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31 March, 2020
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Both US and Iran claim ‘self defence’

Cyprus ready to accommodate US troops while Trump says Tehran is standing down


Iranian UN ambassador has sent a letter to the UN Security Council calling Tehran’s missile strikes a "measured and proportionate" act of "self-defense,” while the US also says killing Quds Force commander Qassem Soleimani was for self defence.

(Click here for an update to the story)

The Cyprus News Agency cited a source saying the US request did not have anything to do with using the island as a launching pad for military operations

According to foreign media, the letter from Tehran stated that Wednesday’s missile strikes targeted the military base where the attack against Soleimani had been launched days earlier.

"The operation was precise and targeted military objectives thus leaving no collateral damage to civilians and civilian assets in the area," Iran said.

Earlier, Iranian officials said their country did not want a war and its strikes “concluded” its response to last Friday’s killing of Soleimani.

Under Article 51, countries are required to “immediately report” to the 15-member Security Council any measures taken in exercising the right of self-defense.

The United States, which sent a letter to the UN as well, also argued that the killing of Soleimani was self defense and further vowed to take additional action “as necessary” in the Middle East to protect US personnel and interests.

Nicosia ready to accommodate "just in case"

On Wednesday, Nicosia said the Republic of Cyprus accepted a request from Washington regarding the arrival of an American Rapid Deployment Forces unit in case of an emergency.

An official statement said the Cypriot government gave its consent for the temporary stationing of a rapid response unit, which would be tasked with a mission to evacuate US diplomatic personnel and US citizens, should the need arise.

The Cyprus News Agency later cited a source saying the US request did not have anything to do with using the island as a launching pad for "military operations."

State-funded broadcaster RIK News aired Thursday morning video footage of a C130 airplane and 5 or 6 Chinook helicopters over Paphos, saying the aircraft landed and were on stand-by at Andreas Papandreou AFB, an active air base adjacent to Paphos International Airport.

What's next

US President Donald Trump said Iran “appears to be standing down,” adding that “no Americans were harmed in last night’s attack by the Iranian regime.”

“The American people should be extremely grateful and happy,” Trump said.

But critics have warned that asymmetrical warfare or proxies were not out of the picture in the months to come, causing further conflict in the Middle East and a possible need for emergency evacuations.

The US says it is “ready to engage without preconditions in serious negotiations with Iran, with the goal of preventing further endangerment of international peace and security or escalation by the Iranian regime.”

Additional reports on this week's missile attacks said Iraq had received warning from Tehran about strikes on airbases and warned US soldiers to take cover, while other media outlets reported that the US said they had warned Iraq as soon as they detected missile launch activity.

Cyprus  |  Iran  |  US  |  Tehran  |  Nicosia  |  Trump  |  UN  |  self defence  |  Iraq  |  Middle East  |  missile attack

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