A commander in Iran’s elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps has said that the Persian Gulf is “under the full control” of Iran’s military and US ships are “not a concern,” even as the US claimed victory in the Iran standoff.
“Over the years, our forces have completely surrounded the Persian Gulf, so that they (the Americans) need our permission to move in this area,” Ali Fadavi, deputy commander of the IRGC, said on Wednesday, according Iran’s Fars News Agency.
Washington would likely dispute Fadavi’s claim that Iran has the Lincoln – a 100,000 ton behemoth carrying 90 aircraft and multiple batteries of missiles – under control, but the United States has made similar claims itself during the recent standoff.
Fresh from threatening the “official end of Iran” on Sunday, Trump seemed to reverse course on Monday, declaring there was “no indication that anything is happening or will happen,” presumably pleasing the almost two-thirds of Americans who oppose preemptive strikes on Iran, and sorely disappointing hawkish adviser John Bolton.
If Iran wants to fight, that will be the official end of Iran. Never threaten the United States again!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 19, 2019
Washington swiftly got to work spinning the statement, with acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan crediting the carrier deployment with scaring the Iranians into compliance, a statement remarkably similar to Fadavi’s boastful claim.
“Our prudent response, I think, has given the Iranians time to recalculate,” Shanahan said on Tuesday.
Tehran has parried Washington’s threats with pronouncements of its own. IRGC aerospace head Amirali Hajideh said last week that the presence of US ships in the region presented “opportunities” for Iran to test its missiles. Days earlier, Ayatollah Yousef Tabatabai-Nejad warned Washington that a single missile from Iran could easily sink its “billion dollar fleet.”
Meanwhile, Iran’s Supreme Leader dismissed the threat of open conflict between Iran and the US.
“There won’t be any war,” Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said last week, even as the US announced its military build-up. “We don’t seek a war, and they don’t either,” he added, insisting that the Americans are well aware that a military confrontation with Iran is “not in their interests.”
Despite the saber-rattling, the precise nature of the “credible threats” cited by Washington officials was never revealed.
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