Iran said on Friday that it can strike the warships of the United States in the Arabian Gulf “easily”, and the United States cannot afford a new war.
The Iranian statements came amid escalating tensions with the US over the past few days as fears of a war between the two countries have increased.
Meanwhile, the Iranian Foreign Minister, Mohamed Javad Zarif, said on Saturday during his visit to China that “there will be no war because neither we want a war, nor has anyone the idea or illusion that it can confront Iran in the region.” He added that no one can stop Iran and no one can afford this war.
Two weeks ago, the US sent a Patriot missile-defence system to the Middle East amid escalating tensions with Iran. The move comes just months after the Pentagon removed several Patriot batteries from the Middle East.
Last week, the US withdrew its non-essential diplomatic staff from its embassy to Iraq, after attacks on four oil tankers in the Gulf region last week.
Mohamed Saleh Gokar, a deputy head of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), said that even short-range Iranian missiles could reach US warships in the Gulf, according to Fars news agency which is close to the Iranian government.
“Some capitalists and pro-Western politicians have an interest in imposing war and misery on Iran,” he added.
Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei said last week that Tehran would not negotiate a new deal with Washington after the US had withdrawn from the 2015 agreement on Iran’s nuclear programme in return for lifting international sanctions.
Two weeks ago, Iran announced that it had suspended two commitments under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in response to the US economic sanctions. It said it would start resuming high level uranium enrichment if, after 60 days, the signatory states failed to protect Iran’s oil and banking sectors from sanctions.
European signatory states reaffirmed their commitment to the JCPOA but that they also reject any ultimatums from Tehran to prevent its collapse.
Last week, the US President Donald Trump warned Iran of taking action against the United States. He said that if Tehran tried to take any action against his country, it would be a grave mistake.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani rejected the threat, while European powers warned against the consequences of the escalation.