Here’s what you need to know…
A coalition of GOP senators, led by Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., is urging Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Secretary of Treasury Janet Yellen behind closed doors to hold accountable terrorist groups associated with the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) for recent attacks on U.S. service members.
According to Newsmax, the senators mentioned incidents in which these Iraq-based groups reportedly killed a U.S. citizen in Baghdad, murdered a U.S. contractor, injured four U.S. service personnel in Syria, and abducted a U.S.-based researcher.
The letter highlighted that many of these Iraq-based groups, responsible for over two dozen attacks on U.S. troops in the region since Oct. 17, have ties to the IRGC but are not currently designated as Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTOs) under U.S. law. Senators Joni Ernst, R-Iowa; Bill Hagerty, R-Tenn.; and Roger Wicker, R-Miss., also joined Sen. Cotton in the appeal.
Meanwhile, a senior Iranian general, Amir-Ali Hajizadeh, declared on Monday that Tehran is not afraid of the U.S. and emphasized Iran’s current position of strength. He noted that the U.S. is engaging in diplomatic talks with Iran using a “language of request and plea” amid ongoing attacks on U.S. bases.
Last week, two U.S. F-15 jet fighters conducted airstrikes on a weapons storage facility in eastern Syria used by the IRGC and its affiliated groups. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin stated that the precision self-defense strike was a response to a series of attacks against U.S. personnel in Iraq and Syria by IRGC-Quds Force affiliates. Austin emphasized the president’s commitment to the safety of U.S. personnel and interests, stating that the United States is fully prepared to take further necessary measures to protect its people and facilities, while urging against any escalation.