‘The United States is not in a position to threaten Iran’ says Iranian military chief


The head of Iranian volunteer Basij (The Organization for Mobilization of the Oppressed) forces says the United States is not in a position to threaten Iran, dismissing President Donald Trump’s pugnacious Tweeter message addressed to President Hassan Rouhani as ‘psychological warfare’.

‘Trump’s statements against Iran are psychological warfare. He is not in a position to act against Iran,’ Brigadier-General Qolam-Hossein Gheibparvar said on Monday. Trump has threatened Iran with hardship ‘the likes of which few throughout history have ever suffered before’ as the United States launched a campaign meant to foment unrest in the Islamic Republic.

The US president resorted to threatening rhetoric against Iran, just hours after President Rouhani warns him against ‘playing with the lion’s tail’. Trump tweeted late on Sunday night: ‘NEVER, EVER THREATEN THE UNITED STATES AGAIN OR YOU WILL SUFFER CONSEQUENCES THE LIKES OF WHICH FEW THROUGHOUT HISTORY HAVE EVER SUFFERED BEFORE. ‘WE ARE NO LONGER A COUNTRY THAT WILL STAND FOR YOUR DEMENTED WORDS OF VIOLENCE & DEATH. BE CAUTIOUS!’

Gheibparvar said the Iranian people and Armed Forces will stand up to the enemies, and will not back down, adding ‘our belief is that the way to felicity and progress is to resist and withstand ill-wishers and enemies.’

‘We will not step away from our revolutionary principles and beliefs, and will stand up to the expansionists, arrogant powers, and bullies,’ he said. ‘Those who fear this crazy president’s psychological warfare will know that America will not be content with anything less than our annihilation,’ the commander added.

On Monday, Iran unveiled the mass-production line of a medium-range air-to-air missile, dubbed Fakour, in the presence of Defence Minister Brigadier General Amir Hatami. Defence Minister Brigadier General Amir Hatami inaugurates the mass-production line of Fakour air-to-air missile in Tehran, July 23, 2013.

Hatami said the missile was being manufactured for the first time in Iran, adding the projectile had been designed and produced using state-of-the-art technology, and could be engaged against various aggressive aircraft within its operational range. He also called the missile’s mass production a key step towards enhancing the country’s defensive power and effective deterrence capability.

The missile, Hatami said, had reached the mass-production stage despite US-led sanctions targeting Iran’s missile industry. ‘Today, we live in an environment, where we are surrounded by shameless enemies and mischievous people like the current rulers of the US, and some of its allies, who do not understand anything other than the language of force,’ the defence chief noted.

In line with the instructions of Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, Iran would give a proportionate response to any threat, Hatami added. Trump’s Tweeter message in all capital letters late Sunday came following Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s warning to him not to ‘play with the lion’s tail’ after the US unveiled a series of measures which amount to a declaration of war.

Addressing a group of Iranian diplomats in Tehran Sunday, Rouhani said: ‘America must understand well that peace with Iran is the mother of all peace, and war with Iran is the mother of all wars. ‘You declare war and then you speak of wanting to support the Iranian people,’ he told the US president, adding ‘You are not in a position to incite the Iranian nation against Iran’s security and interests.’

President Rouhani says the US should know peace with Iran will be the mother of all peace and war with the country will be the mother of all wars. Also on Sunday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced in a speech that the Trump administration had launched a ‘maximum pressure campaign’ targeting Iran and its economy.

The US will pursue a ‘diplomatic and economic pressure campaign’ on Iran, Pompeo said as he appealed to Iranians who fled the country after the 1979 Islamic Revolution, including Mujahedin-e Khalq Organisation (MKO) terrorists.

Pompeo described Iran’s officials as a ‘mafia’ and promised unspecified backing for Iranians unhappy with their government.

Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi on Monday hit back at Pompeo’s ‘foolish and baseless’ remarks, saying they are a clear example of US interference in the Islamic Republic’s internal affairs.

‘The US secretary of state’s remarks, especially last night, show that he is still deprived of the necessary knowledge and understanding of the past and present of the Iranians,’ the spokesman said. ‘Throughout history, Iranians have never accepted any foreign domination and bullying, and certainly in these sensitive situations, they will not only ignore the current president and the war-mongering minority in the US … they will also respond to these meddlesome remarks and measures with exemplary unity and coherence.’

In his Sunday speech, Pompeo said President Trump was ‘willing to talk’ to the Iranian government if it showed what he called signs of change. He referred to Trump’s withdrawal from the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement in May, saying it had freed the US to re-impose financial sanctions on the country and on those doing business with Tehran.

He also reiterated that the administration seeks to force Iranian crude exports ‘as close to zero as possible by November 4,’ when the US sanctions lifted by the nuclear deal snap back into place. ‘The US secretary of state’s hypocritical and foolish speech more than ever … was a sign of the American government’s fathomless desperation after its unilateral and unwise withdrawal from the JCPOA and its failure to achieve its goals despite global isolation,’ Qassemi said.

The spokesman said Pompeo’s statements showed the ‘hypocrisy and lack of sincerity’ of the current American statesmen and the long gap which exists between their words and deeds. He touched on a long litany of US hostilities, including its role in the 1953 coup against the Iranian government, support for terrorist and secessionist groups, backing for the former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein in his war of the 1980s on Iran and its downing of an Iranian passenger jet over the Persian Gulf in 1988.

Under the Trump administration, the US has taken an increasingly hostile approach toward Iran. Iranian officials have said US measures equal an ‘economic war’ on Iran. Pompeo’s speech drew criticism from domestic critics of the administration, including veteran diplomats behind the landmark Iran nuclear deal.

His speech ‘only underscores the counterproductive nature of this administration’s Iran strategy and parallels efforts by the G. W. Bush administration to prepare for war in Iraq,’ said Diplomacy Works, an organisation that campaigns for the preservation of the nuclear agreement. ‘Data shows that the sanctions regime this administration plans to impose following the president’s decision to violate the Iran deal will hurt the Iranian people,’ the statement added.

Supporters of Iran likened the US measures to alleged foreign campaigns to interfere in the 2016 US presidential election, spreading the hashtag #StopMeddlingInIran on Twitter. US officials reported on Sunday the Trump administration had launched an offensive of speeches and online communications meant to foment unrest in Iran.

More than half a dozen current and former officials said the campaign, supported by Pompeo and national security adviser John Bolton, is meant to work in concert with Trump’s push to economically throttle Iran. The current and former officials said the campaign paints Iranian leaders in a harsh light, at times using information that is exaggerated or contradicts other official pronouncements, including comments by previous administrations. A top Iranian official pointed out that Washington had sought in vain to undermine the government since the Islamic Revolution of 1979, adding: ‘Their efforts will fail again!’