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Trump said Iran killed 2,000 Americans, but a Pentagon report contradicts him

Business Insider | Jun 25, 2019, 09.59PM IST

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Carlos Barria/Reuters

President Donald Trump before signing an executive order in the Oval Office, June 24, 2019.

  • President Donald Trump on Tuesday said Iran killed 2,000 Americans with improvised explosive devices, but it's not clear where he got that number.
  • A Pentagon report released in April said Iran was responsible for the deaths of roughly 600 US service members in Iraq from 2003 to 2011.
  • Trump's comments came amid heightened tensions with Iran and a day after his administration announced new, "hard-hitting" sanctions against Iranian leadership.
  • Visit INSIDER's homepage for more stories.

President Donald Trump on Tuesday suggested Iran killed 2,000 Americans with improvised explosive devices, but that contradicts a Pentagon report released earlier this year, and it's not clear where the president got his number.

"Iran leadership doesn't understand the words 'nice' or 'compassion,' they never have...The wonderful Iranian people are suffering, and for no reason at all," Trump tweeted, responding to threats and insults from Iran's president.

"Their leadership spends all of its money on Terror, and little on anything else. The U.S. has not forgotten Iran's use of IED's & EFP's (bombs), which killed 2000 Americans, and wounded many more," Trump added, referring to improvised explosive devices and to explosively formed penetrators, which are a kind of IED that fire a piece of metal at an extremely high speed, allowing it to pierce US vehicles.

In April, the Department of Defense said in a report Iran was responsible for the deaths of over 600 US service members in Iraq between 2003 and 2011 - roughly one-third of what Trump claimed in his tweet.

Read more: Trump threatens Iran with 'great and overwhelming force' after Tehran called him 'retarded'

"During Operation Iraqi Freedom, DoD assessed that at least 603 US personnel deaths in Iraq were the result of Iran-backed militants," Pentagon spokesman Navy Cmdr. Sean Robertson told Task & Purpose. "These casualties were the result of explosively formed penetrators, other improvised explosive devices, improvised rocket-assisted munitions, rockets, mortars, rocket-propelled grenades, small-arms, sniper, and other attacks in Iraq."

During the Bush administration, the US released pictures showing that EFPs used in Iraq were built in Iran but were not able to prove that Tehran had given the weapons to the forces fighting the US.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment from INSIDER.

Trump's latest tweets and threats toward Iran come a day after he announced new "hard-hitting" sanctions against Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, among others.

The new sanctions were announced just a few days after Iran shot down a US drone it claimed entered Iranian airspace, though the US has maintained the unmanned aircraft was in international airspace.

The drone incident almost led the Trump administration to retaliate with a military strike, but Trump pulled back at the last minute.

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