US should move bases 1,000km from Iran if it wants to pursue further sanctions – army chief
The US has to move its bases 1,000km away from Iran’s borders if it plans to keep sanctions in place against Tehran, or risk paying a price, the commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps, Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari, said.
“In case the US wants to insist on pursuing sanctions against Iran’s defense sector and the IRGC [Revolutionary Guards], it needs to first dismantle its regional bases within a range of 1,000km around Iranian borders,” Tasnim news agency quoted the commander as saying.
“Washington should be aware that it will pay dearly for any miscalculations,” he went on to say.
Jafari said that Iranian missile capabilities are “rapidly growing,” creating an effective deterrent against any threats, the agency reports. He added that the Islamic Republic’s missile program is by no means “bargainable or negotiable.”
His comments come a day after the US Department of the Treasury imposed a new set of sanctions against 16 entities and individuals it accused of providing material support to the Iranian military and its missile program.
"We have no intention of adjusting our posture as a result of these statements.
The Department of Defense will carry out its mission to protect the American people and defeat threats to the United States and our allies," the DOD told RT by email when asked how it would respond to Jafari's assertions.
Earlier, the chief of staff of the Iranian armed forces, Major General Mohammad Hossein Baqeri, also warned the US authorities of the “big risks” they face by imposing sanctions against the IRGC.
“Drawing an analogy between the IRGC and terrorist groups and imposing the same sanctions (used against terrorists) on the IRGC would be a big risk to the US and its bases and forces stationed in the region,” he said on Monday.
He also said that the Iranian missile program “is defensive and never would be subject to bargaining and negotiation at any level.” The major general also called on the US to be more “cautious” and “think deeper” about its decisions relating to the anti-Iranian sanctions.
At the same time, he said that any fresh round of sanctions would be just an “opportunity” for Iran’s progress, Tasnim reports.
In the meantime, another Iranian high-ranking commander, the deputy chief of staff of the Iranian armed forces, Brigadier General Massoud Jazayeri, accused the US of double standards and outright deception by claiming that Tehran supports terrorists in Syria.
“The US behavior in Iraq and Syria is a perfect example of contradictions and blatant deception because it (the US) supports terrorists on the one hand and forms anti-terrorism coalitions on the other,” he said on Wednesday, as reported by Tasnim.
He went on to say that “any agreement with the deceitful government of the US is unacceptable.”
The Iranian Foreign Ministry also engaged in an indirect debate with Washington as the ministry’s spokesman, Bahram Qassemi, criticized US State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert for remarks she made on Tuesday.
Qassemi particularly dismissed Nauert’s designation of Iran as “one of the most dangerous threats” to the US as well as regional stability, calling her words “empty and baseless.”
“The Islamic Republic of Iran is, of course, more concerned about the security and stability of the region than a country like the US, which is trying to interfere and destabilize the region from thousands of kilometers away and affect regional equations in accordance with its strategic interests and objectives,” he said.
On Tuesday, Nauert said during a briefing that the US believes that “some of the actions that the Iranian government has been involved with undermine that stated goal of regional and international peace and security.”
“Iran remains … one of the most dangerous threats to the United States – not only our interests here, around the world, but also to regional stability,” she added.
The US continues to impose new sanctions on Iran despite its compliance with its part of the landmark 2015 nuclear deal, as acknowledged by Washington itself. On Monday, just a day before the fresh round of sanctions was imposed against the Islamic Republic, the Trump administration certified that Tehran is in compliance with the terms of the nuclear deal.