US: Iranian troops in Crimea backing Russian drone strikes against its people
US drone has killed 5 Iranian soldiers in a strike in a week
The drone strikes have raised tensions between the two nations
Iranian special forces are also believed to be involved in drone strikes on pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine
US President Donald Trump’s announcement that his administration was launching retaliatory cruise missile strikes against Iran failed to halt the growing tensions between the two nations.
After US Vice President Mike Pence’s announcement that missiles would be “destroyed”, however, the situation deteriorated.
“It was a stupid decision (to launch the strike) that’s just been made. It was stupid,” Mr Trump told reporters as he returned to the White House after a conference in Florida, adding: “It was not a tough decision”.
Speaking at the White House, Mr Trump said: “If they are not destroying a major military facility, an island or an air base, Iran will be totally destroyed.”
The US strike in Syria follows a series of US drone attacks in Iran.
Washington has repeatedly accused Tehran of backing groups it claims are carrying out attacks on coalition forces in Iraq, and have vowed to “totally destroy” a “rebel” army in the Middle East.
The US, however, has failed in its bid to convince the international community that its strikes in Iraq are in response to Tehran.
Iranian officials are reported to have said they were not ready to talk.
Video: Donald Trump condemns a drone attack in Iran
Image: Mike Pence, left, said the strikes were ‘a clear message’
Mr Trump initially justified the strikes by saying Iran was “at war” with coalition forces in Iraq, despite the fact that Mr Trump and Mr Pence had previously said they were in response to an attack on an Iraqi military base in response to the US killing of an Iranian general in Baghdad.
Earlier this month, a CIA drone killed Qassem Soleimani – the head of Iran’s elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps – at a Baghdad airport.
A CIA spokesman said the strike targeted Soleimani’s convoy – a spokesman for the Iranian-