Iran vows to respond to US threats

A handout picture provided by the Iranian presidency on April 19, 2020, shows President Hassan Rouhani, beneath the portrait of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, chairing a cabinet session in the capital Tehran. (AFP)

Tehran, April 24 (IANS) Iranian officials have downplayed the recent US threats and vowed to respond if the security of Iranian territory was at stake.

US President Donald Trump had said on Wednesday that he has ordered the US Navy to shoot down and destroy Iranian gunboats if they harass their ships at the southern waters of Iran, reports Xinhua news agency.

Before Trump’s statement, the US Navy had earlier said in a statement that 11 military vessels of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) conducted “dangerous and provocative actions” near US Navy and Coast Guard ships in international waters in the Gulf on April 15.

Responding to Trump’s threat, Hossein Salami, chief commander of the IRGC, on Thursday dismissed the claims, saying that the US’ “unprofessional and hazardous” behaviour caused the IRGC Navy vessels’ confrontation with American vessels last week.

Salami said: “We are fully determined and serious in defending our national security, maritime borders, maritime interests, maritime security and security of our forces at sea and any (wrong) move will trigger our decisive, effective and prompt response.”

Also on Thursday, Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said that “US forces have no business 7,000 miles away from home, provoking our sailors off our own Gulf shores”.

Defence Minister Amir Hatami also said on Thursday that the Iranian armed forces were ready to repel any threat against the country.

The armed forces have been monitoring global and regional developments with vigilant eyes, said at a meeting held in the capital Tehran with the participation of military advisors and officials.

Also, Iran’s UN mission spokesman Alireza Miryousefi said on Thursday that the Islamic Republic will not succumb to the US threats.

“Iran has proven that it will not succumb to intimidation and threats, nor will it hesitate to defend its territory, in accordance with international law, from any and all aggression,” Miryousefi was quoted as saying.

“In the midst of a global coronavirus pandemic when all attention worldwide is to combat this menace, the question is what the US military is doing in Gulf waters, 7,000 miles from home,” he said.

Iran’s Foreign Ministry on Thursday summoned the Swiss ambassador to Tehran, which represents US interests in the Islamic republic, over Trump’s threats.

The IRGC has called for full withdrawal of all American forces from the Gulf and West Asia, saying the “illegal” presence of US forces in the region is the source of insecurity in the West Asia.


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