FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 11, 2011
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Joe Lieberman (I-CT) today issued the following statement on the Iranian government’s ongoing bombardment of the Iraqi Kurdistan Region:
“We are deeply concerned by the Iranian government’s ongoing bombardment of the Iraqi Kurdistan Region, which has killed and wounded innocent civilians and displaced dozens of families. The Iranian government should immediately cease its shelling of Iraqi territory and respect Iraq’s sovereignty, as Iraqi leaders in Baghdad and Erbil have repeatedly demanded.
“The shelling along the border region of northern Iraq fits a broader pattern of behavior by the Iranian government, which has sought to exercise malign and destabilizing influence over Iraq’s internal affairs. To this day, the Iranian government continues to train, fund, arm, and direct violent extremist groups that threaten the ability of the Iraqi state to control its own territory. These same groups are also attacking and killing U.S. troops and civilians in Iraq. In 2009, Iranian military units even crossed the Iraqi border and briefly seized an oil field on sovereign Iraqi territory. We urge the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad and the Administration in Washington to speak out in defense of Iraq’s sovereignty, to condemn the shelling of Iraqi territory, and to work with Iraqi authorities to help strengthen Iraq’s capabilities to defend its country.
“It is time to put Iranian leaders on notice that, if they continue on their current path—destabilizing Iraq, murdering Americans, pursuing nuclear weapons, and fostering terrorism, including a secret deal with al Qaeda—they will face increasingly severe consequences. In the past, authoritarian regimes and extremist groups have underestimated America’s resolve and determination. Iran’s leaders would be wise not to repeat this mistake.”