A senior member of Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guard Corps said Friday Iranian short-range missiles can “easily” reach warships in the Persian Gulf, according to the semi-official Fars news agency.
Revolutionary Guard deputy chief Mohammad Saleh Jokar’s comments came amid rising tensions with the United States.
The U.S. has increased its military presence in the region by deploying additional ships and tightened sanctions against Iran to counter alleged threats from the Islamic Republic. The gulf is one of the world’s most strategic waterways, through which one-third of the world’s oil supply is transported.
Jokar warned the U.S. “cannot afford the costs of a new war” and that a conflict would adversely affect global oil supplies. “If a war happens, the world will suffer,” he added.
Jokar’s remarks came as Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif engaged in intense diplomatic efforts to preserve Iran’s nuclear deal with world powers. During a visit to China Friday, Zarif criticized world leaders, saying “supportive statements” are not enough to save the agreement.
“If the international community feels that this accord is a valuable achievement, then it should take practical steps just like Iran does,” Zarif told IRNA, Iran’s official news agency. “The meaning of practical steps is fully clear: Iran’s economic relations should be normalized.”
The U.S. pulled out of a 2015 nuclear deal last year and imposed tough sanctions that have weakened Iran’s economy, including a move to cut off Iranian oil exports. The five remaining signatories of the deal, the European Union, Britain, China, France and Russia, have since tried to preserve it.
Iran warned last week it would start enriching uranium at higher levels again if a new nuclear agreement has not been reached by July 7.
U.S. President Donald Trump has said publicly he wants a diplomatic solution, but Iranian officials are not convinced.
Iranian General Rasool Sanaeirad said imposing sanctions while pursuing talks is like “pointing a gun at someone demanding friendship,” Iran’s semi-official Mehr news agency reported.
That sentiment was echoed by Iranian ambassador to the United Nations Majid Takht-e-Ravanchi, who told CBS the U.S. “want(s) to have the stick in their hands, trying to intimidate Iran at the same time calling for a dialog.”