Iran Responds to U.S. Deployments

In late 2020, Iran condemned President Donald Trump for deploying additional U.S. military warplanes and warships to the Persian Gulf during his final days in office. In November and December, the Pentagon ordered three flights of B-52 bombers, a nuclear-powered submarine and a carrier strike group led by the USS Nimitz to the region. “Instead of fighting Covid in US, @realDonaldTrump & cohorts waste billions to fly B52s & send armadas to OUR region,” Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted on December 31.

But the regime was divided – between diplomats and the military – over how to respond. The foreign ministry sought to deescalate military tensions. “Iran doesn't seek war but will OPENLY & DIRECTLY defend its people, security & vital interests,” Zarif also wrote. Iran’s mission to the United Nations urged the Security Council to constrain U.S. “military adventurism” in a letter sent on New Year’s Eve. “If unchecked, such warmongering tendencies could escalate the situation to an alarming level,” Eshagh al Habib, the deputy ambassador to the United Nations, wrote.


The Revolutionary Guards issued inflammatory threats ahead of the one-year anniversary of the U.S. assassination of Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the commander of Iran’s elite Qods Force. Gen. Esmail Ghaani, Soleimani’s successor, threatened Trump administration officials in a speech to Parliament on December 30. "I warn the U.S. president, CIA director, Secretary of Defense, Secretary of State and other American officials that they must learn the clandestine lifestyle of Salman Rushdie,” the British-Indian novelist who avoided public appearances after Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini issued a religious fatwa in 1989 calling for his death over the controversial novel The Satanic Verses. On January 1, Ghaani warned that there could be an attack on American soil to “punish” those responsible for Soleimani’s death. “It is possible that some people will be found inside your home to respond to your crime,” he said. The following are statements by Iranian officials.


Official Comments

Ghaani to Parliament on Dec. 30, 2020"I warn the U.S. president, CIA director, secretary of defense, secretary of state and other American officials involved in the assassination of martyr Soleimani that they must learn the clandestine lifestyle of Salman Rushdie because the Islamic Republic will avenge the blood of martyr Soleimani which was shed unrightfully."

Ghaani on Jan. 1, 2021 “By committing this crime, [the U.S.] created a job for all freedom-seeking people across the globe. Be sure that it is possible that some people will be found inside your home to respond to your crime."

Iran’s U.N. Mission to the Security Council on Dec. 31, 2020: “Excellency, I am writing to inform you that the military adventurism of the United States of America in the Persian Gulf and the Oman Sea has heightened, particularly in recent weeks. In addition to dispatching advanced and highly sophisticated weaponry to this region in the past several weeks, the United States has conducted a number of provocative military acts that include, but are not limited to, the flight of a number of its long-range strategic bombers in recent days over the Persian Gulf.

“Coupled with a series of systematic disinformation campaign, unfounded accusations and inflammatory statements and threats by the officials of the United States against the Islamic Republic of Iran, such confrontational measures have further deteriorated the already tense security environment of this highly volatile region. If unchecked, such warmongering tendencies could escalate the situation to an alarming level, and it is self-evident that the United States shall bear the full responsibility for all consequences.

“Warning against the aforesaid measures, I must stress that while the Islamic Republic of Iran does not seek conflict, our ability and resolute determination to protect our people, to defend our security, sovereignty, territorial integrity and vital interests as well as to respond decisively to any threat or use of force against Iran must not be underestimated.

“Since such military adventurism is in clear contradiction with the Purposes and Principles of the United Nations and has serious ramifications for regional and international peace and security, the United Nations Security Council is expected to compel the United States to abide by the principles and rules of international law and stop these unlawful measures. Likewise, the international community should demand that the United States put an end to its destabilizing measures in such a volatile region as the Persian Gulf.”

Hossein Dehghani, a former IRGC air force commander, on Dec. 31, 2020: “I saw on the news that the Americans are on alert for fear of the revenge (over Soleimani’s killing) and have flown two B-52 bombers over the Persian Gulf.

“All their military bases in the region are covered by our missiles. I advise [Trump] not to turn the New Year into mourning for Americans."

Gen. Hossein Salami, commander of the IRGC, on Jan. 1, 2021: “Today, we have no problem, concern or apprehension toward encountering any powers. We will give our final words to our enemies on the battlefield."