February 9, 2024 Special Dispatch No. 11125

Iran Informed The U.S. In Advance Of Its January 2020 Missile Attack On Ain Al-Assad Air Base In Iraq; MEMRI Reports Confirm Former President Trump's Claim In February 4, 2024 Interview About Iran Warning; Iranian Supreme Leader Advisor Shamkhani Denies This, Saying Iran Never Warned U.S.

February 9, 2024
Iran, Iraq | Special Dispatch No. 11125

In a February 4, 2024 interview on Fox News, former U.S. President Donald Trump said that in January 2020, Iran had informed his administration of its intention to attack the Ain Al-Assad Air Base in Iraq but without causing casualties. The attack was to be a response to the U.S. killing of IRGC Qods Force commander Qassem Soleimani on January 3, 2020.

On February 5, Ali Shamkhani, political affairs advisor to the leader of the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary regime Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and former secretary-general of the Supreme National Security Council, denied Trump's statements. He acknowledged, however, that Iran had informed the Iraqi prime minister about its upcoming attack. 

A review of MEMRI reports about Iran's January 8, 2020 attack on Ain Al-Assad Air Base, that were based on statements by Lt. Col. Staci Coleman, commander of 443rd Air Expeditionary Squadron (AES) at the base, shows that the Americans were informed about the Iranian ballistic missile attack about eight hours in advance and that they evacuated service members and aircraft before it took place.[1]

Lt. Col. Staci Coleman, Commander of 443rd AES, Ayn Al-Asad Airbase (Source: PressTV (Iran) Twitter, January 13, 2020)

See the following MEMRI reports:

MEMRI Inquiry and Analysis No. 1495, The Iran-U.S. Crisis Following Soleimani's Killing – Analysis And Assessment: Part I, January 6, 2020

MEMRI Inquiry and Analysis No. 1496, The Iran-U.S. Crisis Part II – Iran, The Paper Tiger, January 8, 2020

MEMRI Daily Brief No. 337, The Iran-U.S. Crisis, Part III: Iran's January 2020 Strikes On U.S. Ayn Al-Asad Airbase – The Roars Of A Fearful Paper Tiger, November 10, 2021.

Trump To Fox News: "[The Iranians Said] 'Please Don't Attack Us, We're Not Going To Hit You' – That Was Respect"

Trump told Fox News on February 4: "Do you know, we hit them [Iran] very hard for something that they did, and they had to hit back, they feel they have to do that and I understand that. Do you know, they called me to tell me 'We're going to hit a certain location but we're not gonna hit it, it's gonna be outside of the perimeter'... They let us know. And we had 16 missiles that went off... And we knew they weren't going to hit. And now I reveal it... So they aimed those missiles and they said, 'Please don't attack us, we're not going to hit you.' That was respect, we had respect."[2]

Iranian Supreme Leader Advisor Shamkhani: "It Is Not Very Strange That A Man Like Trump, Who Is Known For His Lies... Would Repeat Incorrect Things During The American Presidential Campaign"

Ali Shamkhani, political affairs advisor to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, and former secretary general of Iran's Supreme National Security Council, denied Trump's assertion that Iranian elements had contacted the U.S. prior to attacking the Ain Al-Assad Air Base and asked to coordinate with it an attack so that it would look significant. He said:

"After America's terror attack that killed the general [Qassem Soleimani], [Hashd Al-Sha'bi deputy commander] Abu Mahdi Muhandis, and other resistance commanders, it was decided by consensus that a widescale [launch] of missiles against the Ain Al-Assad base, considered the most important U.S. base in Iraq, should be carried out in complete surprise, in order to achieve maximum destruction.

"Due to Iran's close relations with Iraq, and due to considerations of respect for the neighboring [countries], the matter was reported only to the Iraqi prime minister half an hour before it was carried out, such that America would not be able to predict it by special defense means.

Shamkhani, political affairs advisor to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei (Source: Tasnim, Iran, February 5, 2024)

"It is not very strange that a man like Trump, who is known for his lies and who is involved in weighty cases of political, economic, and moral corruption, would repeat incorrect things during the American presidential campaign.

"If there was respect [on Iran's part], as Trump claims, then naturally he, [Trump administration Secretary of State Mike] Pompeo, [Trump administration National Security Advisor John] Bolton, and the other American political and military officials that carried out the unforgivable crime of killing Soleimani should not have had to spend the American taxpayers' money on personal security so many years [after the fact]."[3]


[1], January 2020.

[2], February 4, 2024

[3], February 5, 2024.

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