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IRGC Commander Deems US Forces ‘Combat Target’

IRGC Commander Deems US Forces ‘Combat Target’

Monday, 20 May, 2019 - 10:30
Head of the IRGC Hossein Salami. (Reuters)
London - Asharq Al-Awsat

Head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Hossein Salami listed for the second consecutive day the points of disagreement between recent US moves and Tehran’s options in light of the current tension.

In a lengthy speech before IRGC commanders on Sunday, Salami said US forces near Iran are no longer “strategic” targets, but “combat targets”, hinting that they might face a threat from “jihadist groups.”

“When a threat is posed from afar, we think about it [only] on a strategic level, but when it comes close, we become active on operational levels as well,” he said.

Salami acknowledged what the US considers “territorial threats against its forces,” leading it to mobilize in the region.

Despite that, he slammed Washington's “political philosophy,” which “generates war and creates enemies rather than power.”

Salami also said US threats are the reason behind the IRGC’s growing power, adding that having enemies such as the US is required to possess power.

He pointed out that the IRGC is in direct contact with the "enemy" and hinders its advance everywhere.

US fears have turned the region into an effective battlefield for American forces, he remarked.

Moreover, “they fear the attacks of jihadist groups” as a result of what he described as “young people’s obsession in Muslim countries to fight the United States and Israel.”

Iran usually names the groups it sponsors as “resistance” and groups such as al-Qaeda and ISIS as “jihadists.”

On Saturday, Salami said Tehran’s latest decisions and measures have refuted the hypothesis, which says Iran would not respond if it came under pressure.

He did not elaborate on what those decisions and measures were, but said they were an attempt to push “enemies, such as the United States, to decrease pressure on Iran.”

He did, however, refer to developments that had taken place recently in the Palestinian territories.

He said “they showed the enemies’ real size,” adding that “Israelis retreated as soon as they felt a war was going to be waged on their territory,” which in turn “provoked” the US.

The White House has been tightening its grip on Iran since its withdrawal from the nuclear deal in May 2018 due to Tehran’s violation of the deal by pursuing its ballistic program and due to the IRGC Quds Force’s malign regional behavior.

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