A senior officer in Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) has claimed that it has the ability to sink any US warships which stray too close to its coastline. The general's comment sets a hostile tone at the beginning of US President Joe Biden's administration.
"If the US presence in the international waters near Iran is considered to be a threat to the country, thanks to our deterrent power and surface-to-surface, surface-to-air, surface-to-coast, coast-to-coast, coast-to-sea and sea-to-sea missiles, we have the ability to destroy American ships, " General Rahim Noei-Aghdam told the state-backed Mehr News Agency yesterday.
"In contrast to the American forces in West Asia, which are unable to act, the intelligence, mobility, fighting, power, strength, cohesion, unity and morale of the forces of the Resistance Front, especially the armed forces of the Islamic Republic of Iran, are well known."
Although such threats and rhetoric are regularly voiced by Iranian political and military leaders, the warning given by Noei-Aghdam comes less than a week after Biden's inauguration, at a time when many are still speculating about what his administration's policies are going to be towards Iran.
Throughout his election campaign, Biden expressed plans to return to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) signed in 2015 by Iran and the US, Britain, France, Germany, China and Russia. That deal, in which Iran agreed to limit its nuclear capabilities, was abandoned by the US in 2018 when President Donald Trump withdrew from it unilaterally.
According to recent reports, Biden is set to meet with the head of Israel's intelligence agency Mossad next month in order to draw up conditions for America's return to the JCPOA. While Iran itself has expressed its willingness to revive the agreement, despite continuing to advance its nuclear capabilities, it has stated that there will be no changes to the previous terms, and that the US does not have an infinite amount of time to decide what it is going to do.