IRGC downplays risk of military conflict as Iran-US tensions flare

The commanders of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps claim to see no potential for war with the United States.

al-monitor Ground forces of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps are seen on boats as they launch war games in the Gulf, Dec. 22, 2018.  Photo by Hamed Malekpour/Tasnim News Agency via REUTERS.

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donald trump, ali khamenei, us-iranian conflict, us-iran escalation, iran sanctions, irgc

Jun 27, 2019

The deputy commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps downplayed the risk of military conflict with the United States. Speaking at a June 27 IRGC ceremony introducing new commanders, Ali Fadavi said, “Despite the passing of 30 years since the end of the war [with Iraq] … no one has dared fire at us during this time.” He added, “The military strength of the Islamic Republic of Iran has resulted in America and its allies not daring to fire one bullet at us.” 

Rather than a direct military conflict, however, Fadavi stressed that economic threats to Iran continue. “We still use a system that the Americans placed more than 40 years ago,” Fadavi said, stressing that Iran's economy is a vulnerable area in which the United States can gain influence. 

The IRGC’s aerospace force commander, Amirali Hajizadeh, also dismissed the possibility of direct military conflict with the United States. “Neither America nor any other country would have the audacity to invade Iran,” Hajizadeh said June 26. He added, “There is no will in the enemy [for a war] and this has been proven to everyone.” Hajizadeh held, however, that the United States remains a threat, particularly in the economic field, saying, “The prime problem in the country today is the economic war and under these conditions, all of the people and officials must mobilize to solve the problems.”

Tensions between the United States and Iran have escalated since Washington exited the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action in May 2018, the nuclear deal between Iran and the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council plus Germany. Iran recently shot down an American drone in the Persian Gulf that Iran says was in its territory, a claim the United States denies. Washington blames Iran for attacks on tankers in the Persian Gulf, a claim Iran denies. Discussing the potential for war, US President Donald Trump recently said, “It wouldn’t last very long, I can tell you that. I’m not talking boots on the ground … or sending a million soldiers.” 

The United States has continued to sanction Iran, recently announcing new sanctions on the office of the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. In his latest speech, Khamenei said, “Lately foreign reporters have been quoting analysts saying that the Iranian nation cannot be brought to its knees through pressure, threats and sanctions.” He added, “This reality is not the result of events in the last few months. Rather it is the result of 40 years of perseverance, dignity, greatness and strength of the Iranian nation.”

In response to Trump’s comments that Iran can make progress once the sanctions are lifted, Khamenei said, “When the enemy cannot reach its goal through pressure, they recommend negotiations and say the nation can progress. This nation will certainly progress, but without you and on the condition that you are not near.”

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