Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Director Mike Pompeo uncovered on Sunday that he had sent a warning to the leader of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps, General Qassem Soleimani, against targeting US troops in Iraq.
Pompeo’s comments confirmed reports quoting an Iranian official as saying that Soleimani had received a letter from the CIA.
Speaking at the 2017 Reagan National Defense Forum in California on Saturday, Pompeo said: “I sent it because he had indicated that forces under his control might in fact threaten US interests in Iraq. What we were communicating to him was that we will hold him and Iran accountable."
The CIA director added: “We wanted to make sure he and the leadership in Iran understood that in a way that was crystal clear.”
The letter was not opened by Soleimani, according to Pompeo.
"He refused to open the letter -- didn't break my heart to be honest with you."
Pompeo’s warning is considered the first after Washington passed a set of sanctions against Tehran this year.
On Sunday, Iran renewed its threats against US forces in the region.
Iranian Supreme Leader's senior advisor for international affairs Ali Akbar Velayati said during the ‘Dawn of Truth’ Conference in Tehran that the US and its allies should know that they will be defeated in Syria.
“They have an intention to continue the war and conflicts,” Velayati said.
“Otherwise, why would they wish to deploy 10,000 troops to Syria? These will be forced out of Raqqa, as they have been out of Bukamal.”
Speaking in the same tone, head of Iran's Strategic Council on Foreign Relations Kamal Kharazi defended Iran’s role in the Middle East.
“Lebanon’s Hezbollah, Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Forces, Afghanistan’s Al-Fatimiyoun Brigade and Ansrallah are all models taken by other countries from Iran,” he said.