IRGC: Iran will destroy any aggressor, even if limited attack

UNITED STATES, WASHINGTON (OBSERVATORY) — Iran’s Revolutionary Guards commander Major-General Hossein Salami said on Saturday his country would pursue any aggressor, even if it launched a limited attack, and would seek to eliminate it.

Salami’s comments came after attacks on two Saudi oil facilities that Washington and Riyadh blamed on Tehran.

“Beware, limited aggression will not remain limited. We will track down any aggressor.”

“We will endeavor to punish and we will continue until we are fully prepared for any aggressor,” he said on state television.

US President Donald Trump agreed on Friday to send US troops to bolster Saudi Arabia’s air and missile defenses after the September 14 attacks.

Iran denies any role in the attacks, claimed by the Tehran-backed Yemeni Houthi group, which is fighting a Saudi-led coalition in the Yemen war.

The IRNA news agency quoted Amir Ali Haji Zadeh, head of the Revolutionary Guards’ air force, as saying that any attacks on Iran would be met with an “overwhelming response”.

Haji Zadeh made the remarks at a public exhibition called Eagle Hunting, during which parts of drones shot down in Iran and the air defense system that shot down a US military plane in June were shown.

The exhibition is part of annual events commemorating the outbreak of the 1980-1988 war with Iraq. It also includes air and sea shows in the Gulf and military parades on Sunday.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, meanwhile, denounced new US sanctions targeting Iran’s central bank imposed by Washington following the attacks on Saudi Arabia. Zarif described the sanctions as an attempt to deny ordinary citizens in his country access to food and medicine, and said the move was a sign of desperation for the United States.

Washington imposed the new sanctions on Friday, targeting the Central Bank of Iran, which was already under US sanctions, the Iran Fund for National Development and an Iranian company that US officials say was used to conceal remittances for Iranian military purchases.

“This is an indication of the desperation of the United States,” Zarif told reporters on state television. “When they repeatedly target the same institution with sanctions, it means that their attempt to bring the Iranian nation under pressure has failed.

“But this is dangerous and unacceptable and is an attempt to prevent … the Iranian people from getting food and medicine,” said Zarif, speaking after arriving in New York for the annual meetings of the UN General Assembly this week.

“False and repeated accusations from specific Saudi officials” about the attack on Saudi oil facilities, state media quoted Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi as saying.

Earlier on Saturday, Saudi Arabia’s state minister for foreign affairs, Adel al-Jubeir, said his country would wait for the investigation to be completed before responding to the attack, which it believes Iran is responsible for.

– Penalties –

Zarif said on Wednesday he would meet foreign ministers from the remaining countries in Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal with Britain, France, Germany, China and Russia as well as the United States.

“As we said earlier, the United States can come but only if it returns to (the nuclear deal) … and stops its economic war against Iran,” Zarif said.

The United States withdrew from the nuclear deal last year and reimposed unilateral sanctions on Iran.

After reports on social media sites that a number of Iranian servers and websites, some of which belong to petrochemical companies, were attacked by a cyberattack, a government agency responsible for cybersecurity denied a “successful” attack.

“Based on our observation … there was no successful cyberattack on oil facilities and other vital infrastructure,” it said in an official statement carried by the official IRNA news agency.

NetBlocks, an Internet watchdog group, said earlier on Saturday that there had been a “sporadic outage” of some Internet services in Iran since Friday evening.

But the organization said the impact was limited and the cause was unclear.

“The data are consistent with an cyberattack or unplanned technical incident on damaged networks, not an intentional break or shutdown,” she said in a tweet on Twitter.

Netbook director Alp Tucker said the organization had detected the disconnection of four Iranian networks over the past three hours last night.

He added that it started with the appearance of reports and stopped after a short time. Networks have been stable ever since.

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