Iran vows to hit back if threatened

Guards chief says U.S. warships will be destroyed if security of Gulf is imperilled


Iran will destroy U.S. warships if its security is threatened in the Gulf, the head of Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards told state TV on Thursday, a day after U.S. President Donald Trump warned Tehran over ”harassment” of U.S. vessels.

“I have ordered our naval forces to destroy any American terrorist force in the Persian Gulf that threatens security of Iran’s military or non-military ships,” Major General Hossein Salami said. “Security of the Persian Gulf is part of Iran’s strategic priorities.”

Trump said on Wednesday he had instructed the U.S. Navy to fire on any Iranian ships that harass it at sea, but said later he was not changing the militarys rules of engagement.

Earlier this month, the U.S. military said 11 Revolutionary Guards naval vessels from the Guards Navy came close to U.S. Navy and coast guard ships in the Gulf, calling the moves dangerous and provocative.

On Thursday, Iran’s Foreign Ministry summoned the Swiss Ambassador in Tehran, who represents U.S. interests in the country, over the recent tensions between Tehran and Washington. “I am telling the Americans that we are absolutely determined and serious in defending our national security, our water borders, our shipping safety, and our security forces, and we will respond decisively to any sabotage,” Salami said.

“Americans have experienced our power in the past and must learn from it.”

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif suggested that Mr. Trump should focus on saving U.S. service members from the pandemic. “The U.S. military is hit by over 5,000 #covid19 infections… Also, U.S. forces have no business 7,000 miles away from home, provoking our sailors off our OWN Persian Gulf shores,” Mr.Zarif tweeted.