The downing of an American drone last month by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), a United States-designated terrorist group, “shattered” U.S. military awe, commanders of the elite Iranian armed forces unit boasted on Tuesday, claiming that the Islamic Republic’s ground forces are invincible.
“The recent targeting of an intruding drone of the enemy changed the conditions in favor of the Islamic Republic and shattered the US awe and everyone understood more than ever that we are powerful,” Brig. Gen. Mohammad Pakpour, an IRGC commander, declared Tuesday during a gathering in Iran of the chiefs of the elite military unit’s ground force, the state-run Fars News Agency reports.
“Today Iran has turned into a credible regional power, and this cannot be tolerated by the U.S.,” the IRGC ground force commander added.
Describing the act as a “message to America,” the IRGC announced that it had shot down a U.S. “spy drone” on June 20, claiming it was flying over its territory.
U.S. officials, however, said the Iranian forces shot the drone down over international waters and airspace in the Strait of Hormuz.
During the same event in Iran on Tuesday, Maj. Gen. Hossein Salami, the IRGC’s commander-in-chief, commended the power and capability of the elite military force, stressing that defeating the Islamic Republic is impossible, Fars news adds in a separate article.
“We will not be defeated in any war on the ground with God’s help and presence of the IRGC Ground Force and other armed forces which defend the revolution and the country,” Gen. Salami proclaimed on Tuesday.
He went on to say that Iran is currently at war against its rivals, which primarily include the United States and Israel.
“Today, the enemy is active in all arenas, and actually, we are at a full-scale and all-out war with [the] enemy,” he said.
Last Wednesday, Gen. Salami reportedly credited Iran’s military might with prompting President Trump’s last-minute reversal on a June 21 attack on the Islamic Republic in response to the drone incident over concerns that the assault would kill scores of civilians.
The IRGC commander claimed the U.S. fears war with Iran.
“Today, our global power is very well known and credited, and it includes an extraordinary deterrence capacity; we have managed to shatter the United States’ awe in the world public opinion” on the scene of action, Salami said, echoing Gen. Pakpour’s remarks on Tuesday, Fars news notes.
Military tensions between Iran and the United States have intensified in recent weeks, notably after Iran shot down the American drone on June 20.
U.S. President Donald Trump’s unprecedented wave of economic sanctions, including those suspended under the controversial 2015 nuclear accord between Tehran and United States-led world powers, has also fueled the strained relationship between the two countries.
Arguing that the deal was not tough enough on Iran, President Trump pulled the United States out of the pact.
Other signatories — China, Russia, the United Kingdom, France, and Germany — have vowed to remain committed to the deal. However, on Sunday, Iran increased its uranium enrichment beyond the limit allowed by the nuclear agreement, bringing the Islamic Republic closer to weapons-grade levels while urging a diplomatic solution to intensified tensions with the United States.
Iran’s move threatens the overall future of the deal. China and Russia have reportedly blamed Iran’s increased uranium enrichment on the Trump administration’s decision to abandon the agreement.
On Monday, Iran’s Foreign Ministry gave the non-U.S. signatories of the deal an ultimatum: 60 days to find ways to circumvent the punishing American sanctions on Tehran or it would continue to violate the agreement, Deutsche Welle (DW) notes.
Iran has vehemently rejected Trump administration offers to negotiate a different deal. The Trump administration believes its maximum pressure campaign will push Iran onto the negotiating table in exchange for economic relief.
The Trump administration has asserted that the sanctions are “working,” noting that they have hindered Iran’s ability to enhance its military capabilities and continue funding its proxies, including anti-U.S. Shiite militias in Iraq and the Lebanese terrorist group Hezbollah, which operates on the Western Hemisphere.
Trump’s sanctions have crippled the Iranian economy, triggering a deep recession and fueling rising inflation.
Both Iran and the United States have said they do not want war but are ready to engage if necessary.
Echoing Iran-allied Shiite militias in Iraq, Tehran has demanded that the United States pull out all its troops from the Middle East.
Iran has cautioned the United States of a “stronger” response if it violates its borders.