Iran Not Heading to War but Not Afraid of Conflict – Military Commander

DUBAI, Jan 2 (Reuters) – A top Iranian commander said on Thursday that Iran was not moving towards a war but was not afraid of any conflict, the semi-official Tasnim news agency reported after U.S. President Donald Trump said Tehran was behind anti-U.S. protests in Iraq.

Trump accused Iran of orchestrating demonstrations at the U.S. embassy in Iraq on Tuesday and said Tehran would be held responsible. Iran has rejected the accusation.

“We are not leading the country to war, but we are not afraid of any war and we tell America to speak correctly with the Iranian nation. We have the power to break them several times over and are not worried,” Revolutionary Guards Commander Brigadier General Hossein Salami was quoted by Tasnim as saying.

[aesop_image img=”” panorama=”off” credit=”FILE PHOTO: The commander of the Revolutionary Guards, Major General Hossein SalamI. REUTERS./” align=”center” lightbox=”off” captionsrc=”custom” captionposition=”left” revealfx=”off” overlay_revealfx=”off”]

Trump had said in a tweet on Tuesday that Iran would be “held fully responsible for lives lost, or damage incurred, at any of our facilities. They will pay a very BIG PRICE! This is not a Warning, it is a Threat.” He later said he did not want or foresee a war with Iran.

Iran‘s Army chief Major General Abdolrahim Mousavi said on Thursday his forces were ready to confront the “enemy”.

“Our armed forces … monitor all moves, and if anyone makes the slightest mistake, they will decisively react, and if the situation heats up, we will show our abilities to the enemy,” Mousavi was quoted as saying by state broadcaster IRIB.

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Wednesday condemned U.S. attacks on Iranian-allied militias in Iraq, blaming the United States for violence in Iran‘s neighbour.

Iran protested on Wednesday to a Swiss envoy, who represents U.S. interests in Tehran, over what it called “warmongering statements” by American officials.

(Reporting by Dubai newsroom; Editing by Edmund Blair and Edmund Blair)