Iran’s Republican Guards chief: We can ‘break’ US but are not heading for war

Source: Iran’s Republican Guards chief: We can ‘break’ US but are not heading for war | The Times of Israel

Hossein Salami says Iranians are unconcerned by threats from Washington after Trump threatened action over embassy violence

Iranian Revolutionary Guards commander Major General Hossein Salami speaks during a pro-government rally in the capital Tehran’s central Enghelab Square on November 25, 2019. (ATTA KENARE / AFP)

The head of Iran’s powerful Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps on Thursday said his country is not concerned by threats from the US, which it can “break” several times over.

“We are not leading the country to war, but we are not afraid of any war and we tell America to speak correctly with the Iranian nation,” Guards Commander Major General Hossein Salami was quoted as saying by Reuters, citing Iran’s Tasnim news agency.

“We have the power to break them several times over and are not worried,” he said.

Salami’s remarks came after the US President Donald Trump blamed Iran and threatened it with a response for an assault on the US embassy in Iraq during which pro-Iranian demonstrators breached the perimeter wall and burned property on the inside.

On Wednesday Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei also dismissed US threats over the embassy violence saying Washington “can’t do anything.”

The rioting Tuesday and Wednesday at the US Baghdad embassy was sparked by weekend US airstrikes on an Iran-backed militia located in Iraq that Washington said was responsible for a rocket attack that killed a US civilian contractor. The US strikes killed 25 members of the Ketaeb Hezbollah group, a part of the state-sponsored Popular Mobilization Forces. There was wide public outrage in Iraq at the strikes, which were seen as a violation of Iraqi sovereignty.

Pro-Iranian militiamen and their supporters set a fire during a sit-in in front of the US embassy in Baghdad, Iraq, January 1, 2020. (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed)

On Tuesday Trump threatened Iran with strong action over the embassy clashes.

“Iran will be held fully responsible for lives lost, or damage incurred, at any of our facilities,” he said on Twitter.

“They will pay a very BIG PRICE! This is not a Warning, it is a Threat,” wrote Trump, adding “Happy New Year!”

Later, he said he did not foresee war with Tehran over the embassy incident.

US President Donald Trump speaks to the press outside the grand ballroom as he arrives for a New Year’s celebration at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida, on December 31, 2019. (JIM WATSON/AFP)

“I don’t see that happening,” Trump said at his holiday retreat in Florida when a reporter asked about the possibility of war with the Islamic Republic. “I like peace.”

US officials said there were no plans to evacuate the mission, and no US personnel were reported injured.

Meanwhile, Tehran summoned an official from the Swiss embassy, which represents US interests in Iran, to complain about American “warmongering” in Iraq, the foreign ministry said on Wednesday.

In a Wednesday statement, the Iranian foreign ministry said it had asked the Swiss charge d’affaires to inform the United States that “Iraq is an independent country.”

“The American army has martyred at least 25 young Iraqis and has wounded countless more without presenting the slightest evidence of them being at fault,” it said. “Naturally the people of Iraq react to the country that has occupied their country and kills their young people.”

 

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