A top general in Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps on Tuesday claimed the country had “defeated” the US military before the world, the Tasnim news agency reported.
Qassem Soleimani, head of the IRGC’s Quds Force, may have been referring to Tehran’s downing of an American drone in June, an event for which US President Donald Trump approved a retaliatory strike, before calling it off at the last minute.
Soleimani, speaking at conference of IRGC commanders, also said the Guards had “paved the way” to defeat the nation’s enemies in the region.
Tensions have risen in the Persian Gulf since May last year when Trump unilaterally abandoned a 2015 nuclear deal between major powers and Iran and began reimposing crippling sanctions in a campaign of “maximum pressure.” Iran has responded in recent months by reducing its own commitments under the deal and the US deployed military assets to the region.
Things escalated further after last month’s attacks on Saudi oil facilities that halved the kingdom’s oil output.
Yemen’s Houthi rebels have claimed responsibility for the strikes but the US says it has concluded the attacks involved cruise missiles from Iran and amounted to “an act of war.”
Saudi Arabia, which has been bogged down in a five-year war across its southern border in Yemen, has said Iran “unquestionably sponsored” the attacks.
Iran has denied responsibility for the September 14 drone and cruise missile attack.
IRGC commander Major General Hossein Salami has said any country that attacks Iran will become the “main battlefield” in the ensuing conflict.
On Sunday the New Yorker reported that French President Emmanuel Macron was close to brokering a phone call between Trump and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on the sidelines on the UN General assembly last week, but the effort fell apart because of the Iranian leader’s lack of trust in the US president.