Major General Hossein Salami made the comment in response to a threat by US President Donald Trump that American forces in the Persian Gulf have been directed to shoot Iranian boats “out of the water.”
“We declare to them that we are absolutely determined and serious in defending our national security, water borders and maritime interests, and that any move [against us] will be effectively and swiftly met with a decisive, effective response,” Salami said on Thursday.
The top commander said that Iran has ordered its naval units “to target any flotilla or military unit of the US Navy’s terrorist forces if they were to put at risk the safety of our vessels or warships.”
Stressing that Iran is determined to employ all its capabilities and potential to safeguard the vital interests of the Iranian people, the top IRGC commander said, “We resolutely, effectively and confidently stand up against the threats that jeopardize our national security and territorial integrity; this is not a path that we will walk away from and will keep treading it by God’s grace.”
The Iranian general’s remarks came after Trump tweeted on Wednesday that he had told the United States Navy to “shoot down and destroy” Iranian gunboats that “harass” US ships, without citing a specific event in his tweet or providing details.
He said later in the day that US Navy ships would shoot “out of the water” Iranian gunboats that get too close.
Trump being dragged into war by neocons: Expert
Reacting to Trump’s latest threats against Iran, many analysts have argued that the US president’s recent threats fly in the face of his frequent claims that he wants to end US wars in the region and also contradict his recent acknowledgment that America’s military campaigns have been “stupid.”
Speaking to Press TV on Wednesday, Kevin Barrett, an author, journalist and radio host with a Ph.D. in Islamic and Arabic Studies, said, “Trump says he wants to end the forever wars … but he has been dragged into a war situation by his neoconservatives team.”
“He’s representing the war party…. Trump right now is presiding what amounts to a kind of low-grade simmering World War lll on several fronts; not just Iran,” Barrett noted.
Trump’s threats followed a last week claim by US Navy, which said in a statement that 11 IRGC boats had closed in on six US naval vessels in the Persian Gulf “in dangerous and harassing approaches.”
The IRGC dismissed the claims that the Iranian forces behaved in a dangerous manner, calling the US account of the encounter a “Hollywood tale.”
Emphasizing that Iran sees guaranteeing the security of the Persian Gulf region as part of its strategy to defend its interests at sea, the IRGC chief commander said in his Thursday remarks that “the American vessels had caused trouble for our logistics ship,” describing their behavior as “unprofessional and perilous.”
He said that the Iranian vessels were just conducting their routine patrols, but the Americans were scared, which suggested that the their “command and control over their military units have been weakened” by the current coronavirus pandemic that has severely gripped the US, where a total of 849,092 people have been infected with the virus and more than 47,000 have died.
Iran has repeatedly stressed that its national sovereignty constitutes a redline, and that it would not compromise its security and interest at any cost.