A top Iranian diplomat slammed the Trump administration's announcement Friday that it would deploy 1,500 troops to the Middle East amid tensions with Tehran, warning that such an action would be detrimental to stability in the region.
Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Zarif said on Saturday that the decision to deploy the U.S. service members was “extremely dangerous” for peace in the region, arguing that the Trump administration was artificially inflating tensions between Iran and the U.S., according to Reuters.
“The Americans have made such allegations to justify their hostile policies and to raise tensions in the Persian Gulf,” Zarif told state news agency IRNA, according to Reuters.
“Increased U.S. presence in our region is extremely dangerous and it threatens international peace and security, and this should be addressed,” he reportedly added.
A top military commander for Iran separately threatened to use "secret weapons" to sink U.S. warships currently stationed in the Persian Gulf if the U.S. commits any perceived offenses in the area.
“America...is sending two warships to the region. If they commit the slightest stupidity, we will send these ships to the bottom of the sea along with their crew and planes using two missiles or two new secret weapons,” General Morteza Qorbani said, according to Reuters.
A separate military official who advises the country's army chief was quoted as showing skepticism towards the possibility of actual armed conflict erupting between the two sides.
“We believe rational Americans and their experienced commanders will not let their radical elements lead them into a situation from which it would be very difficult to get out, and that is why they will not enter a war,” Brigadier General Hassan Seifi said, according to Reuters.
Acting Defense Secretary Patrick ShanahanPatrick Michael ShanahanSenators introducing bill to penalize Pentagon for failed audits Overnight Defense: National Guard boosts DC presence ahead of inauguration | Lawmakers demand probes into troops' role in Capitol riot | Financial disclosures released for Biden Pentagon nominee Biden Pentagon pick could make up to .7M from leaving Raytheon MORE defended the U.S. deployment on Friday, calling it necessary to “improve our force protection and safeguard U.S. forces given the ongoing threat posed by Iranian forces, including the IRGC [Iran's Revolutionary Guard] and its proxies.”
"I remain committed to ensuring U.S. personnel have the force protection resources they need and deserve," he added.