The Indian Navy on Wednesday deployed warships in the Gulf region to protect the country’s trade routes, and to deal with any emergent situation, amid the tension between the United States and Iran.
US President Donald Trump said no Americans were harmed in the attacks Tehran launched on two US bases in Iraq earlier in the day in retaliation against last week’s assassination of its top military commander Qassem Soleimani. Trump announced “additional punishing sanctions” on Iran, and reiterated that Tehran would not be allowed to build a nuclear weapon.
Meanwhile, Iran’s envoy to India Ali Chegeni said the development of the Chabahar port would not be impeded by the current situation. He also said Iran would welcome any peace initiative by India to defuse tensions with the United States.
Earlier in the day, India advised its citizens to avoid all non-essential travel to Iraq. The Ministry of External Affairs also advised Indians in Iraq to stay alert and avoid travel within the country.
10.16 pm: The foreign minister of Iraq has pledged to summon the ambassador of Iranian envoy over the “violation” of the country’s sovereignty, reports AFP. Tehran attacked two American bases earlier in the day.
10.05 pm: The US president also announces immediate “additional punishing sanctions” on Iran.
10.04 pm: Trump alleges that the missiles fired by Iran were paid for by” funds paid for by the previous administration” – a strong criticism of Barack Obama’s Iran policy. “As long as I am president, Iran will not be allowed a nuclear weapon,” he adds.
10.03 pm: Donald Trump reiterates his administration’s reasons for assassinating Quds Force chief Qassem Soleimani. The Iranian military leader “trained terrorist armies, including Hezbollah, fuelled bloody civil wars, and viciously injured and murdered American troops”.
10 pm: Donald Trump says Iran “appears to be standing down” and claims no American or Iraqi lives were lost in Tehran’s missile attacks earlier in the day.
9.22 pm: The Indian Navy has deployed warships in the Gulf region to ensure security of India’s sea-borne trade and respond to any urgent situation, PTI reports. “Indian Navy continues to monitor the situation in the Gulf region and is maintaining presence in the region to ensure security of our sea-borne trade and the safety of Indian Flag Merchant Vessels transiting through the region,” the Navy said in a statement.
9 pm: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says “no one has the right to throw the whole region, especially Iraq, into a new ring of fire for the sake of their own interests,” The Washington Post reports. “The tension between our ally USA and our neighbor Iran has reached a point that we do not desire at all.”
8.54 pm: The United Nations mission in Iraq says that the country should not be made to “pay the price” for tensions between Iran and the US, Al Jazeera reports. It adds that Iran’s strikes have again violated Iraq’s sovereignty. “We call for urgent restraint and a resumption of dialogue,” the mission adds.
8.33 pm: United States President Donald Trump will address the country at 11 pm local time (9.30 pm Indian Standard Time), ABC News reports.
8.17 pm: India’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation has said that in view of the tension in West Asia, all airlines should take precautionary measures, including re-routing their flights to ensure the safety of passengers, ANI reports.
8 pm: Rouhani also praises the Iraqi Parliament for demanding the withdrawal of US troops from the country. He says the people of Iran and Iraq are on the same side in this controversy. “America thought that they could create division in Iraq by killing General Soleimani, but on the contrary, Iraq became more united and stood against the US unanimously,” Rouhani adds.
7.47 pm: Iranian President Hassan Rouhani says that the United States has committed a grave mistake by killing Soleimani, the country’s ISNA news agency reports. “If General Soleimani wished, he could terminate hundreds of American commanders in different parts of the region, but he was one of the most moderate military commanders in the region and the world,” Rouhani claims.
6.55 pm: The Iranian envoy to India has assured that the Chabahar Port project will go on, The Times of India reports. “Chabahar Port is a symbol of very good friendship between India, Iran, Afghanistan, Commonwealth of Independent States, Europe, whole Persian Gulf,” he says. “It does not belong only to Iran and India. Chabahar will go on, don’t worry about it.”
6.33 pm: Union minister V Muraleedharan says the government is closely monitoring the developments in the Gulf region, ANI reports. He says that External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar has spoken to his counterparts in Jordan, Oman, Qatar, France and the United Arab Emirates. “He has also spoken to Foreign Minister of Iran [Javad Zarif] and the US Secretary of State [Mike Pompeo,” Muraleedharan adds.
5.47 pm: Flights of Air India, Air India Express that usually fly over Iran have now been rerouted, a flight spokesperson tells PTI.
5.45 pm: A high-ranking commander in Iraq’s Hashed al-Shaabi paramilitary network has said that it was time for an “Iraqi response” to a United States drone strike that killed the group’s deputy chief. “That response will be no less than the size of the Iranian response,” Qais al-Khazali has tweeted. “That is a promise.”
5.39 pm: German airline Lufthansa has said it will not flying over Iran and Iraq. “We are no longer overflying Iran and Iraq until further notice,” a spokesperson of the airline has told AFP.
5.35 pm: Security outside the United States consulate in Hyderabad has been increased amid escalating tensions between the United States and Iran, reports PTI. “There is no specific information as such but in view of US-Iran tensions, security has been beefed up by deploying additional forces...,” an unidentified police official said.
5.23 pm: Chengeni says Iran is not in favour of war and has been looking for peace and prosperity for everyone in the region. “We welcome any Indian initiative or any project that can help peace and prosperity in this world,” he says.
5.16 pm: Iran’s envoy to India Ali Chengeni says the country will welcome any peace initiative by India to help in des-escalation of tension with the United States, reports PTI. “India usually plays a very good role in [maintaining] peace in the world,” the ambassador says. “India belongs to this region. We welcome all initiatives from all countries, especially India as a good friend for us, to not allow escalation [of tensions].”
3.10 pm: A man holds a shrapnel from a missile launched by Iran on United States-led coalition forces on the outskirts of Duhok in Iraq.
2.07 pm: The Ukrainian embassy to Iran clarifies that engine failure and not a missile attack caused the crash of a Ukrainian aircraft after take-off, reports Reuters. Earlier in the day, the flight carrying over 170 passengers, crashed near Tehran airport, killing all on board.
1.36 pm: Iranian President Hassan Rouhani will deliver a speech later in the day, according to the state television.
1.32 pm: Emirates Airline cancels a return flight to Baghdad, reports Al Jazeera. “We are carefully monitoring the developments and are in close contact with the relevant government authorities with regards to our flight operations, and will make further operational changes if required,” Emirates says in a statement. Its sister carrier, FlyDubai, also cancels a flight to Baghdad.
1.31 pm: Iranian state television claims that at least 80 “American terrorists” have been killed after Tehran fired 15 missiles on US targets in Iraq. It says none of the missiles were intercepted. It also claims US helicopters and military equipment were “severely damaged”.
1.26 pm: Khamenei alleges that US brought destruction to the region. “They talk about negotiations but they only want to interfere,” he says. “This needs to end. We have people to tackle them politically and militarily.”
1.25 pm: Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei says assassinated General Qasem Soleimani had foiled many “illegitimate plans” of the US in West Asia, reports IRNA. “Soleimani’s death has revived our revolution,” he adds. “It has shown the world that our resistance is still alive. Last night we slapped the face of the United States of America. The corrupt presence of US in this region should come to an end.”
1.22 pm: Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh urges PM Narendra Modi to be ready with a plan of safety and security of around 10 million Indians living in Gulf countries.
1.21 pm: People celebrate after Iran launched missiles at US-led forces in Iraq, in Tehran.
1.17 pm: Iranian envoy Ali Chegeni says they are not for war, but looking for peace and prosperity for everybody in the region, reports PTI.
1.15 pm: United Kingdom Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab condemns the attack on Iraqi military bases. “We urge Iran not to repeat these reckless and dangerous attacks, and instead to pursue urgent de-escalation,” he adds.
11.50 am: Iraqi military says no casualties among its forces, reports Reuters.
11.48 am: Iran shot 22 missiles between 1.45 am and 2.15 am, Reuters reports quoting the Iraqi military. It adds that 17 missiles fell on Ain al-Asad base including two that did not go off while the rest fell on coalition headquarters in Erbil.
11.34 am: Malaysia Airlines says it will avoid Iran airspace, reports Reuters.
11.30 am: Singapore Airlines says all its flights in and out of Europe will not be flying over the Iranian airspace. We will continue to monitor the situation closely, it adds.
10.48 am: The ministry says India’s embassy in Baghdad and the consulate in Irbil will continue to function normally.
10.45 am: India advises its citizens to avoid all non-essential travel to Iraq, reports PTI. The Ministry of External Affairs also advises Indians in Iraq to stay alert and avoid travel within the country.
10.28 am: Sensex down about 117 points to 40,751. The broader Nifty is hovering around 12,000.
10.10 am: The Indian rupee is trading at 72.03 against the US dollar.
9.41 am: Democratic presidential contender Elizabeth Warren calls on Trump to de-escalate tensions with Iran, reports Reuters. “The American people do not want a war with Iran,” she adds.
9.30 am: Oil prices shoot up to $71.75 a barrel.
9.10 am: The Indian markets open 400 points down.
9.05 am: The escalating tensions between the US and Iran affects international stocks badly. Tokyo stocks nosedive with the benchmark Nikkei 225 index falling nearly 2.5%. Hong Kong’s stock market benchmark plunges nearly 1%. Shanghai, Sydney and Southeast Asian markets also retreat.
8.48 am: “Get the hell out of our region!,” tweets Iran’s Telecommunications Minister MJ Azari Jahromi.
8.35 am: In a separate development, a Ukrainian aircraft carrying over 170 passengers crashes near Tehran shortly after take-off. An investigation team is at the site of the crash.
8.21 am: US President Donald Trump says, “all is well”, and he will make a statement later. He tweets that assessment of casualties and damages is underway.
8.16 am: The US Federal Aviation Administration bans US carriers from operating in the airspace over Iraq, Iran, the Gulf of Oman and the waters between Iran and Saudi Arabia, reports Reuters.
8.11 am: Iran Foreign Minister Javad Zarif says the country “took and concluded proportionate measures in self-defense under Article 51 of UN Charter targeting base from which cowardly armed attack against our citizens & senior officials were launched”.
8.08 am: It also warns that a counter attack by the US would be met with an even “more crushing response”, reports AFP.
8.07 am: “We are warning all American allies, who gave their bases to its terrorist army, that any territory that is the starting point of aggressive acts against Iran will be targeted,” Iran’s Revolutionary Guard tells state-run IRNA news agency. “The fierce revenge by the Revolutionary Guards has begun.”
8.04 am: The attack is in retaliation for the assassination of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani, said Iran’s Revolutionary Guard. On January 3, an airstrike by the US at Baghdad’s airport killed Iranian Major-General Qassem Soleimani, head of the elite Quds Force, and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the deputy commander of Iran-backed militias known as the Popular Mobilization Forces.
7.46 am: Military jets are seen flying over Baghdad hours after Tehran launched the missile attack, reports AFP. However, the planes have not been identified.
7.38 am: It is still unclear if there have been any casualties at the two sites in Irbil and Al-Asad.
7.30 am: Iran targets at least two airbases housing US troops in Iraq with over a dozen ballistic missiles on Wednesday, reports BBC.