Iran’s top defense official predicted Wednesday that the Islamic Republic would vanquish the US and its ally Israel if his country is attacked.
“We will defeat the American-Zionist front,” Minister of Defense Amir Hatami said, according to the Islamic Republic News Agency, which also ripped the US for escalating the conflict between the two countries.
“The US, through intensified military rivalries, increased military presence and intervention, severe economic sanctions, and the formation of military-political alliances and military threats, like last decades, seeks instability in the Persian Gulf and the Middle East, not peace and security,” the state-controlled agency said.
The defense minister’s warning came as tensions continued to escalate over a possible military confrontation between the US and Iran’s mullahs.
It also came after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visited Russia to discuss the Iranian situation, a meeting the Kremlin said failed to allay its concerns over the potential crisis.
President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Wednesday that Moscow was concerned over mounting tensions and defended Iran’s threat to pull out of the 2015 nuke deal as a legit response to President Trump’s decision to pull out of the deal.
Meanwhile, the USS Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier and its support ships arrived Wednesday at the Gulf of Oman, ahead of a planned passage through the Strait of Hormuz, the Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported.
The administration is also preparing plans to deploy more than 100,000 troops to the Middle East, according to multiple reports, though Trump denied that on Tuesday.
Underscoring what the US called increased risk to American personnel, the Embassy in Baghdad on Wednesday ordered all non-essential, non-emergency government staff to leave Iraq immediately.
America’s European allies have questioned Team Trump’s contention that Iran posed an increased threat, but the US insisted the threat was legitimate.