As Iran and the 5+1 Powers renew talks seeking a comprehensive nuclear agreement by June 30, Tehran’s Revolutionary Guards are continuing their rhetorical offensive against the US.
The Guards’ naval commander, Rear Admiral Ali Fadavi, put down the latest challenge in a speech on Wednesday to members of the Guards and paramilitary Basij:
The Americans should rest assured that if they take any action against the Islamic Revolution, they would not only fail to inflict any harm on this revolution, but also endanger and lose their life and existence.
Fadavi said that Iran’s naval capabilities and power ensure security along the Islamic Republic’s coasts and the Persian Gulf. Because of this “deterrent”, Tehran’s enemies “do not take any action that could be harmful to them”:
Our vessels confront the US vessels everyday, and they stand strong against their excessive demands. The Americans have realized today that if they embark on war they will sustain defeat, given the Islamic Revolution’s capabilities.
Iran’s navy has gone beyond words in several cases in the Persian Gulf in recent months. Patrol boats forced a cargo vessel with 34 crew into a southern Iranian port in April, with the ship held for weeks over allegations of unpaid debts by its company. The boats fired across the bow of a Singaporean tanker in May before the ship was able to escape the area and dock in Dubai.
Iran’s navy also challenged the US and Saudi Arabia this spring with the declaration that warships would accompany a cargo ship with aid for Yemen, amid that country’s civil war. However, Iranian officials backed away from a showdown, and the cargo ship diverted to Djibouti in Africa so the UN could verify that none of the aid was for military use.
Nuclear talks between Iran and the 5+1 Powers (US, Britain, France, Germany, China, and Russia) resumed in Vienna on Wednesday, with political talks negotiating the draft text of a final agreement. The discussions are the 7th round since a nuclear framework was announced on April 2.
The talks face a deadline of June 30. Iran and France have indicated that this could be extended, but US officials have held out so far against any negotiations after the cut-off.