Defense Secretary Mark Esper put Iran and its militia groups operating in Iraq on further notice Thursday morning, warning that further violence and attacks against the United States will be dealt with accordingly.
"If anybody challenges us, they will be met with a severe response, a strong response by U.S. forces," Esper said during an interview with Fox News. "I'm not going to telegraph what we're going to do but people know that we have vast capability to do any number of things. We will act in response to actions by Iran or its proxies and we will act to pre-empt any attacks on our forces, our personnel, but Iran or its proxies."
Esper went on to say President Trump's entire national security team is on the same page.
"Our aim is to deter further Iranian bad behavior that has been going on now for over 40 years. It's time that Iran start acting like a normal country," he said.
On Wednesday evening, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made it clear Americans stationed at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, which was attacked by Iranian terrorists Tuesday, have no plans to leave.
Spoke today with Iraqi Prime Minister al-Mahdi, who agreed that #Iraq would continue to uphold its responsibility to keep U.S. personnel secure and would move the Iran-backed attackers away from @USEmbBaghdad. We’ll continue cooperation to hold #Iran and its proxies responsible.— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) January 1, 2020