The head of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps, Maj.- Gen. Muhammad Ali Jafari, threatened the US with a strong military response after American Secretary of State John Kerry said a military option to counter the country’s nuclear drive was “ready.”
“You could never understand the extent of the invasive capacity of the Islamic Republic of Iran,” Jafari said Saturday according to Iran’s Fars News Agency.
“Mr. Kerry must know that direct battle with the US is the biggest dream of pious and revolutionary people across the world. Your threats offer our revolutionary people the best opportunity,” he said.
He went on to say that “wise” American politicians would most likely prevent use of the “ridiculous military option.”
Kerry, in an exclusive interview with the Al Arabiya website on Thursday, said that if Iran did not abide by its commitments with world powers, “the military option of the United States is ready and prepared to do what it would have to do.”
Multiple senior Iranian officials responded to Kerry’s remarks.
“The Americans are well aware that if they make a mistake, the Islamic Republic’s response will be crushing and devastating and in other words, we will give a response with a wider radius,” Yadollah Javani, a senior official of the Revolutionary Guards, told Fars on Sunday. “The Islamic Republic can attack all the US interests in the region and they will never be able to show a proportionate reaction....”
Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani said Iran would increase its military budget following Kerry’s comments.
“Today, you heard Kerry’s remarks and saw his saber-rattling against the Islamic Republic of Iran, and we should fully understand this sensitivity and take practical measures against it,” Larijani told Iranian lawmakers on Saturday, Fars reported.
Ali Akbar Velayati, a senior adviser to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, said Kerry’s comments were “more like a bluff,” Iran’s TUSasnim News Agency reported on Sunday.
“Obviously, the Americans have no such power (to launch an attack on Iran). If they did, they would not have been expelled from Iraq and Afghanistan in such a totally weakened state,” Velayati said.
Meanwhile, Reza Najafi, Iran’s representative to the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), shot down the nuclear watchdog’s idea of setting up an office in Tehran, saying there was no need, according to Iran’s Mehr News.
“We believe that given the scope of our nuclear activity, there is no need for the IAEA to open an office in Tehran like in Japan and Canada,” Najafi said on Saturday, pointing out that Iran had not received such a request.
Confirming a Reuters story from earlier this month, IAEA director-general Yukiya Amano told a news conference on Friday that the agency might ask Iran’s permission to set up a temporary office there for logistical purposes.
The IAEA already inspects Iranian nuclear facilities regularly to make sure there is no diversion of material for military purposes. That work will now increase.
Until now, the IAEA had one or two teams of two inspectors each in Iran most of the time, as well as experts working on the Iran file at its Vienna headquarters.
“We will need to nearly double the staff resources devoted to verification in Iran,” Amano said. “We will need to significantly increase the frequency of the verification activities which we are currently conducting.”
Reuters contributed to this report.