Iran’s Revolutionary Guards said Sunday they had no intention of killing U.S. troops while firing a flood of missiles on Iraqi bases housing American forces last week.
“Our aim was not really to kill enemy soldiers. That was not important,“ the leader of the Guards, Hossein Salami, told the parliament, referring to the missile operation launched on Wednesday to avenge the killing of a top Iranian general.
“The physical destruction (caused by the missiles) was just because we wanted to say that we are so much more superior to the enemy (and) that we can hit any point we choose,” he added, in a speech aired on state television.
Iran launched a wave of missiles at bases in Iraq on Wednesday that hosted American and other foreign troops.
The US said that in those missile attacks on Iraqi territory, no American troops were hurt.
The Iranian action was carried out in a January 3 US drone strike near Baghdad airport in response to the killing of Qasem Soleimani, the leader of Quds’ Guards Force.
Hours after Wednesday’s missile launch, Iran shot down a Ukrainian passenger plane shortly after it took off from Tehran, killing all 176 people aboard in what it later acknowledged was a catastrophic mistake.
Aerospace commander General Amirali Hajizadeh of the Guards took full responsibility for Saturday’s downing of the Boeing 737.
In a closed session on Sunday, Salami briefed the Iranian parliament on the incidents after President Hassan Rouhani asked him to testify.
Iran has invited experts from Canada, France, Ukraine and the United States to assist in the air disaster inquiry.
“We didn’t touch anything,” Salami told deputies.