A senior Iranian commander says Iran will never allow US warships to sail near its territorial waters, reiterating once again that the Islamic Republic is ready to respond to any action by Washington.
Deputy Chief of Iran’s Army for Coordination Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari made the remarks on Monday while speaking to reporters in reaction to the return of US aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis to the Persian Gulf on Friday after a long absence.
“The response of the Armed Forces and the Army of the Islamic Republic is that we will never allow them [US warships] to come near our territorial waters,” Sayyari said.
He added that the presence of the USS John C. Stennis is insignificant to Iran, saying, “They cannot take any measure against us, because we are so prepared and have enough capabilities to stand up to such a publicity stunt.”
Expressing confidence that the US Navy does not have the courage to take any action against Iran, Sayyari, however, added that any country is allowed to sail in international waters just as the Iranian Navy could sail in the high seas.
Coincident with the arrival of the US aircraft carrier, the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) held the main and final stage of massive exercises, dubbed the Great Prophet 12, in the Persian Gulf, launching an “offensive” component in Iran’s defensive strategy for the first time.
The Ground Force of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps holds the final stage of drills in the Persian Gulf, launching an “offensive” component in the country’s defensive strategy.
The annual exercise enlisted the IRGC Ground Force’s elite units, including the rapid response unit, the special forces, commandos, combat and reconnaissance drones, the electronic warfare unit, engineering corps, and the Zolfaqar fast patrol craft.
Various attack, transport, and airdrop helicopters were flown during the event. The drills also included amphibious operation and seizing of bridgeheads along the coastline.
Back in September, Iran for the first time released a video showing the IRGC speedboats closing in on a US aircraft carrier in the Persian Gulf.
According to the footage, the speedboats approached the USS Theodore Roosevelt on March 21.
Iran has repeatedly warned that any act of trespassing on its territorial waters would be met with an immediate and befitting response.
The US 5th Fleet is currently deployed in the Persian Gulf with carriers, ships, strike aircraft, sailors and marines and has been involved in occasional confrontations with Iranian forces.
The IRGC in July 2017 reported a second provocation by US warships in the Persian Gulf waters less than a week after a similar incident in the same region.