on US military facilities in Iraq.

03:01 GMT 08.01.2020

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe delayed his planned tour to the Middle East, namely visits to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates were cancelled amid escalated US-Iran military confrontation, media reported on Wednesday.

According to the Kyodo news agency, Abe urged to ensure safety of Japanese citizens in the region in close cooperation with other countries, adding that Tokyo needs to be fully prepared for any circumstances.

Moreover, Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said that Tokyo called on concerned countries to make every diplomatic effort to ease tensions in the region.

Previously Kyodo reported that Abe convened a meeting of the National Security Council over Iran’s ballistic missile attacks on US military facilities in Iraq.

02:51 GMT 08.01.2020
02:37 GMT 08.01.2020
02:32 GMT 08.01.2020

Iran launched a total of 15 ballistic missiles at US bases in Iraq, 11 of them hit the targets, ABC News reported on Wednesday citing a defence official.

02:27 GMT 08.01.2020

There are "no US casualties" from Iran's missile strike, Fox News reported, citing a military official in Baghdad.

02:21 GMT 08.01.2020

"Pompeo briefed Kurdistan Regional Government Prime Minister Masrour Barzani by telephone today to update him on the Iranian missile attacks on Iraqi Air Bases, including in Erbil. The Secretary and Prime Minister Barzani agreed to stay in close touch as the situation develops," Ortagus said on Tuesday.

02:18 GMT 08.01.2020

"Iranian military aircraft have lifted off from airports and are flying over the country in response to the liftoff of US military aircraft from a base in the United Arab Emirates," the source said on Wednesday morning.

02:09 GMT 08.01.2020

An IRGC commander said Iran's attacks were the first step and Tehran will not spare Americans, Reuters reported.

01:49 GMT 08.01.2020
01:43 GMT 08.01.2020

"Certain flights… are prohibited from operating in the overwater airspace above the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman due to heightened military activities," the FAA said in a notice on Tuesday.

01:42 GMT 08.01.2020
01:40 GMT 08.01.2020
01:31 GMT 08.01.2020
01:27 GMT 08.01.2020

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has arrived at the Iranian operations headquarters to coordinate attacks on US facilities in Iraq, MSNBC reports citing Iranian State TV.

01:10 GMT 08.01.2020

US Forces in eastern Syrian Deir ez-Zur province are on high alert and started moving to the military base close to the Iraqi border, following the attack, state-run Syria TV reported.

Syria TV also said that they received information regarding the beginning of an evacuation of US forces from the Al-Omar oil field and the Conoco gas field. US troops are on their way to the military base near Ash Shaddadi town in Hasakah province.

01:03 GMT 08.01.2020

Preparations are underway for US President Donald Trump to address the American people from the Oval Office, CNN reported.

01:02 GMT 08.01.2020

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defence Secretary Mark Esper arrived at the White House in the wake of a missile attack on American forces in Iraq, CNN reported.

01:00 GMT 08.01.2020

There are casualties among the Iraqis after the Iranian attack on the US Ain Al Asad Airbase in western Iraq, CNN reported on Wednesday, citing a security source.

No further information is provided on the number of casualties or were the victims killed or wounded.

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