Iran will not differentiate between US military bases in the region and the Arab countries hosting American troops if a war broke out, commander of the IRGC aerospace divison said on Saturday.
“If something happens here and a war breaks out, we will not distinguish between US bases and the host countries. Naturally, the very same Arab countries in the region will bear the brunt,” the semi-official Tasnim news agency quoted General Amir Ali Hajizadeh as saying.
The US has bases and personnel in Bahrain, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, UAE, Oman, and Iraq.
Hajizadeh’s comments coincided with the first anniversary of top Iranian general Qassem Soleimani's assassination in US drone strike in Baghdad on January 3.
Tensions between Washington and Tehran, which have been increasing since 2018 when US President Donald Trump withdrew from Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal, reached historic heights in January when the US killed Soleimani, the former commander of the Quds Force, the overseas arm of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC).
Hajizadeh also said Iran has been supporting the missile capabilities of their allies in Gaza and Lebanon.
Iran has a long history of arming and financially supporting its network of proxies – Shia militias across the Middle East – to further its influence in the region. Most notably, Tehran backs Hezbollah, a Shia militia in Lebanon which has a powerful grip on the Lebanese government.
Iran also backs the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, and militias in Iraq, Syria and Yemen.
“Instead of giving a fish or teaching to catch a fish, we taught our allies and friends how to make a hook,” Hajizadeh said, adding that Iran’s allies in the region are now in possession of advanced missile technologies.