After Back-to-Back Attacks on US Troops, Diplomats From Iran, Iraq to Meet
By Nicole Wells | Friday, 22 April 2022 06:41 PM
In the wake of back-to-back attacks on U.S. troops deployed on both sides of the Iraq-Syria border, diplomats from Iran and Iraq have agreed to meet soon, Newsweek reports.
According to statements published Friday, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian and Iraqi Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein spoke by telephone.
Amir-Abdollahian said the two talked about "issues of mutual interest, including bilateral ties, regional developments and the Vienna talks," where Tehran has sought the United States' return to a 2015 nuclear deal that then-President Donald Trump pulled out of in 2018.
The Iranian foreign minister also "emphasized the need to focus on dialogue and a diplomatic solution to the crisis in Ukraine and said addressing the root causes of the current crisis was the key to the establishment of peace and lasting stability in the Eurasian region."
In its statement, the Iraqi Foreign Ministry mentioned the same topics of discussion, as well as "ways to strengthen bilateral relations'' and said that "the two sides stressed the need to meet as soon as possible to discuss developments in the region."
U.S.-led coalition forces were attacked in the early hours of April 7, according to Newsweek, at the so-called Green Village in eastern Syria's Deir Ezzor province. They reportedly received two rounds of ''indirect fire that struck two support buildings.'' Four U.S. soldiers were evaluated for ''minor injuries and possible traumatic brain injuries.''
The coalition did not attribute blame for the incident. The Pentagon, however, has blamed similar attacks on militias with ties to Iran, which has demanded that the U.S. withdraw all forces from the region.
The diplomats' remarks came as reports emerged Thursday that U.S. forces downed two drones near the Ain al-Asad Air Base in Iraq's western Al-Anbar province.
In a statement, the U.S.-led coalition said that "U.S. air defense systems shot down an armed unmanned aerial system" near the military installation at "approximately 1:46 a.m." Friday local time.
No injuries or damage were reported, as per the statement.
Since the U.S. exit from the nuclear accord known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), tensions between Tehran and Washington have escalated.
President Joe Biden is pursuing a return to the JCPOA, but the White House is demanding that Iran abide by nuclear limitations that it suspended because of economic sanctions levied by the Trump administration.
The Biden administration has maintained the sanctions, Newsweek reports, even as both sides claim to be close to a deal in Vienna.
The State Department has Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps listed as a foreign terrorist organization, a designation that has been widely viewed as one of the final stumbling blocks to reaching a new nuclear deal.