20:01 GMT +320 November 2019
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     U.S. Air Force B-52 Stratofortress bomber arrives at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar (File)

    Iranian Military Warns States Hosting US Bases: You Will Be Targeted in Event of American Aggression

    © REUTERS / U.S. Air Force/Tech. Sgt. Terrica Y. Jones
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    The US and Iran have repeatedly threatened one another with deadly consequences in the event of hostilities, with the US move to send a carrier strike group to the Middle East and to set up a maritime security coalition to protect shipping in the Persian Gulf leading tensions to spike to dangerous new levels.

    Iran has the ability and will to target any and all territories sheltering the US or its allies in the region in the event of aggression against Tehran, Armed Forces spokesman Brig. Gen. Abolfazl Shekarchi has warned.

    “Any place and any territorial point sheltering the interests of the United States and its allies would be threatened (in case of any war) and the Islamic Republic has proved that it has the capability to do so,” the spokesman for the armed forces general staff said, speaking to Fars News Agency.

    “Even if a country does not directly participate in any possible war but its territories host the enemy, we consider that country as a hostile territory and will treat it as an aggressor,” Shekarchi added.

    Emphasising that Iran would never be the instigator of a war of aggression, the spokesman also stressed that “if an aggressor commits a strategic mistake” and starts a war, “that aggression will be confronted with the strongest and most crushing response over a geographic expanse beyond what the ill-wishers of the Islamic Republic could imagine.”

    Shekarchi added that the ineffectiveness of US military equipment was recently proven when all the advanced US radar and air defence systems “failed their test in a shameful manner” when Yemen’s Houthi militia launched attacks on Saudi Aramco facilities in September. At that time, the spokesman said, the whole world “realized the weakness and humiliation [of Western countries’ equipment] in this field.”

    This was the second time Brig. Gen. Shekarchi has warned the US about the dangers of a conflict with Iran. In June, amid regional fears about how the US might respond to the destruction of a $220 million drone by Iranian air defences in the Strait of Hormuz, the spokesman warned that firing even “one bullet” at Iran would cause the region to “be set on fire” in the war that followed.

    US Bases

    The United States already has over half a dozen major bases scattered around Iran, and recently confirmed plans to send 3,000 additional US personnel, two fighter squadrons, and Patriot and THAAD batteries to Saudi Arabia in the wake of the Saudi Aramco attacks.

    US bases include the permanent base in Bahrain housing the US Navy’s 5th Fleet, a US Army Central Command forward command post in Kuwait, the Al Dhafra Air Base in the United Arab Emirates, which contains an estimated 5,000+ US personnel, and the massive Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar, which houses some 10,000 troops.

    Combined Air Operations Center (CAOC) at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar
    Combined Air Operations Center (CAOC) at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar

    Along with these bases, the US has special forces operating in Yemen and Syria, and thousands of troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. The US also has smaller facilities known as ‘lily pads’ containing 200 troops or less and serving as jumping off points for military operations in countries including Oman, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Egypt.

    Embassy Siege Anniversary

    Thousands of Iranians gathered in Tehran on Monday to mark the 40th anniversary of the November 4, 1979 takeover of the US Embassy in the Iranian capital. The Embassy was overrun by university students during the Iranian Revolution, with 52 US diplomats captured and held for 444 days. The ensuing hostage crisis was seen as a key factor in President Jimmy Carter’s failure to secure a second term in the 1980 presidential election.

    Relations between Iran and the US have remained frosty ever since, although they temporarily warmed up starting in 2015 when the two countries, along with Russia, China, the UK, France, Germany and the EU signed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action nuclear deal, which offered Iran sanctions relief in exchange for a commitment not to pursue nuclear weapons technology. The US unilaterally withdrew from the deal in May 2018.

    Vahid Salemi
    A woman walks past a satirical drawing of the Statue of Liberty after new anti-U.S. murals on the walls of former U.S. embassy unveiled in a ceremony in Tehran, Iran, Saturday, Nov. 2, 2019.

    In addition to reinstating sanctions against Iran, the US wittingly or unwittingly escalated military tensions after sending an aircraft carrier strike group to the region this past May. The deployment was followed by a number of incidents, including a series of attacks on commercial oil tankers, tit-for-tat tanker seizures, and the destruction of a US spy drone in June. Despite the tensions, the two countries have managed to avoid war. Following the drone shootdown, President Trump revealed to reporters that he had canceled ‘retaliatory’ strikes on multiple targets after finding out that dozens of Iranian military personnel would be killed in US strikes, which he deemed would not be “proportionate.” Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, meanwhile, revealed that a US spy plane was operating alongside the drone when it was downed, but was spared from destruction.

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