Iran’s Guard Says Ready for ‘Any Scenario’ Amid U.S. Standoff

DUBAI (Reuters) -
Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Commander General Hossein Salami. (Sepahnews via AP )

Iran will pursue any aggressor, even it carries out a limited attack, and seek to destroy it, the head of the elite Revolutionary Guards said on Saturday, after attacks on Saudi oil sites which Riyadh and U.S officials blamed on Tehran.

“Be careful, a limited aggression will not remain limited. We will pursue any aggressor,” the head of the Guards, Major General Hossein Salami, said in remarks broadcast on state media. “We are after punishment and we will continue until the full destruction of any aggressor.”

President Donald Trump on Friday approved sending American troops to bolster Saudi Arabia’s air and missile defenses after the Sept. 14 attack.

Iran denies involvement in the attack, which was claimed by Yemen’s Houthi movement, a group aligned with Iran and currently fighting a Saudi-led alliance in Yemen’s civil war.

Amirali Hajizadeh, who heads the Revolutionary Guards’ aerospace branch, said any attacks on Iran would receive “a crushing response,” the official news agency IRNA reported.

Hajizadeh was speaking at a public exposition called “Hunting Vultures,” where remains of drones downed in Iran and the Iranian air defense system which shot down a U.S. military drone in June were displayed.

The exposition is part of annual events commemorating the start of the 1980-88 war with Iraq, which also includes air and naval displays in the Gulf and military parades on Sunday.

Iran‘s foreign minister meanwhile denounced renewed U.S. sanctions against its central bank following the Saudi attacks as an attempt to deny ordinary Iranians access to food and medicine, and said the move was a sign of U.S. desperation.

The United States on Friday imposed more sanctions, targeting the Central Bank of Iran, which was already under U.S. sanctions, the National Development Fund of Iran – the country’s sovereign wealth fund – and an Iranian company that U.S. officials say is used to conceal financial transfers for Iranian military purchases.

“This is a sign of U.S. desperation … When they repeatedly sanction the same institution, this means their attempt at bringing the Iranian nation to its knees under ‘maximum pressure’ has failed,” Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif told reporters in remarks shown on state media.

“But this is dangerous and unacceptable as an attempt at blocking … the Iranian people’s access to food and medicine,” Zarif said, speaking after arriving in New York for the annual U.N. General Assembly next week.