Iranian commander threatens to hit America ‘in the head’ if it makes military move

The Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group transits the Suez Canal in Egypt on May 9, 2019. (US Navy/AP)
Updated 16 May 2019

Iranian commander threatens to hit America ‘in the head’ if it makes military move

  • The US military has sent forces to the Middle East to counter what the Trump administration says are “clear indications” of threats from Iran to US forces there
  • An Israeli cabinet minister warned of possible direct or proxy Iranian attacks on Israel should the stand-off between Tehran and Washington escalate

LONDON: A commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard threatened Sunday to hit America “in the head” if it made a military move, the Iranian Students' News Agency (ISNA) reported.

Amirali Hajizadeh, the head of the Guard's aerospace division, also said that America’s military presence in the Gulf used to be a serious threat but now it’s an opportunity. 

"An aircraft carrier that has at least 40 to 50 planes on it and 6000 forces gathered within it was a serious threat for us in the past but now...the threats have switched to opportunities," Hajizadeh said.  

The US military has sent forces, including an aircraft carrier and B-52 bombers, to the Middle East to counter what the Trump administration says are “clear indications” of threats from Iran to US forces there.
The USS Abraham Lincoln is replacing another carrier rotated out of the Gulf last month.

Earlier on Sunday, an Israeli cabinet minister warned of possible direct or proxy Iranian attacks on Israel should the stand-off between Tehran and Washington escalate.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government, which supports Trump’s hard tack against its arch-foe, has largely been reticent about the spiralling tensions.
Parting with the silence, Israeli Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz said that, in the Gulf, “things are heating up.”
“If there’s some sort of conflagration between Iran and the United States, between Iran and its neighbors, I’m not ruling out that they will activate Hezbollah and Islamic Jihad from Gaza, or even that they will try to fire missiles from Iran at the State of Israel,” Steinitz, a member of Netanyahu’s security cabinet, told Israel’s Ynet TV.
Hezbollah and Islamic Jihad are Iranian-sponsored guerrilla groups on Israel’s borders, the former active in Syria as well as Lebanon and the latter in the Palestinian territories.
The Israeli military declined to comment when asked if it was making any preparations for possible threats linked to the Iran-US standoff.
Israel has traded blows with Iranian forces in Syria, as well as with Hezbollah in Lebanon and Palestinian militants. But it has not fought an open war with Iran, a country on the other side of the Middle East.

(With Reuters)

 

 

 


Trump dampens Macron optimism on Iran talks

Updated 52 min 55 sec ago

Trump dampens Macron optimism on Iran talks

  • Macron has pushed mediation efforts in recent weeks to avoid a further deterioration in the region
  • Trump says he hasn't discussed a statement that Macron intends to give on behalf of the G7 on Iran

BIARRITZ, France: US President Donald Trump appeared to brush aside French efforts to mediate with Iran on Sunday, saying that while he was happy for President Emmanuel Macron to reach out to Tehran to defuse tensions he would carry on with his own initiatives.
European leaders have struggled to tamp down the brewing confrontation between Iran and the United States since Trump pulled his country out of Iran’s internationally-brokered 2015 nuclear deal and reimposed sanctions on the Iranian economy.
Macron, who has pushed mediation efforts in recent weeks to avoid a further deterioration in the region, had told LCI television that the G7 had agreed on joint action on Iran.
The French presidency said G7 leaders had even agreed that Macron should hold talks and pass on messages to Iran after they discussed the issue over dinner at a summit in southwestern France on Saturday evening.
However, Trump, who has pushed a maximum pressure policy on Iran, pushed back.
Asked if he had signed off on a statement that Macron intends to give on behalf of the G7 on Iran, Trump said:
“I haven’t discussed this. No I haven’t,” he told reporters, adding that Macron and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe were free to talk to Iran.
“We’ll do our own outreach, but, you know, I can’t stop people from talking. If they want to talk, they can talk.”
Macron, who has taken the lead to defuse tensions fearing that a collapse of the nuclear deal could set ablaze the Middle East, met Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Friday. The aim was to discuss proposals that could ease the crisis, including the idea of reducing some US sanctions or providing Iran with an economic compensation mechanism.
Macron appeared to backtrack on his own team’s comments later, saying there was no formal mandate from the G7 leaders to pass a message to Iran.
Highlighting just how difficult agreeing on concrete measures between allies is, Macron said the leaders’ views had converged on not wanting Iran to acquire a nuclear bomb and ensuring peace and security in the Middle East.
He was supposed to discuss those ideas with Trump on the sidelines of the G7, which also comprises Britain, Germany, Italy, Canada, Japan and the EU.
“Everyone wants to avoid a conflict, Donald Trump was extremely clear on that point,” Macron told LCI.
“We have to continue to take initiatives and in the coming weeks that on the one hand there are no more Iranian decisions that contradict this objective and that we open new negotiations,” Macron said without giving details.
In response to the tougher US sanctions and what it says is the inability of European powers party to the deal — France, Britain and Germany, to compensate it for its lost oil revenue, Tehran has responded with a series of moves, including retreating from some of its commitments to limit its nuclear activity made under the deal.
The United States has made no indication it will ease any sanctions and it is unclear what kind of compensation mechanism Macron wants to offer Iran given at this stage a proposed trade channel for humanitarian and food exchanges with Iran is still not operational.
Macron has also said that in return for any concessions he would expect Iran to comply fully with the nuclear deal and for Iran to engage in new negotiations that would include its ballistic missile program and regional activities.