Threatening US, Iran general says his country will be a ‘graveyard’ for attackers
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Threatening US, Iran general says his country will be a ‘graveyard’ for attackers

Deputy commander of Republican Guard issues warning as Trump administration vows to prevent a nuclear Iran

IRGC Deputy Commander Hossein Salami (YouTube screen capture)
IRGC Deputy Commander Hossein Salami (YouTube screen capture)

The deputy commander of Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guards on Monday made a pointed warning to the US that any attack on his country would end in disaster, due to Iranian military capabilities.

Following an Iranian test of a ballistic missile capable of carrying a nuclear warhead in January, the Trump administration imposed sanctions on a number of entities involved in Iran’s missile program, with the president warning Iran that it had been “put on notice” and vowing that “nothing is off the table” in terms of a military response to perceived Iranian provocations.

Speaking during a ceremony in Alborz province near Tehran, IRGC deputy commander Brigadier General Hossein Salami declared that Iran would become “graveyard for aggressors” and that “the enemies are aware of Iran’s power,” the semi-official Fars News Agency reported.

Salami also highlighted Iran’s progress in developing its military power since the Islamic revolution 38 years ago, the report said.

Iran has worked to produce a range of its own military equipment including long-range missiles, attack drones, and guided munitions.

His comments came after the IRGC’s deputy commander for political affairs, Rasul Sanayee Rad, made similar comments on Iranian state TV on Friday, declaring that, “today we are enjoying deterrence, meaning that we have dissuaded the enemy from attack.”

A long-range S-200 missile is fired in a military drill in the port city of Bushehr, on the northern coast of Persian Gulf, Iran, In this file photo released by the semi-official Iranian Students News Agency, December 29, 2016. (Amir Kholousi, ISNA via AP, File)
A long-range S-200 missile is fired in a military drill in the port city of Bushehr, on the northern coast of Persian Gulf, Iran, In this file photo released by the semi-official Iranian Students News Agency, December 29, 2016. (Amir Kholousi, ISNA via AP, File)

The comments are not unusual for Iranian military chiefs, who routinely deride the United States’ military capabilities, though in this case, they were made in apparent response to a number of hawkish statements recently made by American officials towards Iran, including remarks by President Trump.

There has been an increase in tensions between Iran and the US since Trump’s inauguration in January, with the president repeating his criticism of the 2015 nuclear deal signed between Iran and world powers under former president Barack Obama.

Although the January missile test did not violate the 2015 nuclear accord, the US government said such tests are forbidden under a separate UN resolution forbidding Iran from developing nuclear-capable missiles.

During the presidential campaign, Trump vowed to rip up what he termed the “disastrous” nuclear accord with Iran. Since becoming president, he has seemingly walked back his pledge to dismantle the agreement, although he has continued to call it “one of the worst deals I’ve ever seen.”

US Vice President Mike Pence on Saturday continued with the administration’s hard line against Iran, telling an international security conference in Munich that Tehran was “the leading state sponsor of terrorism.” He accused the Iranian regime of working to destabilize the entire Middle East, in part due to the terms of the nuclear deal.

Pence also said Washington was committed to ensuring Iran could never threaten Israel with nuclear weapons. “Let me be clear again,” said Pence. “Under President Trump, the United States will remain fully committed to ensuring that Iran never obtains a nuclear weapon capable of threatening our countries, our allies in the region, especially Israel.”

US President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu shake hands during a joint press conference at the White House in Washington, DC on February 15, 2017. (Saul Loeb/AFP)
US President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu shake hands during a joint press conference at the White House in Washington, DC, on February 15, 2017. (Saul Loeb/AFP)

Trump told Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House last week: “My administration has already imposed new sanctions on Iran, and I will do more to prevent Iran from ever developing — I mean ever — a nuclear weapon.”

Responding, Netantyahu said: “I think we can roll back Iran’s aggression and danger.”

Last week, Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei accused the US of seeking to ratchet up tensions with Iran over its nuclear program in order to distract from what he called the “war of economy” against the Islamic Republic.

“The US wants to divert the Iranian officials’ attention from the real battlefield, that is the war of economy, by repeating the trick of military threat and war; officials should keep vigilant,” Khamenei said Wednesday, according to Fars.

Times of Israel staff and agencies contributed to this report.

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