After the Trump administration announced a new set of sanctions to be imposed on Iran over its ballistic missile program and “malign activities” in the Middle East, the head of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard issued a veiled threat directed at U.S. installations in the region.
If the United States wants to pursue sanctions against Iran’s defenses and the Guards, then it has to move its regional bases to a distance of about 1,000 km (620 miles) around Iran and be aware that it would pay a high price for any miscalculations,” Tasnim, a local news outlet, quoted Iranian Guard commander Mohammad Ali Jafari as saying.
According to Iranian officials, their ballistic missile programs are entirely defensive in nature, and do not violate the nuclear accord in place with the United States and a handful of other nations. U.S. installations in Qatar and Kuwait, across the Gulf from Iran, as well as the U.S. 5th Fleet’s base in Bahrain would all be within the radius Jafari seemed to be inferring could be targeted by Iranian missile strikes in the event of an international “miscalculation.”
“Iran’s missile capability in the air, sea and land is growing rapidly, and this is an absolute principle for us,” Jafari went on.
In the annual “Country Reports on Terrorism” released by the Trump Administration on Wednesday, Iran retained the top spot as the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism, though the report did indicate a decline in terror attacks throughout 2015 and 2016 overall. The report goes on to indicate that Iran has continued to back anti-Israel groups, as well as proxies that have worked to further destabilize already conflict-ridden regions like Syria, Iraq and Yemen.
In February of this year, Washington publicly “put Iran on notice” over their destabilizing efforts in the Middle East. An announcement that was punctuated by a test of one of Iran’s medium range ballistic missiles, which detonated after covering approximately 620 miles.
“Some of the actions of the Americans are against the spirit and even the letter of the (nuclear accord). We shall resist these,” Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on state television on Wednesday.
“One of the plots of the Americans is to act in such a way that would make Iran say that it is not following its commitments… I think the Americans will fail as we will always respect our international commitments,” he added.
President Trump chose to certify Iran’s adherence to the landmark nuclear accord aimed at curbing the country’s nuclear weapon’s program, despite issuing new sanctions tied to Iran’s missile and destabilization efforts. Some have called these actions counterproductive, but U.S. officials seem to want to make sure the country answers for its aggressive behavior, even if it complies with the specific requirements of the nuclear accord.
“The United States remains deeply concerned about Iran’s malign activities across the Middle East, which undermine regional stability, security and prosperity,” State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said Tuesday.
“Iran’s other malign activities are serving to undercut whatever ‘positive contributions’ to regional and international peace and security were intended to emerge from the” nuclear agreement, Nauert added.
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