Tehran warned Iraq often about threats posed to Iran, foreign ministry says

View of a damaged building in the aftermath of missile attacks in Erbil, Iraq March 13, 2022. REUTERS/Azad Lashkari

DUBAI, March 14 (Reuters) - Tehran had warned Iraqi authorities many times that its territory should not be used by third parties to conduct attacks against Iran, Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Saeed Khatibzadeh said on Monday.

He was speaking one day after Iran attacked Erbil in northern Iraq with a dozen ballistic missiles in an unprecedented assault on the capital of the autonomous Iraqi Kurdish region that appeared to target the United States and its allies.

Iran's Revolutionary Guards claimed responsibility for the missile assault.

Iranian state media said the Revolutionary Guards Corps had launched the attack against Israeli "strategic centres" in Erbil, suggesting it was revenge for recent Israeli air strikes that killed Iranian military personnel in Syria.

"The central government of Iraq has the responsibility to ensure that its territory is not used as a base for attacks by third parties against Iran," said Khatibzadeh.

"Several times in the past, Iraq's territory was used against Iran by third parties including terrorist groups such as Kurdish militants, the United States and the Zionist entity," he added, referring to Israel.

The Iraqi Kurdish regional government said the attack only targeted civilian residential areas, not sites belonging to foreign countries, and called on the international community to carry out an investigation.

Sunday's attack came as talks to revive the 2015 Iran nuclear deal face the prospect of collapse after a last-minute Russian demand forced world powers to pause negotiations for an undetermined time despite having a largely completed text.

In another setback for regional diplomacy, Iran said on Sunday it was suspending a fifth round of talks due this week in Baghdad with regional rival Saudi Arabia.

Reporting by Dubai Newsroom; Editing by Toby Chopra, Michael Georgy and Gareth Jones

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.