May 12 (UPI) — The commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps said Sunday that the United States “does not have the ability” to wage war against Iran.
During a visit to Iran’s parliament on Sunday, IRGC Commander Major General Hossein Salami ruled out the possibility of U.S. military action against Iran, citing the strength of the country’s armed forces and “vulnerabilities” of U.S. aircraft carriers.
“The American war against Iran is not possible, because Washington does not have the ability and the courage to wage war against it,” he said.
Salami also dismissed U.S. decisions to deploy the USS Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group and USS Arlington amphibious transport dock to the Middle East amid the rising tensions.
“The U.S. is seeking this step to intimidate the people and and some military officials of the occurrence of war,” he said.
Tensions between the two countries flared after Iran partially pulled out of the landmark nuclear deal it signed with six other nations in 2015.
Iran’s government said it would stockpile low enriched uranium and heavy water as well as restart its Arak nuclear reactor if it isn’t compensated for losses it would incur after U.S. President Donald Trump canceled temporary waivers permitting countries to purchase Iranian oil without breaking U.S. sanctions.
The United States also imposed new sanctions on Iranian metals, including iron, steel, aluminum and copper which prompted rallies across the country supporting the Iranian government’s hardline stance against the U.S. actions.
Prior to Salami’s appearance in parliament on Sunday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said called for the nation to remain united in the face of pressure from enemies.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Thursday that the United States does “not seek war” but warned Iran not to mistake U.S. restraint for a lack of resolve.