U.S. may target more Iranian Ieaders, Pompeo threatens

WASHINGTON — The U.S. military may strike more Iranian leaders if the Islamic Republic retaliates for the Trump administration’s killing of Tehran’s most powerful general last week by attacking Americans or American interests, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Sunday.

As Pompeo conducted a round of TV interviews to explain President Donald Trump’s decision to target Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the repercussions from that attack played out: The Iraqi Parliament called on the 5,200 U.S. forces in the country to leave; the U.S. military coalition in Baghdad suspended training of Iraqi forces to concentrate on defending coalition troops; and in Beirut, the Lebanese Hezbollah chief said U.S. forces throughout the Mideast are fair targets for retaliation.

Even a Trump ally, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., called the move by Iraqi lawmakers “a bit concerning.’’
In Tehran, Iranian state television reported that the country will no longer abide by any limits of the 2015 nuclear deal it signed with the United States and other world powers. Trump withdrew the U.S. from the deal in 2018 and stepped up economic sanctions on Tehran — actions that accelerated a cycle of hostilities leading to the Soleimani killing.

The State Department had no immediate comment on Iran reportedly abandoning the nuclear deal, a move that holds the prospect of Iran accelerating its production of materials for a nuclear weapon.
Trump continued issuing warnings to Iran by tweet. “These Media Posts will serve as notification to the United States Congress that should Iran strike any U.S. person or target, the United States will quickly & fully strike back, & perhaps in a disproportionate manner,” he wrote Sunday afternoon. “Such legal notice is not required, but is given nevertheless!”

Democrats in Congress complained about the administration’s failure to consult with legislative leaders before conducting the drone attack Friday against Soleimani, and the White House faced a barrage of questions about the killing’s legality. Pompeo said the administration would have been “culpably negligent” in its duty to protect the United States if it had not killed Soleimani, although he did not provide evidence for his previous claims that Soleimani was plotting imminent attacks on Americans.


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