A senior Iranian military commander on Wednesday said Israel was in no position to attack the Islamic Republic, as his country’s army wrapped up several days of exercises flaunting its military edge.
“The message carried by these drills is preparedness and awareness. We are prepared to confront whatever threat posed to the Islamic Republic’s establishment. Of course, the Zionist regime is not of such proportions” to pose any such threat, said Brigadier-General Ali Akbar Pourjamshidian, according to Press TV.
He described the combined infantry, air defense, drone and artillery exercises as “successful.”
Meanwhile, another senior commander of Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guard on Wednesday warned the US it would receive a “slap in the face.”
“The enemy should not be mistaken in its assessments, and it will receive a strong slap in the face if it does make such a mistake,” the commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Ground Forces, Brigadier-General Mohammad Pakpour, said on Wednesday, according to Iranian media.
Following an Iranian test of a ballistic missile capable of carrying a nuclear warhead in January, the US imposed sanctions on a number of entities involved in Iran’s missile program, with President Donald Trump warning Tehran 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.
On Monday, the deputy commander of Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guards made a pointed warning to the US that any attack on his country would end in disaster, due to Iranian military capabilities.
Speaking during a ceremony in Alborz province near Tehran, 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.
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 toward Iran, including remarks by 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 it 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.”
Trump told 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.”