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After missile strike in Iraq, Iran warns it "will not tolerate" any "threats" from Iraqi soil

Buildings damaged in a missile attack by Iran near the U.S. consulate compound in Erbil, Iraq, March 13, 2022. Dalshad Al-Daloo/Xinhua/Getty

Tehran Iran warned Monday that it won't tolerate "threats" coming from Iraq, a day after firing ballistic missiles at what it said was an Israeli site in the neighboring country.

"It is not at all acceptable that one of our neighbors that has deep relations with us... becomes a center for creating threats against the Islamic republic," said foreign ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh.

"Iran will not tolerate that a center near its borders becomes the center for sabotage, conspiracy and sending terrorist groups to Iran," he said at his weekly press conference in Tehran.

Iran's Revolutionary Guards, the ideological arm of the armed forces, said Sunday they had targeted a "strategic center" belonging to Israel, the Islamic republic's arch enemy, in the northern Iraqi city of Erbil, using "powerful precision missiles."

The Pentagon says Iran has launched more than a dozen ballistic missiles at two bases in Iraq that are home to U.S. troops. CBS News

Kurdish authorities, however, insisted that the Jewish state has no sites in or near Erbil, the capital of their autonomous region in Iraq's north.

The authorities said a dozen ballistic missiles had targeted Erbil, including some U.S. facilities, in the pre-dawn cross-border attack that lightly wounded two civilians.

A U.S. State Department official told CBS News there were no American casualties, and that most if not all of the missiles that struck had been directed at a private Iraqi Kurdish citizen's residential compound.

Baghdad summoned the Iranian ambassador, Iraj Masjidi, to protest the strikes as Iraq's foreign ministry condemned the attack as a "flagrant violation of (Iraqi) sovereignty."

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke on Sunday with Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi about the attack. State Department spokesman Ned Price said in a statement that Blinken had condemned the Iranian missile strike as a violation of Iraq's sovereignty and "expressed solidarity with the Iraqi people."

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"The Secretary conveyed the U.S. commitment to working with the Iraqi government and others in the region to hold Iran accountable," Price said.

In Tehran, Khatibzadeh said his country had warned Iraq's federal government "several times" not to "allow Iraq's borders with Iran to become insecure."

"Iran expects the central government of Iraq to end this situation once and for all and not allow its borders to be abused," he added.

Sunday's attack came nearly a week after two officers of Iran's Revolutionary Guards were killed in Syria in a strike attributed to Israel, a key U.S. ally.

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Iraq, including the Kurdistan region, is home to a now reduced deployment of U.S. troops who led a coalition fighting the ISIS jihadist group.

Washington has blamed a series of rocket and drone attacks against its military and diplomatic interests in Iraq on pro-Iran groups who demand the departure of the remaining U.S. troops, but cross-border missile fire has been rare.

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