A former commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards and a hardliner politician has warned that if the United States “takes the smallest action, the whole region will be engulfed in fire”.
Mohsen Rezaee, who is the secretary of the Islamic Republic’s Discernment Council, speaking on state television June 8 said that in reaction to a U.S. military move, “nothing will remain” for U.S. allies in the region, including Israel.
Rezaee downplayed the deployment of USS Abraham Lincoln to the region, saying it is nothing more than a gesture and in practice “they had no intention of a real conflict and currently they have distanced” their forces to prevent an unintended clash.
In May the U.S. sent the aircraft carrier task force to the region in reaction to what it said were imminent signs of Iranian attacks on its forces. However, the task force has stayed outside the Arabian Gulf.
The U.S. Central Command chief General Frank McKenzie in turn said June 7 that after the reinforcement of American forces in the region Iran has chosen to "step back and recalculate" after preparing for an apparent attack against U.S. forces, but it is too early to conclude the threat is gone.
Other U.S. officials have also talked about Iran backing off but have warned that in case of any action there would be a strong reaction.
Rezaee’s remarks s are just one instance of a string of statements by Iranian officials trying to show strength at a time when the country is under tremendous economic pressure and they feel the need to show strength to their domestic audience.