Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei has called the US missile strike on a Syrian airbase a "strategic mistake" on the part of the Trump administration. He said Tehran will not be "intimidated" by US actions in the Middle East.
Iran, the Shia powerhouse of the Middle East, has been a staunch backer of President Bashar al-Assad in Syria since the beginning of the uprising-turned-civil war. Following the US' pounding of Syrian regime positions with 59 cruise missiles, Iran had rallied behind Russia to condemn Washington.
Speaking to a group of top military commanders in Tehran on Sunday, 9 April, Khamenei, who wields the highest say in Iran's political affairs, claimed the Trump administration was "repeating the mistakes of its predecessors".
"Former American officials created Daesh [Arabic name for Islamic State] or helped them, and the current officials are also strengthening Daesh or a group similar to it," Khamenei said. The US actions would recoil on Washington, he warned.
"The Islamic Republic [of Iran] has shown that it doesn't back off under the influence of such irrelevant statements and wrong deeds, and the people and officials who hold [a] belief in the revolution do not step back when faced with threats," asserted Khamenei reiterating Iran's support for Assad's regime.
Iran's Chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces Major General Mohammad Hossein Baqerihas also held separate discussions with his Syrian and Russian counterparts over the weekend promising Tehran's support.
Washington's attack on the Sharyat airbase on Friday, 7 April, was triggered by a chemical weapons attack in Idlib province which killed up to 90 people. Though it is independently yet to be established who was behind the sarin gas attack, the US blames Assad's forces, while Russia points fingers at anti-regime rebel groups.