FILE PHOTO: A picture of Qassem Soleimani is hanged at a display of symbolic empty coffins of American and Israeli soldiers at the former US embassy in Tehran © Reuters / Nazanin Tabatabaee
Dozens of American troops have been diagnosed with traumatic brain injuries following Iranian strikes on two US bases in Iraq earlier this month, according to the Pentagon. Iran struck the bases in retaliation for the Trump administration’s assassination of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani by airstrike at Baghdad Airport several days earlier.
ALSO ON RT.COM34 US troops suffered brain injury in Iran’s revenge strike for Soleimani’s killing – PentagonThough President Donald Trump proudly declared that no Americans were killed in the strikes – thanks to a tip-off from the Iraqi military and the bases’ early-warning systems, at least 50 US troops have been diagnosed with traumatic brain injury since.
However, Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) spokesman Brigadier General Ramezan Sharif claimed on Saturday that those troops the US says are injured, are actually dead.
“I believe that that the term ‘brain trauma,’ whether mild, moderate or severe, reflects the number of dead, which they hesitate to formally announce,” Sharif wrote in Iran’s Vatan-e-Emrooz daily newspaper.
He accused Washington of covering up the true toll of the strikes to save face, and project strength ahead of this year’s election.
“Surely as we approach the US presidential election, more numbers and names related to the dead will be leaked along with the competition among the parties,” he added.
ALSO ON RT.COMIran says US decision to sanction nuclear chief is ‘childish’ and shows ‘despair,’ won’t slow program downSharif’s accusation is likely untrue, and intended for domestic consumption. In the immediate aftermath of the missile attack, IRGC sources told Iranian state news outlet Mehr News that more than 80 American troops were killed and 200 injured. However, no senior Iranian government officials have repeated the claim, and none of the state-run outlets running the story have managed to back it up.
Trump opted not to respond with force to the Iranian attack, largely due to the fact that no Americans were killed. Instead, the president applied further economic sanctions to Iran as part of the US’ “maximum pressure” campaign against the Islamic Republic.