Iranian General to Tillerson: U.S. Has No Option but to Leave Region

By Ahmad Majidyar | Fellow and Director of IranObserved Project - The Middle East Institute | Aug 2, 2017
Iranian General to Tillerson: U.S. Has No Option but to Leave Region

The deputy head of the Iranian Armed Forces has threatened to respond to the latest U.S. “insults” and stressed that the United States has to leave the region. “Insults by American authorities result from their inability to counter the achievements of the resistance front,” Brigadier General Massoud Jazayeri said, referring to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s remarks about Iran’s role in destabilizing the region and its support for armed proxy groups. “The reality of the Americans’s warmongering in the region and killing and destruction in Iraq and Syria today is that the United States has faced repeated defeats. That is the reason the U.S. government is crazily angry at resistance groups, which have brought about the defeats of America and its allies,” he added. “America will receive a response to its insults,” he warned. The Iranian general emphasized that “the combatants of Islam” will continue to fight “America’s mercenaries” and that “America has no option but to leave the West Asia region.”

Comment: It is not the first time that Jazayeri issues a veiled threat against the U.S. military presence in the Middle East and calls on Washington to leave the region. “The only way to [restore] peace and tranquility to the region is the departure of the Americans and the renunciation of aggressive and terrorist operations by dependent and reactionary regimes against independent countries," Jazayeri said in May.

And last month, he warned that the Islamic Republic will take action against U.S. interests in the region in retaliation to the Trump administration’s regime change remarks. “We’ll respond to American officials’ delirious remarks in practical fields,” Brigadier General Massoud Jazayeri said. “They often repeat their wishes about Iran in a childish manner. This is at a time when Islamic Republic of Iran, according to its defined goals and policies, continues efforts to oust foreigners from the region and has no hesitation to achieve this sacred objective,” he added. Referring to the new U.S. sanctions on Iran, the Iranian military official said: “We have plans that will inflict a lot of damages to America.”

As tension between Tehran and Washington is escalating, other Iranian military and civilian officials have made similar remarks.

In April, Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif defended provocative actions by the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (I.R.G.C.) against the U.S. Navy in the Persian Gulf. "Breaking: Our Navy operates in — yes, correct — the Persian Gulf, not the Gulf of Mexico. Question is what US Navy doing 7,500 miles from home," he tweeted, after American officials said a U.S. Navy guided-missile destroyer had fired a warning flare to deter an I.R.G.C. vessel approaching it in the Persian Gulf.

And in March, Iran's Defense Minister Hossein Dehghan depicted the U.S. naval forces in the Persian Gulf as armed intruders and called on Washington to leave the region. “What are the Americans doing in the Persian Gulf? It is better they leave this region and do not create trouble for the regional countries,” he said in a reaction to latest statements by U.S. military officials about Iran’s destabilizing role in neighboring Arab countries and harassment of the naval forces of the United States and its allies in the Gulf region. “Is it acceptable that an armed, insane thief breaks into someone’s house and expects the red carpet to be rolled out for him? This is one modern example of the 21st century barbarism,” he added.

Jazayeri’s reaction today came after Tillerson’s on August 1 called on Iran to withdraw its forces from Syria and stop supporting militant groups in the war-ravaged country. The top Iranian diplomat also stressed that the Trump administration is committed to preventing Iran from “fomenting terrorism and building influence outside of their borders.” He pointed out that “it is our intent working with our allies in the region to push back on Iran’s expansionist efforts to destabilize areas, particularly Yemen, Iraq, Syria, but we also see them in the theaters of Afghanistan.”