Iranian Defence Minister Amir Hatami stated that Iran is capable of confronting any serious military adversary, such as the US or Israel, even if they combine their forces.
“We will defeat the American-Zionist front. Iran has the highest level of defence-military preparedness to confront any type of threat and excessive demands”, he said.
At the same time, Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei stated on 14 May that Iran doesn’t seek war with the US and that it had instead chosen the path of “resistance”, which as he said, will force the US “into a retreat”.
The statement comes amid a growing US military presence in the region. Washington has dispatched the USS Abraham Lincoln carrier strike group to the Persian Gulf, while reports also suggested a deployment of a taskforce of B-52 strategic bombers to the Middle East. The US president warned Iran that it would be a “big mistake” on its part to attack American troops in the region.
Donald Trump also rebuffed a New York Times report claiming that the Pentagon has a plan proposing the deployment of up to 120,000 troops to the region to counter Iran in case it starts developing nuclear weapons. Trump noted that if such a plan were to be developed, it would involve “a hell of a lot more troops than that”.
Relations between Iran and Israel have also long been strained, as the former doesn’t recognise the Jewish state’s right to exist and has on more than one occasion vowed to destroy it. In turn, Israeli top officials have pledged to thwart any such attempts by Iran and specifically to prevent the country from obtaining nuclear weapons.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has stated that Israel and the US “are united in desire to stop Iranian aggression” and called on all states in the region that strive for peace to join in their efforts.
Tel Aviv has repeatedly accused Iran of attacking Israel via its proxies and of sponsoring groups and movements seeking the demise of the Jewish state. Israel has also conducted numerous strikes on Syrian territory, claiming to target Iranian troops. However, Tehran vehemently denies the presence of its armed forces in the Arab Republic, aside from military advisers.