Reuters reported a senior Iranian Revolutionary Guard commander derisively categorized the U.S. military presence in the Persian Gulf as a serious threat previously, but now says the presence represents a target, a report from the Iranian Students’ News Agency (ISNA) reported.
Following reports of “clear indications” of threats from Iran to American forces in the region, the U.S. military has sent forces – including the aircraft carrier the USS Abraham Lincoln and B-52 bombers – to the region.
“An aircraft carrier that has at least 40 to 50 planes on it and 6,000 forces gathered within it was a serious threat for us in the past but now it is a target and the threats have switched to opportunities.” – Amirali Hajizadeh, Iranian Revolutionary Guard aerospace division
ISNA reported: “If (the Americans) make a move, we will hit them in the head,” he said.
U.S. President Donald Trump also has increased economic pressure on Iran, working meticulously to cut off all its oil exports, to try to get Tehran to curb its nuclear and missile programs as well as end support for its proxies in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and Yemen, Reuters reported.
Speaking to CNBC in an interview broadcast Monday, the report said, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the U.S. deployments are aimed to both deter attacks and to be able to respond if necessary.
“We’ve seen this reporting,” Pompeo said. “It’s real. It appears to be something that is current, that is things we’re worried about today,” the network said.
“In the event that Iran decided to come after an American interest – whether that be in Iraq or Afghanistan or Yemen or any place in the Middle East – we are prepared to respond in an appropriate way,” he said, adding that “our aim is not war,” CNBC reported.