Iran not afraid of conflict, military leader says
A top Iranian military leader said Thursday that although Tehran is not taking steps toward war, it is not afraid of any conflict, Reuters reported, citing the semi-official Tasnim news agency.
“We are not leading the country to war, but we are not afraid of any war and we tell America to speak correctly with the Iranian nation,” Revolutionary Guards Commander Brig. Gen. Hossein Salami said, according to Reuters. “We have the power to break them several times over and are not worried.”
Maj. Gen. Abdolrahim Mousavi, Iran’s army chief, also said Thursday that his forces are prepared to fight the “enemy.”
“Our armed forces … monitor all moves, and if anyone makes the slightest mistake, they will decisively react, and if the situation heats up, we will show our abilities to the enemy,” Mousavi said, state broadcaster IRIB reported, according to Reuters.
The military leaders were responding to President Trump’s tweets blaming Iran for inciting the protests at the U.S. Embassy in Iraq that begin Tuesday. Trump added that Tehran would pay a “BIG PRICE.”
….Iran will be held fully responsible for lives lost, or damage incurred, at any of our facilities. They will pay a very BIG PRICE! This is not a Warning, it is a Threat. Happy New Year!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 31, 2019
The president later backed down, saying he did not wish for or predict a war with Iran, Reuters noted.
Tensions between Iran and the U.S. have intensified after the U.S. conducted strikes on the Iranian-backed militia Kataib Hezbollah in Iraq that killed 25 people over the weekend.
The strikes, which the U.S. has said were in retaliation for an attack allegedly led by the militia that killed a U.S. contractor, sparked protests at the U.S. Embassy in Iraq. Supporters of the militia chanted “Death to America” when they stormed the compound.
Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, “strongly” denounced the U.S. strikes Wednesday and attributed the violence in Iraq to the U.S.
Iran on Wednesday protested to a Swiss envoy that represents Washington’s interests, claiming U.S. officials made “warmongering statements,” Reuters reported.
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