Iran points ‘battlefield’ warning as US deploys troops

Tehran (AFP) – Any nation that assaults Iran will turn out to be the “most important battlefield”, the Revolutionary Guards warned Saturday after Washington ordered reinforcements to the Gulf following assaults on Saudi oil installations it blames on Tehran.

Tensions escalated between arch-foes Iran and america after final weekend’s assaults on Saudi power large Aramco’s Abqaiq processing plant and Khurais oilfield halved the dominion’s oil output.

Yemen’s Huthi rebels have claimed duty for the strikes however the US says it has concluded the assaults concerned cruise missiles from Iran and amounted to “an act of battle”.

Washington accredited the deployment of troops to Saudi Arabia at “the dominion’s request,” Defence Secretary Mark Esper mentioned, noting the forces can be “defensive in nature” and centered on air and missile defence.

However Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps commander Main Basic Hossein Salami mentioned Iran was “prepared for any sort of situation”.

“Whoever desires their land to turn out to be the primary battlefield, go forward,” he informed a information convention in Tehran.

“We are going to by no means enable any battle to encroach upon Iran’s territory.

“We hope that they do not make a strategic mistake”, he mentioned, itemizing previous US navy “adventures” towards Iran.

Salami was talking at Tehran’s Islamic Revolution and Holy Defence museum through the unveiling of an exhibition of what Iran says are US and different drones captured in its territory.

It featured a badly broken drone with US navy markings mentioned to be an RQ-Four International Hawk that Iran downed in June, in addition to an RQ-170 Sentinel captured in 2011 and nonetheless intact.

– ‘Act of battle’ –

The Guards additionally displayed the domestically manufactured Khordad three air defence battery they are saying was used to shoot down the International Hawk.

“What are your drones doing in our airspace? We are going to shoot them down, shoot something that encroaches on our airspace,” mentioned Salami, noting Iran had defeated “America’s technological dominance” in air defence and drone manufacture.

His remarks got here solely days after strikes on Saudi oil amenities claimed by Yemen’s Huthis, however the US says it has concluded the assault concerned cruise missiles from Iran and amounted to “an act of battle”.

Saudi Arabia, which has been slowed down in a five-year battle throughout its southern border in Yemen, has mentioned Iran “unquestionably sponsored” the assaults.

The dominion says the weapons used within the assaults had been Iranian-made, but it surely stopped in need of straight blaming its regional rival.

“Typically they speak of navy choices,” Salami mentioned, apparently referring to the Individuals.

But he warned that “a restricted aggression won’t stay restricted” as Iran was decided to reply and would “not relaxation till the aggressor’s collapse.”

– ‘Crushing response’ –

The Guards’ aerospace commander mentioned the US must study from its previous failures and abandon its hostile rhetoric.

“We have stood tall for the previous 40 years and if the enemy makes a mistake, it’s going to actually obtain a crushing response,” Brigadier Basic Amirali Hajizadeh mentioned.

America upped the ante on Friday by saying new sanctions towards Iran’s central financial institution, with President Donald Trump calling the measures the hardest America has ever imposed on one other nation.

Washington has imposed a sequence of sanctions towards Tehran since unilaterally pulling out of a landmark 2015 nuclear deal in Could final yr.

It already maintains sweeping sanctions on Iran’s central financial institution, however the US Treasury mentioned Friday’s designation was over the regulator’s work in funding “terrorism”.

The “motion targets an important funding mechanism that the Iranian regime makes use of to help its terrorist community, together with the Qods Pressure, Hezbollah and different militants that unfold terror and destabilise the area,” mentioned US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

The Qods Pressure is the Guards’ international operations arm, whereas Hezbollah is a Lebanese Shiite militant group intently allied with Iran.

Iran’s Overseas Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif mentioned the brand new sanctions meant america was “making an attempt to dam the Iranian individuals’s entry to meals and drugs”.

It confirmed the US was in “despair” and that “the utmost stress coverage has reached its finish,” semi-official information company ISNA quoted him as saying from New York.

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