Iran’s military Chief of Staff Major General Mohammad Baqeri says a new policy announced by the Trump administration is a “serious threat” aimed at toppling the Islamic Republic.
“After months, the Americans have come up with a strategy that can put our country or the independent countries in trouble,” he told a national conference on civilian defense in Tehran Monday.
“The main purpose of the Americans in formulating new strategies is to overthrow the Islamic Republic, which US Secretary of State has publicly announced in recent days,” he said.
Iran complained to the United Nations this month after Rex Tillerson said the US policy was to “work toward support of those elements inside of Iran that would lead to a peaceful transition of that government.”
On August 2, US President Donald Trump signed into law the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) and imposed new sanctions on Iran over its missile tests.
Earlier this month, Trump refused to certify the 2015 nuclear deal with Tehran, punting the issue to Congress with a threat to withdraw the US from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) if new sanctions are not imposed on the country.
Baqeri said, “The Americans’ method is to use all possible ways, and in this regard, they have put military warfare and the hard way at the bottom of the list and the implementation of economic sanctions and livelihood strangulation at the head of their new threats.”
“In terms of instruments, the Americans have come up with some ideas. In the recent past, we have been witnessing the adoption of laws in the United States, such as CAATSA,” he said.
“The goal behind the implementation of this law is to create a gulf between the people and the establishment in Iran and to put us at a crossroads where we have to choose between defending our honor and dignity along with economic hardships or accept humiliation and destruction plus American promises to reduce the constraints.”
Baqeri dismissed any negotiations with the US, saying Iran will “definitely” leave the JCPOA if new US measures provide for sanctions to “snap back” into place.
“The one who aims to overthrow us is not worthy of negotiations. One can negotiate with someone who is not after an overthrow and where there is a one-percent chance of an understanding,” the commander said..
He also said, “It is the decision of the Islamic Republic to accept restrictions on the nuclear issue in order to have sanctions related to this area removed, but if these sanctions return under other pretexts, staying in the JCPOA will have no meaning.”
Last week, the US House voted overwhelmingly to impose new sanctions against Iran’s ballistic missile program, pending a decision in Senate and Trump’s endorsement before going to force.
With Trump declining to certify the JCPOA, the US Congress has 60 days to decide whether to reimpose sanctions on Tehran suspended under the nuclear agreement.
Baqeri said, “The JCPOA is not a goal or a holy verse that we have to adhere to under any circumstances. The JCPOA is a two-way pledge and promise … but if the sanctions were to come back, our withdrawal would be definitive.”
The commander further said the US “is a system that, despite being formed of various parties and organizations, is united in hostility to the Islamic Revolution.”
“For example, you saw how the adoption of sanctions against our country’s missile power secured a high vote in Congress. In one government, the iron hand of the Americans is evident, but in the other, it is hidden under a velvet glove,” he added.