A defense adviser to Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei warned that any American attack on the Islamic Republic could set off a “full-fledged war” in the region.
“We don’t welcome a crisis. We don’t welcome war. We are not after starting a war,” Brigadier General Hossein Dehqan told the Associated Press in a recent interview.
He, however, warned against any American military escalation in Trump’s final weeks in office.
“A limited, tactical conflict can turn into a full-fledged war,” he said. “Definitely, the United States, the region and the world cannot stand such a comprehensive crisis.”
The remarks came in reaction to a recent report in which the New York Times, citing four current and former US officials on Monday, said that Trump asked senior advisers in an Oval Office meeting on Thursday whether he had options to take action against Iran’s main nuclear site in the coming weeks.
A range of senior advisers dissuaded the president from moving ahead with a military strike, said The New York Times, adding that the advisers — including Vice President Mike Pence; Secretary of State Mike Pompeo; Christopher C. Miller, the acting defense secretary; and Gen. Mark A. Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff — warned that a strike against Iran’s facilities could easily escalate into a broader conflict in the last weeks of Trump’s presidency.
Further, the advisor reiterated the country’s principled stance that its missile power is non-negotiable due to its forming part of Iran’s “deterrent” might.
“The Islamic Republic of Iran will not negotiate its defensive power … with anybody under any circumstances,” he added. “Missiles are a symbol of the massive potential that is in our experts, young people and industrial centers.”
The official also warned about Israel’s regional expansionist ambitions that saw the regime normalizing its relations with the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Sudan earlier in the year. Dehqan warned that the ambitious march was a “strategic mistake” that could put Tel Aviv in a parlous state.
“It is opening an extensive front,” he said. “Just imagine every Israeli in any military base can be a target for groups who are opposed to Israel.”
General Dehqan, meanwhile, addressed the likelihood of fresh negotiations with the US under President-elect Joe Biden and the quality that such talks could partake of.
The US’ atrocities under Trump had made it extremely difficult for Iran to accept its return to the negotiation table, he said. Among the rest, he referred to the US’ assassination of Iran’s senior anti-terror commander Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani on Trump’s direct order near Baghdad airport in January.
He called the IRGC’s retaliatory missile strikes against US bases in Iraq that came almost immediately after the assassination a mere “initial slap,” and said that the Islamic Republic continued to seek the expulsion of all American forces from the region as revenge for the barbaric assassination.
“We do not seek a situation in which (the other party) buys time to weaken our nation,” he also said — apparently signaling that Tehran would not tolerate any American trickery in the event of any fresh talks — and said, “We are not after negotiations for the sake of negotiations either.”