The deputy commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (I.R.G.C.) said on February 8 that Iran will not halt its controversial missile activity despite the Trump administration’s latest warnings. Brigadier General Hossein Salami further emphasized that the Islamic Republic will continue to develop its military capabilities “at all cost” and will test-fire more advanced missiles in the future. The I.R.G.C. official also dismissed Washington’s “threats” and added that the United States will not dare to militarily attack Iran because Americans “understand that confrontation with Iran will have dangerous consequences for them in the region.” He argued that the only way to end U.S. threats is to “expand our domain of power to an extent that they realize acting against and threatening us will only earn them damaging losses.” Salami also praised Iran’s growing power and influence in the region and claimed that America’s “breathing space in the political and geopolitical arena has totally been squeezed.”

Comment: Salami’s remarks are the latest in a series of provocative statements by Iranian civilian and military leaders in defiance of international demands to curb its controversial ballistic missile program, which Washington says violates the U.N. Security Council Resolution 2231. After the Trump administration put Iran “on notice” after the country’s January 28 testing of a ballistic missile, many other senior Iranian leaders have made similarly inflammatory statements. In a blatant act of provocation yesterday, the Iranian military also test-fired a surface-to-air missile from the same launch pad used for the January 28 medium-range ballistic missile that triggered the latest tension between Washington and Tehran.