Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei told Iran’s Revolutionary Guards on Sunday to develop more advanced and modern weapons, the semi-official Tasnim news agency reported, amid rising regional tensions.
“The Guards should have advanced and modern weapons ... It should be developed at home. You need to develop and produce your weapons,” Khamenei said in a speech at Imam Hussein Military University in Tehran.
Tensions in the Arabian Gulf have spiked since the United States, Saudi Arabia, Britain, France, and Germany publicly blamed Iran for Sept. 14 attacks on the world’s biggest crude oil-processing facility in Saudi Arabia.
“Today the Guards have a powerful presence inside and outside Iran ... America’s hostile approach has increased the Guards’ greatness,” Khamenei said.
Iran has denied involvement in the Saudi attacks, which were claimed by the Iran-backed Houthi militia in Yemen.
An already-tense relationship between Iran and the United States has worsened over the past year since President Donald Trump withdrew from a 2015 nuclear pact between Iran and world powers, saying it did not go far enough, and reimposed sanctions on Iran as part of a “maximum pressure” policy.
In response to Washington’s “maximum pressure” policy, Iran has gradually reduced its commitments under the nuclear pact and plans further breaches if European parties fail to keep their promises to shield Iran’s economy from US penalties.