At least 21 individuals were injured in the fire which broke-out on Monday aboard the USS Bonhomme Richard. A US Navy spokesman told Reuters there was no immediate evidence of foul play.
“What has happened in America today, especially the warship incident, is the result of the actions, behavior and crimes of the US government,” Ghaani said in a rare statement carried by the semi-official Fars news agency.
Ghaani stopped short of claiming responsibility for the fire, saying: “This incident is an answer to your crimes, which has come about at the hands of your own elements… God punishes you using your own hands.”
“It is a divine promise that oppressors and criminals will suffer divine punishment,” he said, adding that “difficult times” await both the US and Israel.
The Iranian commander said the US should not “waste time” looking for culprits, adding: “This is the fire that they have lit themselves.”
Ghaani was appointed as the head of the Quds Force – the overseas arm of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) – in January.
His predecessor, Qassem Soleimani, was killed in a US airstrike at Baghdad’s international airport on January 3.
Ghaani rarely makes any media appearances or issues statements. This has been the case both before and after his appointment as the head of the Quds Force.
Following the fire at the USS Bonhomme Richard, some Iranian pro-regime accounts on social media as well as some state-run media outlets have been hinting at an Iranian involvement, which some Iran watchers view as a desperate attempt to “save face” following recent explosions and fires in Iran, some of which occurred at and around highly sensitive nuclear and military sites.