The chief of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, General Hossein Salami, has vowed to target both American and Israeli commanders if Washington continues to threaten top Iranian generals. He also declared that the United States will “definitely regret” its presence in the Middle East.
Salami’s statements came in apparent reaction to U.S. Special Envoy for Iran Brian Hook, who said the new commander of the IRGC’s Quds Force, Esmail Qaani, “will meet the same fate” if he follows in the path of his predecessor Qassem Soleimani, who was led in a U.S. airstrike on January 3. During an interview with the Saudi-owned A-Sharq al-Awsat daily, Hook went on to underscore that “any attacks against American personnel or interests in the region will be met with a decisive response.”
In related developments, dozens of Iranians attended a regime-organized protest, in a perceived bid to portray popular opposition to dialogue with the United States. Demonstrators burned and stomped on U.S. flags while chanting “Death to America.” University student Mis Mosavi told the Reuters news agency that it is “pure betrayal” for the holding of any discussion about prospective negotiations between Tehran and Washington, before the U.S. has “officially accepted responsibility” for Soleimani’s assassination. “We will not allow anyone to betray the country,” he proclaimed, adding, “We stand here and never let anyone betray us.”
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif reiterated the regime position during an address to foreign ministers to the Islamic Republic, saying “The Trump administration, despite its claims, has repeatedly shown no belief in negotiation and adherence to past and present obligations.” “Unfortunately, the passive stances of the countries and the international organizations in countering Trump’s law-breaking and unilateralism have enabled him to pursue a bullying approach,” sad Tehran’s top diplomat.
While Minister Zarif condemned the international community for its failure to block the pressure campaign against his country, the IRGC is reportedly preparing to launch a satellite into orbit, after three major failures to do so last year. It is important to highlight the fact that such a launch breaches U.N. Security Resolution 2231, as it uses technology capable of delivering nuclear weapons.