With the May 23 negotiations in Iraq failing to persuade Iran to give up its illicit nuclear program, Iranian leaders have returned to threats of war — including the provocative statement that their missiles can reach every U.S. military base in the Middle East, and a call to halt all nuclear negotiations with the West.
On Saturday, Iranian Brig. Gen. Hossein Salami threatened that all “enemy” bases in the region are vulnerable to Iranian attack.
“Wherever you imagine these bases are, they are within the reach of Iranian missiles,” he said, according to Fars News Agency, the media outlet run by the powerful Revolutionary Guard Corps.
The news report said half of Iran’s missile capability is still unknown to the West.
Also on Saturday, the editor-in-chief of Iran’s conservative Keyhan newspaper — which generally reflects the Iranian regime’s point of view — penned an editorial calling for a full halt to negotiations on the Iranian nuclear program.
“After two days of negotiations in Baghdad,” Hossein Shariatmadari wrote, “it seems that the negotiations only serve the West and its political need with their current economic problems. The Baghdad negotiations showed that the West has not changed its attitude and still demands its illegal requests regarding Iran’s nuclear program.”
Shariatmadari has said in the past that Iran should acknowledge to Western nations that it has nuclear weapons capabilities. On Saturday he suggested the 5+1 nations only want to continue negotiations in order to keep oil prices steady and avoid a shock to an already-teetering global economy.
“It can be assumed that the upcoming negotiations to be held in Moscow will also not result in much and our presence will only secure the need of the enemy,” he said. “Therefore, it’s best that Iran does not participate in any future negotiation, be it in Moscow or elsewhere.”
As the Iranian delegation negotiated with the representatives of the 5+1 in Baghdad last week, Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei told Revolutionary Guard officers graduating from Imam Hussein University that Western nations’ days as global superpowers are numbered.
“The oppressive powers, despite their show of force, are on the track of destruction. … Soon the future will smile on the Iranian nation,” he predicted, according to Keyhan.
This latest instance of saber-rattling during a university graduation was a sequel to equally provocative comments from Iranian Rear Admiral Ali Fadavi in April, during a speech at the University of Yazd.
“The power of our naval forces is such that we have a presence in all the waters of the world and, if needed, we can move to within three miles of New York,” Fadavi boasted.
The Revolutionary Guards have successfully launched ballistic missiles from naval ships, and have stated that they have vessels equipped with long-range ballistic missiles.
The Guards have already mapped out the U.S. bases in the region as part of a wartime contingency plan to disrupt the movement of air and ground forces.
Iran’s ballistic missiles can reach targets more than 1,250 miles away, potentially putting U.S. bases in Afghanistan, Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar and parts of other countries within Tehran’s firing range.