US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper admitted on Sunday that he has not seen any concrete "proof" that Iranian General Qasem Soleimani, killed this month in a US operation in Baghdad, planned to attack four embassies in the US , as President Donald Trump states.
"The president did not cite a particular test, and I have not seen any, as far as the four embassies are concerned," Esper said in an interview with the television program "Face The Nation" on CBS News.
The Pentagon chief clarified, however, that he agrees with Trump that "it is likely that (the Iranians) were going to attack embassies, because they are the highlight of the US presence in a country."RELATED
His statements add doubts to Trump's changing account to justify the mission against Soleimani, as the president initially said that the commander planned indefinite attacks against US targets, then said he wanted to "fly" the embassy in Baghdad and then spoke of plans against others. missions.
"I can reveal that I think there would probably have been four embassies," Trump said during an interview on Friday with Fox News.
Esper defended that the president never spoke of evidence in the case of the four embassies, but said he "believed" that this was Soleimani's plan, and assured that he shares that analysis.
What the Secretary of Defense saw "evidence" was that Soleimani planned to attack the US embassy in Baghdad, according to Esper in another interview with the CNN network.
The changes in Trump's justification for that mission have generated discomfort among some members of Congress, who received no information about the alleged threat to four embassies during a meeting they held this week with Esper and other officials, according to various media.
Independent Congressman Justin Amash, who left the Republican party last year, accused Trump on Friday of "lying or beautifying things" with his statement about the four embassies.
In addition, the hypothesis that the operation against Soleimani could be part of a broader plan designed to weaken the Iranian Revolutionary Guardians has gained strength after the Washington Post revealed on Friday that the US launched another air strike in Yemen on the same day as the mission in Baghdad on January 2.
The operation in Yemen sought to kill Abdul Reza Shahlai, a commander of the Quds Force of the Revolutionary Guard Corps, but failed to end his life.
Meanwhile, Trump turned to Twitter again on Sunday to support this Saturday's protests in Tehran, where hundreds of Iranians chanted strong slogans against the Islamic system and the Revolutionary Guard.
"To the leaders of Iran: DO NOT KILL YOUR MANIFESTANTS. Thousands have already died or been imprisoned by you, and the world is watching you. And most importantly, the United States is watching you," Trump wrote.
The president asked the Iranian government to "re-activate the internet", although today there were no cuts in access to that service in Iran – as it did during the demonstrations last November – and the protests seemed to calm down this Sunday .
Source: EFE and AFP
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