Iran tensions after Soleimani killing: All the latest updates

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"We said before we took our military action that we would choose the timing and the place, and we chose the place where the attack against (Iranian general Qasem) Soleimani was initiated", Ambassador Majid Takht Ravanchi told CNN's John Berman on "New Day" Friday when asked about Pence's comments.

Iran's Islamic Revolution Guard Corps (IRGC) had claimed responsibility for the missile attacks, saying that they were meant to retaliate the USA killing of Qassem Soleimani, commander of the Quds Force of the IRGC.

Trump said the United States also carried out the strike over a missile attack on a US military base in Iraq by a Iran-backed militia in December that killed a USA contractor.

Pompeo has acknowledged that the United States did not know "precisely" when or where attacks allegedly being planned by Soleimani would take place. Trump and other officials insisted anew that Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani had posed an imminent threat to the USA, but they rebuffed repeated attempts to explain what they meant by "imminent".

"Qassem Soleimani himself was plotting a broad, large scale attack against American interests". That U.S. assault set off a chain of events that included the unintentional downing of a Ukrainian jetliner by the Iran military, and calls by the Iraqi government to expel U.S. troops from their country.

Trump had previewed the new sanctions on Wednesday - an economic step that came amid a broader military de-escalation following the January 3 targeted killing by the United States of top Iranian Gen. Qasem Soleimani. "The fact that they had to redesignate a number of individuals also demonstrates that there aren't too many more targets to hit".

The president's justifications for killing Soleimani have shifted.

Tensions between Washington and Tehran have spiked since President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew in 2018 from the Iran nuclear deal struck by his predecessor Barack Obama and began reimposing sanctions that were relaxed under the accord.

"We believe that there should be a way to avoid escalation because we believe escalation would be damaging to all parties and not just one or the other", he added.

The moves, Mnuchin said, are "part of our commitment to stop the Iranian regime's global terrorist activities", noting that the sanctions will be in effect "until Iran stops its terrorist activities and commit to never having a nuclear weapon".

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