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A credible U.S. military option against Iran is off the table and something the Obama administration can “no longer even think about,” according to one of Iran’s top military leaders, who claimed in a wide-ranging interview that Iran has deployed advanced missiles and satellites capable of tracking foreign militaries.
Hossein Salami, the deputy commander of Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), scoffed at the Obama administration’s insistence that a credible military option exists against Iran and discussed the Islamic Republic’s offensive military capabilities during a wide-ranging interview on Iranian state-run television.
On the heels of another deal with Iran that extends talks with Western powers over the country’s contested nuclear program through July 2015, Salami accused the United States of bluffing about the threat of military action against Tehran.
“We have denied our enemy any military option,” Salami said in an interview on Iranian television just days after the Nov. 24 extension in talks was announced. “The enemy can no longer even think about a military option.”
“When senior U.S. officials use the term ‘military option,’ it is only for psychology purposes,” Salami said, according to a translation of his Farsi language remarks provided by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI). “It is an outdated bluff. It is a banal and decayed theory. To use the Americans’ own words, it is ‘political decay.’”
Salami went on to declare that U.S. sanctions against Iran—which have been significantly weakened under the terms of an interim deal with the West—no longer have an impact on the Iranian economy and will not push the Islamic Republic to make concessions in the nuclear negotiations.
“The Americans believe that their economic sanctions have had an effect on our people or on our economy,” the military leader said. “They believe that they can take their time, wear us down in negotiations, and continue the sanctions.”
“That way, they hope to bring our people to despair, and to lead to political defeat [in the negotiations],” he continued. “We can and must throw these beliefs into the garbage-can of history.”
In the weeks since the extension in nuclear talks was announced—along with around $50 billion in cash payments to Tehran over the next months—Iranian officials have accused the White House of lying about concessions the Islamic Republic has made.
It also has unveiled a range of advanced military hardware following a call by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei ordering the nation’s military to be on the ready.
IRGC official Salami warned that the country’s ground-to-ground missiles are “capable of reaching enemy targets thousands of kilometers away.”
Israel for instance is about 1,600 kilometers, or 1,000 miles, away from Tehran.
These ballistic missiles “are able to deal deadly blows of various magnitudes to our enemies,” Salami said.
These include missiles that can reach around 2,000 kilometers, making them capable of hitting portions of Europe and much of the Middle East.
The continued construction of ballistic missiles by Iran was not barred under the terms of the interim nuclear agreement with Iran.
Salami also issued a veiled threat to U.S. ships in the Persian Gulf region.
“Our land-to-sea missiles are capable of reaching naval targets deep in the sea,” Salami said. “Our radars are able to detect enemy satellites. Our drones are able to track enemy movements thousands of kilometers beyond our borders. Our helicopters can fly, and our cannons can fire.”
Salami also claimed that Iran has satellites in space that “can see tiny objects on the ground,” as well as “send us photographs and connect us to the entire world.”
The military leader went on to provide further confirmation that Iran is arming Palestinian terrorist in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Relatedly, Hamas officials were in Tehran this week to renew its anti-Israel military alliance with Iran.
“I am sure that the day will come—and that day is not far off—when the West Bank will become a living hell for the security of the Zionists,” he said. “We shall see the day when the children of the West Bank and Gaza will hold hands. Allah willing, that day is near.”
Meanwhile, Iranian commanders announced that the country will test new radar systems and fire at least five new “homemade” missiles next month, according to the country’s state-run press.
Iran unveiled earlier this week a laser simulator to help the country’s troops learn how to fire rocket-propelled grenades.