By Shawn Snow
Source: Military Times
A spokesman for Iran’s armed forces has threatened a “crushing response” against any U.S. aggression and allies who host American troops.
“Any place and any point of any territories which host the US and its allies’ interests will be threatened (in case of any war) and the Islamic Republic has proved that it has the capability to do so,” Brig. Gen. Abolfazl Shekarchi said during a Sunday interview with Iranian Fars News Agency.
“Even if a country does not directly participate in any possible war but its territories host the enemy, we consider that country as a hostile territory and will treat it as an aggressor,” he said during the interview. “If an aggressor makes a strategic mistake, that aggression will be confronted with the strongest and the most crushing response.”
Meanwhile, Iranian President President Hassan Rouhani announced Tuesday that Iran would move a step closer to enriching uranium by injecting gas into more than 1,000 centrifuges, according to the New York Times.
The comments from the Iranian commander came a day before the 40th anniversary of the Iran hostage crisis. In 1979, Iranian militants stormed the U.S. Embassy in Tehran and held 98 people captive for 444 days.
The warning from Iran also comes following a recent U.S. decision to bolster American troops and missile battery systems in Saudi Arabia.
In October, the Pentagon announced the deployment of two fighter squadrons, an air expeditionary wing, two Patriot batteries and a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system (THAAD) to Saudi territory.
The additional assets being deployed to Saudi Arabia increased the total of number of U.S. forces in country to 3,000 following a mid-September attack on Saudi oil infrastructure.
The Sept. 14 attack on two Saudi oil fields interrupted roughly six percent of the world’s global supply. President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo both fingered Iran as being the culprit behind the attack.
A State Department brief obtained by Military Times detailed that a number of unmanned aerial vehicles and at least seven land attack cruise missiles were used in the attack.
Yemen-based and Iran-backed Houthi rebels claimed responsibility for the attacks. But experts are skeptical that the Quds-1 missile suspected in the attack had the range to reach the oil field if fired from Yemen.
Iran also fields the Soumar-1, an Iranian ground-launched cruise missile that has been in service since 2012, and boasts a range of 2,000 km to 3,000 km, according to the Center for Strategic and International Studies’ missile threat project.
A picture of the Soumar-1 was included in the State Department brief obtained by Military Times.
Tensions between the U.S. and Iran are high. The U.S. has also blamed Iran for the June 13 attack on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman.
Officials with Operation Inherent Resolve — the U.S.-led mission to defeat ISIS in Iraq and Syria — told Military Times in June that there was an increase in the number of rocket and indirect fire attacks near U.S. bases and interests in Iraq.
Analysts and experts believe Iran was behind the attacks using Shia militias and proxy forces across the region to mask culpability.
On Monday, Trump retweeted a video from Arab News showing Iraqi demonstrators storming the Iranian consulate in Karbala, Iraq. Mostly young Iraqi demonstrators to the streets in October to protest corruption and lack of opportunities.