Transcript of Press conference by the Commander of the Aerospace Forces of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), Ali Hajizadeh, on January 10, devoted to the Iranian strikes against al-Assad US Airbase.
The assassination of the martyr Hajj Qassem Soleimani was one of the greatest strategic mistakes in the history of the United States. These strikes were only the beginning of considerable transformations and developments in the region and around the world.
The vengeance of the blood of the martyr Soleimani and our other dear martyrs lies in the triggering of a phase which had to be implemented (sooner or later). As the Supreme Leader Sayed Khamenei said, May God preserve him, ‘The revenge for the blood of the martyrs will drive the US forces out of the region.’ Our missile strikes against one of the most important American bases in the framework of our ‘Operation Martyr Soleimani’ were the start of a major operation that will continue throughout the whole region.
This operation was somewhat different from our previous operations targeting ISIS, which were unilateral operations in which we targeted the various terrorist groups without facing any response from the enemy. But in this strike against the United States, our perspective was different, and we were almost certain to be attacked. This is why all of our units were on high alert, ready to face the enemy, and at least ready for a limited war; and we had also prepared for a large-scale war. So all our units in the various divisions were ready to move on to the next operations in the event of an American response, namely to bomb all the American bases in Iraq and in the countries of the region.
For this operation against the al-Assad base, the choice of the target was very important for us, and in the early morning (following the day of the martyrdom), we were able to identify the bases which were involved in the terrorist operation which caused the martyrdom of the Commander of the al -Quds Forces of the IRGC.
These were the bases of al-Taji (located near Baghdad), Ayn Al-Assad (180 km from Baghdad), the martyr Mowaffaq base in Jordan, and the Ali Al-Salem base in Kuwait. All these bases participated in this joint terrorist operation which was carried out with the help of units located there.
The first option for us in this revenge was the al-Taji base, but a few hours before the operation, we changed the target and chose Ayn al-Assad.
The reason is that the Taji base was close to Baghdad and the Kadhimiya mausoleum, and that it is a common base for both Iraqi and American forces. In addition, we feared that missile attacks and explosions would disturb civilians. So we chose Ayn al-Assad, the largest American military base in Iraq and even in the entire region.
The targets we chose were aimed at hitting the American war machine, the American Command Control Center, American planes, American helicopters and a group of facilities that they used as ammunition depots or for support and maintenance, which was considered the first strike of the operation.
But we were ready to continue the operation, depending on the reaction of the enemy. Without reaction from the US, our attack would have been limited to Iraq and the targeted US bases in Iraq. But in the event of an American response, these operations would have been extended to include American bases in other countries in the region.
The al-Assad base, which has been targeted by Revolutionary Guard missiles, is the largest US base in Iraq, and the most distant from Iran.
We used missiles with a range of 500 km for Operation Martyr Soleimani; during the attack, we used Fateh-313 missiles and long-range missiles such as the Intifada missile with a range of 700 km.
The affected facilities and equipment, such as helicopters and the helicopter maintenance unit, were completely destroyed. The operation was not intended to kill soldiers, and that is why we did not target the barracks and did not seek to deliver a fatal blow. We targeted American military vehicles and destroyed the Command Control Center, its assets and key facilities.
Their Command Center has been destroyed and there are certainly many casualties.
Our main objective was to instill insecurity and terror in their hearts, but if they persist (to occupy our region), other places will be targeted.
It was one of the most strategic American bases in Iraq, six kilometers wide by eight kilometers in length, and the current President visited it recently because it was well-equipped and safe.
Despite their so-called missile shield systems, all of our missiles were fired (and hit their target), and no antimissile missiles were fired at our missiles.
Yes, it is interesting to note that the Americans did not fire a single shot on our missiles which hit all of their targets with precision.
Although they had a large number of planes and defensive equipment around the base of Ain al-Assad, they could not confront us.
The President said that everything is fine and that there are no losses, while the United States did not allow journalists to film the base and assess the damage. The Pentagon said it was assessing the losses.
All is well! Missiles launched from Iran at two military bases located in Iraq. Assessment of casualties & damages taking place now. So far, so good! We have the most powerful and well equipped military anywhere in the world, by far! I will be making a statement tomorrow morning.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 8, 2020
It was a slap from Iran in the face of the United States, in a preliminary response to their crime. Resistance movements in the region must take additional punitive measures.
The balance of losses is unknown. We are very pessimistic towards the enemy, and if they make the slightest mistake, our response will certainly not be as modest as this strike; on the contrary, our response will certainly be decisive.
It was a major operation, disarming one of its largest military bases, and there obviously were some fatalities. The operation is modest compared to the (value of the) blood of the martyr Soleimani and the other martyrs, and the price of this martyrdom will be the expulsion of the United States from the region. But militarily, it was a very large and very complex operation.
The Americans were not ready to respond to the attack, as their statements reveal. They strove to overcome this crisis without losing face. Beforehand, they had threatened us and said they would destroy 52 major Iranian targets in the event of an Iranian retaliatory strike to the killing of martyr Soleimani, but they dared not do anything.
….targeted 52 Iranian sites (representing the 52 American hostages taken by Iran many years ago), some at a very high level & important to Iran & the Iranian culture, and those targets, and Iran itself, WILL BE HIT VERY FAST AND VERY HARD. The USA wants no more threats!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 4, 2020
Since the Second World War, there has been no open attack by a State against the Americans or their interests. No formal military action has been taken against the United States since the Second World War. We have clearly demonstrated that those days are over, and that the decision to strike directly at the United States had been taken unanimously within the country and forces of the Resistance Axis. Thank God the operation was carried out with great care and success. Supreme Revolution Leader Sayed Khamenei also said that if they bombed any target, we would hit ten targets in retaliation. And this round ended like this (because the United States chickened out).
The Islamic Republic of Iran, the United States and the region are entering a new phase. We must be convinced that the future will see major upheavals that no one can ignore. In my opinion, the very will to carry out this operation was more important than the operation itself.
Five minutes after the operation, we launched a major electronic war, hacking American drones flying over the area. We chased them and cut the video and communications links, and it was a big blow for them because they were a great many.
We fired four missiles at other American bases in Iraq, but we were ready to launch several hundred missiles within an hour or two. We thought this conflict could last two to three days to a week (if it did not spread to an all-out war) if the two sides exercised restraint, and that is why we also prepared our special missiles.
We did not seek to kill anyone in the operation, but dozens were killed and others were injured, some of whom were evacuated from Iraq by planes. If we had wanted to kill American soldiers, we would have designed the operation differently. We could have killed at least 500 soldiers in the first salvo, and if they had fired back, we would have changed our strategy and no longer felt any obligation to spare the lives of American forces, and in the second and third salvo, more than 5,000 people would have been killed in two hours.
When asked why the Americans did not launch a war against Iran, the Commander of the IRGC’s Aerospace Forces replied:
They conduct their politics through propaganda, intimidation and media operations. They will definitely win against disarming countries, but they cannot win against a country like Iran. Because the Islamic Republic of Iran is a big & strong country.
If the Americans are to achieve any goals of theirs in Iran, given Iran’s vast territory, they will need to strike thousands of points, including military bases, and oil and economic facilities. Iran for its part has only to focus on specific areas to target, namely a handful of American bases that can be likened to prisons in the sense that the American forces are gathered there (and cannot flee anywhere). The largest of them was Ayn al-Assad, with an area of 50 square kilometers, so their military and human positions (in our sights) are very clear, and we can destroy them with a limited number of missiles and offensive capabilities.
The Americans had created security for themselves by intimidating others, but that security has disappeared. Today, the security and the spirit (of impunity and conquest) of the US army have disappeared.
The American people waste their lives and spend all their money so that American officials devote part of it to electoral campaigns and another to support the Zionist entity, which means that the Zionists live from the pockets of the American people. But they should know that these expenses have so far been unprofitable. It is in their interest to leave the region at the lowest possible cost. They must leave voluntarily from Iraq, Afghanistan and the Arab countries. What I know about the Resistance and the forces that are forming and regrouping in the region is that if the Americans don’t leave the region by themselves, they will suffer major losses (that will force them out).
The United States has defined the Arab Gulf States as vital points for them. I invite the countries of the region to follow the example of the decision of the Iraqi Parliament and the Iraqi people to order the United States to withdraw from their country. Similarly, the Kuwaitis, the Qataris, Oman, the Afghans and the United Arab Emirates must decide to expel the United States; because if they don’t, the Resistance movements will take the decision and the Americans will have to leave the region (by force).