A commander in the Iranian Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) dismissed the potential of war with the United States in remarks Friday, claiming that America would never incite a war because its leaders are too aware they would lose against the beleaguered Iranian military.
IRGC Lieutenant Commander Brigadier General Hossein Salami’s remarks follow months of turbulence for Iran which, having spread its resources too thin on military adventures in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Yemen, and elsewhere, has seen the value of the rial currency collapse and a new wave of anti-interventionist protests nationwide.
“The option of war against the Islamic Republic of Iran is canceled because the U.S. has neither political conditions for a war nor an ally that would side with it,” Salami said in a speech Friday, according to the Iranian outlet Tasnim News Agency. “Therefore it (Washington) is aware that it will be the loser of any war that wages against Iran, which will lead to the further development of the Islamic Republic’s regional clout.”
Salami added that the U.S. military was “not capable of ‘entering into a battle’ against Iran” in part due to the allegedly weakened state of the American economy, Tasnim added.
The IRGC appears emboldened by the successful bombing of the headquarters of two dissident Kurdish groups in Iraq a weekend ago, an act committed without alerting Baghdad that Iraq’s sovereignty was to be violated. IRGC forces bombed the offices of the Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan (PDKI) and the Kurdistan Democratic Party of Iran (KDP-I), two Kurdish political parties in exile, killing at least 15 people and injuring 42, according to Kurdish authorities. Both parties operate within the jurisdiction of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), a semi-autonomous region in Iraq, which condemned the attacks and urged the United States to intervene and prevent further Iranian transgressions into Iraq.
The U.S. Department of the Treasury has sanctioned the IRGC as a terrorist group, though the State Department has not listed it as a Foreign Terrorist Organization.
On Thursday, another IRGC commander, Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari, boasted of the bombing in Iraq as a success and a warning to the world that Iran has “unmatched capabilities” to fire missiles at regional targets. Jafari claimed that Iran’s missions “can hit targets with pinpoint accuracy within a range of 2,000 kilometers,” or about 1,200 miles.
“The IRGC’s recent revenge against terrorists (in Iraqi Kurdistan) had a very meaningful message for the enemies, particularly for the superpowers who assume that they can impose their dirty objectives and bullying on us,” Jafari said, referring to the United States, a longtime supporter of democratic Kurdish groups. He went on to say that the 1,200-mile range mostly protected Iran from “American interests and forces” in the Middle East.
Salami’s allegations that America’s economy is too weak to support action against Iran do not reject the current dire state of the Iranian economy itself. Iran is currently experiencing the consequences of U.S. sanctions, watching the value of the rial drop to record lows and triggering protests around the country, including the iconic Grand Bazaar in Tehran. Average Iranians in major cities have begun to experience hardship in purchasing basic food items like eggs and meat, triggering outrage at the millions Iran has spent supporting terrorist organizations like Hezbollah abroad instead of investing in the national economy.
“They feel weak and we are suffocating them to the point that they have to address ballistic missiles; they have to address their support on terrorism,” American ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley explained in an interview Wednesday. “November 5, we’re going to hit their oil, we’re going to hit their foreign banks, and so they’re really going to start to feel it.”
That date will see the return of sanctions on the nation’s oil industry, a result of President Donald Trump withdrawing from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA, or Iran nuclear deal). Washington has warned countries that import significant amounts of Iranian oil, including India and China, that they, too, will see negative consequences if they continue to buy the oil. As a result, both India and China have reduced their purchases of Iranian oil, damaging the economy further.