Tehran’s “enemy” will not dare “shoot even one blank” in Iran’s direction, Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Commander Maj. Gen. Hossein Salami has said, speaking at a ceremony in Arak, central Iran on Thursday commemorating the Iran-Iraq War of 1980-1988.
The firebrand commander, known for his harsh rhetoric, did not specify which “enemy” he was referring to, but argued that since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, Iran has been at war not for eight years, but for its entire 40 year history.
Today, Salami said, the “plots” against Iran have “become more complex” than ever, with “our country’s culture, economy, spirituality, security, science and industry” all “targets of widespread attacks.” The string of assassinations targeting Iran’s nuclear scientists was but one example, he said.
According to Salami, Iran’s “children of the revolution” were “invincible on the sea, in the air and on the ground,” with the commander stressing that “today, the IRGC has taken giant steps in defensive and technological fields.”
After enjoying a brief thaw in relations after the signing of the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action nuclear deal, tensions between Iran and the US began escalating in May 2018, when the Trump administration unilaterally withdrew from the nuclear deal and began hitting Iran with a series of banking and energy sanctions, and threatening countries doing business with Tehran with secondary sanctions. In May 2019, Washington annulled sanctions waivers for over half a dozen major importers of Iranian oil, while Tehran announced that it would begin withdrawing from its obligation under the JCPOA until its remaining signatories could abide by their commitments.
Also in May, Washington sent a carrier strike group to the Middle East, citing an unspecified Iranian ‘threat’ to US interests in the region. Since then, the Persian Gulf region has faced a string of dangerous incidents, including tanker sabotage attacks, ship seizures and drone shootdowns, with Iran and the US blaming one another for the escalations and threatening each other with destruction.