Brig. Gen. Mohammad Reza Naqdi, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Deputy Commander for Cultural and Social Affairs, said in an interview that Iran could easily defeat Saudi Arabia, threatened to overrun American military bases in the Middle East and said Israel "must be annihilated."
In an interview that was originally conducted on 28 December by the Iraqi television network Al-Nujab, but translated only Wednesday by the Middle East Media Research Institute, Naqdi said that the “Islamic revolution in Iran will not back down” from the goal of bringing defeat to Israel.
Naqdi, a former head of the Basij militia, said that there is no doubt that Israel must be “annihilated and destroyed” while adding that neither Russia nor any other country could intermediate.
“We were, we are, and we will continue to be the soldiers of Imam Khamenei until our last breath and until the last drop of our blood. I myself will hoist the flag of the Islamic Revolution in Jerusalem, Allah willing,” the general said.
He also dismissed the possibility of a US attack in Iran: “America will not launch a war against Iran,” he told the interviewer. “If it does — a possibility that I rule out — we will destroy all its military bases in the region. We currently stand before the gates and barbed wire [surrounding those bases], and if they make a wrong move, we will cross those barbed wire fences.”
General called Saudi Arabia’s military capabilities “very laughable.” “We have a Farsi proverb that goes, ‘You cannot compare an ant to an elephant.’ Saudi Arabia is incapable of controlling even its domestic front. It uses fighter planes to bomb small neighborhoods in Saudi Arabia. I believe that Saudi Arabia is much weaker than you might think.
If we gave the order to a division in any of our 30 provinces, it would be able to defeat and destroy Saudi Arabia. It’s true that Saudi Arabia has many advanced weapons, but it cannot face an army like Iran’s.”
Earlier on Wednesday, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said American sanctions are putting pressure on Iran and its people, yet in comments posted on his website he added that “Iran will overcome sanctions, slap the US in the face again.”
The remarks came as US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visited Iraq, stating that the US would double down on commercial and diplomatic efforts in the coming weeks to “put real pressure on Iran,” according to the Times of Israel.
The United States withdrew from the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), known as the Iran nuclear deal, in May 2018. After the move, Washington opted to re-impose a series of sanctions against Tehran that had been lifted under the agreement.
The first package of US trade restrictions came into force in August. Later, in early November, Washington expanded its sanctions, targeting core sectors of Iran’s economy.
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