Sep 22, 2019

Iran to Western powers: "A limited aggression will not remain limited"

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. Photo: Fatemah Bahrami/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani warned Western powers in a speech at a military parade on Sunday to cease patrolling the Persian Gulf and allow regional nations led by Tehran to secure their waterways, according to AP.

"Your presence has always been a calamity for this region and the farther you go from our region and our nations, the more security would come for our region."

Why it matters: President Rouhani's order comes 2 days after the Trump administration announced it will deploy U.S. forces to the Middle East in response to the attacks on oil processing and production sites in Saudi Arabia. The Saudis have claimed the attacks were "unquestionably sponsored by Iran," while Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has labeled them "an act of war."

What they're saying: "Those who want to link the region’s incidents to the Islamic Republic of Iran are lying like their past lies that have been revealed,” President Rouhani said in the speech. “If they are truthful and really seek security in the region, they must not send weapons, fighter jets, bombs and dangerous arms to the region.”

  • The leader of Iran's powerful Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, Major General Hossein Salami, added: "Be careful, a limited aggression will not remain limited. We will pursue any aggressor. We are after punishment and we will continue until the full destruction of any aggressor."
  • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) condemned the decision to send troops and bolster arms sales to Saudi Arabia as "the latest outrageous attempt by the Trump Administration to circumvent the bipartisan, bicameral will of Congress," adding: "Americans are weary of war, and have no interest in entering another Middle East conflict, particularly on behalf of Saudi Arabia."

Of note: President Rouhani also promised to unveil a regional peace proposals in meetings at the UN General Assembly this week. After some delays, the Iranian delegation was granted visas by the U.S. last week to attend the meetings in New York.

Go deeper: U.S. to send troops to Saudi Arabia

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Pompeo this week at the UN. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo declared today that he had been right to label attacks on Saudi oil facilities an “act of war” by Iran, but said Iran would fail to “goad us into conflict.”

The big picture: The U.K., France and Germany accused Iran yesterday of responsibility for the Sept. 14 attacks. Iran has denied responsibility for the attacks in Saudi Arabia, accused the U.S. of “deception" and warned of "all-out war" if attacked.

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Rouhani addressing the 2019 UN General Assembly. Photo: Valery Sharifulin/TASS via Getty Images

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The big picture: Since May 2019, the world has seen Iran violate nuclear commitments and attack oil installations and commercial shipping critical to the international economy. France, Germany, and the U.K. have joined Washington in pointing a finger at Iran after the recent strikes on Saudi oil facilities, a sign that the trans-Atlantic community may be uniting against Tehran.

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Iran tests U.S. military messaging at UNGA

Iran Foreign Minister Javad Zarif in Istanbul in 2017. Photo: Ozan Kose/AFP/Getty Images

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The big picture: As leaders gather this week at the United Nations General Assembly, Iran and the U.S. are trying to figure out how to out-maneuver one another in a protracted dispute over the Iran nuclear deal, regional aggression, sanctions and oil sales.

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