Defense Buildup Will Counter Escalating US Pressure 

 Mohammad Ali Jafari Mohammad Ali Jafari

A senior military commander said Iran will develop its defense power in the face of escalating US sanctions against Tehran, which he said are aimed at harming the Iranian economy under various pretexts.

Islamic Revolution Guards Corps Commander Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari made the statement on Tuesday, while addressing an anti-terror conference in Tehran, Fars News Agency reported.

The top general said the new US measure targeting IRGC with sanctions usually imposed on terror groups, which is scheduled to come into effect in January, has been designed to disrupt Iran's economy.

"They seek to carry out this plan against IRGC under the pretext of Iran's defense and missile power, while it is against the Iranian economy," he said.

Jafari was referring to a wide-ranging sanctions measure titled "Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act", which targets Iran as well as Russia and North Korea.

The anti-Iran section of CAATSA, which was signed into law by US President Donald Trump early August, has a broad scope that has been described as unprecedented by observers.

"Americans should have no doubt that the more they heighten economic pressure, the stronger our nation's resolve will become to increase our defense might, the number of missiles and their accuracy," he said.

Iranian ballistic missiles are mostly used for mid-range targets and at most fly about 2,000 kilometers.

  Timely, Surprising Reaction

Jafari said the "courageous Iranian nation" will respond to US threats in a decisive, surprising and timely manner. Trump announced in an Oct. 13 speech on Iran policy that he had authorized US Treasury Department to impose sanctions against the IRGC for what the US calls Iran's support for terrorism.

Subsequently, US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin was on a tour of the Middle East last week as part of efforts to ratchet up pressure on Iran.

In high-level meetings in Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Qatar and Israel, Mnuchin discussed US plans for penalizing banks, firms and individuals that have ties to sanctioned Iranian entities, especially the IRGC, Wall Street Journal reported on Monday.

Also in his Oct. 13 address, Trump vowed to end US participation in the 2015 nuclear deal unless congress and US allies work out new measures against Tehran's missile program development and its support for regional resistance groups.

Following his speech, lawmakers in the US Senate responded with a draft legislation set to impose tough terms on the nuclear deal.

The bill says the sanctions lifted under the 2015 Iran nuclear deal would "snap back" if Iran tested ballistic missile enjoying the capability of delivering a warhead, among other conditions. Last week, the House of Representatives adopted a bill to impose new sanctions against Iran's ballistic missile program, which is pending a decision in the Senate and Trump's endorsement before going into force.


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