A top Iranian naval commander threatened to destroy U.S. warships and kill American soldiers just a day after Iranian vessels approached U.S. waters for the first time in history.
"The Americans can sense by all means how their warships will be sunk with 5,000 crews and forces in combat against Iran and how they should find its hulk in the depths of the sea," Rear Admiral Ali Fadavi, the commander of the elite Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Navy, was quoted as saying Sunday in the regional press.
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Fadavi issued these threats just a day after Iranian war vessels were reported to have approached U.S. maritime borders.
"Iran's military fleet is approaching the United States' maritime borders, and this move has a message," Iranian Admiral Afshin Rezayee Haddad was quoted as saying by the semi-official Fars News Agency.
Iran dispatched the war fleet in "response to Washington's beefed up naval presence in the Persian Gulf," where American ships are stationed to help keep international shipping lanes safe, according to the report.
Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei also took aim at the United States on Sunday when he urged Air Force commanders to "know the enemy well."
"The Iranian nation should pay attention to the recent [nuclear] negotiations and the rude remarks of the Americans so that everyone gets to know the enemy well," Khamenei was quoted as saying in the state-run press.
"The Americans speak in their private meetings with our officials in one way, and they speak differently outside these meetings; this is hypocrisy and the bad and evil will of the enemy and the nation should observe all these cases precisely," he said.
Iranian military leaders continued to threaten the United States – it’s principal nuclear negotiating partner – well into Sunday, when another top Iranian Navy commander claimed that the United States does not have the courage or ability to attack Iran.
"Were the enemy able to inflict damage on us, it would do so; [you must] rest assured that they can’t," Iranian Navy Commander Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari told fellow navy personnel during a ceremony celebrating "the 35th anniversary of the victory of the Islamic Revolution."
As the United States and its international allies seek to ensure that Iran is complying with a recently inked nuclear accord aimed at rolling back portions of its contested program, Iranian military officials have become increasingly confrontational.
These officials say they are angered by Washington’s vow to keep the military option against Iran on the table.
A top IRGC commander recently stated that "the slightest military move by the U.S. will be reciprocated by Iran's harshest response," which would "recognize no boundary".
It’s unclear exactly how Tehran’s threats are impacting ongoing talks between Iran and the West, which is working to ink a final nuclear deal with Iran in the next six months.
Iran’s defense minister continued to admonish Secretary of State John Kerry and the Obama administration in remarks on Sunday, claiming that "U.S. officials cannot prevent [Iran] from continuing its nuclear fuel production."
Iranian Defense Minister Hossein Dehqan vowed to crush U.S. forces and said, "Iran will never allow the country's nuclear fuel production cycle come to a halt," according to a report in Fars.
A Pentagon spokesman did not immediately respond to a Washington Free Beacon request for comment on Iran’s war moves.
However, an anonymous defense official dismissed Iran’s approach towards U.S. waters and stated that they "are free to operate in international waters," according to Israel Hayom.