Iranian commander: US forces in gulf a target, not a threat

A senior Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps commander said on Sunday the U.S. carrier strike group in the Persian Gulf represents a target more than a threat, Reuters reported.

The U.S. military earlier this month moved up the deployment of the USS Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier and B-52 bombers to the region after the Trump administration said there were “troubling and escalatory indications and warnings” from Iran that it may attack U.S. forces in the area.

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“An aircraft carrier that has at least 40 to 50 planes on it and 6,000 forces gathered within it was a serious threat for us in the past but now it is a target and the threats have switched to opportunities,” Amirali Hajizadeh, the head of the Guards’ aerospace division, told the Iranian Students’ News Agency (ISNA).

“If (the Americans) make a move we will hit them in the head,” he added.

Major General Hossein Salami, head of the Guards, told Iranian parliament on Sunday that Washington had started a “psychological war.” 

“Commander Salami, with attention to the situation in the region, presented an analysis that the Americans have started a psychological war because the comings and goings of their military is a normal matter,” parliamentary spokesman Behrouz Nemati said, according to the government’s ICANA news outlet.

White House national security adviser John Bolton, meanwhile,  has said that the U.S. will not take military action in the region unless Iranian military forces or allied militia groups attempt such an act first.