US in 'Weakest' Regional Presence in History, Says IRGC Commander

A senior commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) says the United States' presence in the Middle East is at its "weakest in history" of Washington's military presence in this region, amid spiraling tensions between the two countries.

"The Americans have been present in the region since 1833 and they are currently at the weakest state throughout the history of their presence in West Asia, and have the minimum number of warships in the Arab Gulf," Rear Admiral Ali Fadavi, the second-in-command of the IRGC, said in an interview with Fars news agency on Sunday.

He added that the Americans have even stopped the USS Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier, which had been scheduled to move towards the region, in the Indian Ocean, and have avoided bringing it to the Arab Gulf due to "the fear they feel" of Iran's power in the region.

 

The United States remarkably stoked tensions with Iran in May 2018 when US President Donald Trump pulled his country out of the nuclear accord, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), and re-imposed harsh sanctions against the Islamic Republic in defiance of global criticisms.

The tensions saw a sharp rise on the first anniversary of Washington’s exit from the deal as the US moved to ratchet up the pressure on Iran by tightening its oil sanctions and building up its military presence in the region.

Washington has since then ratcheted up the pressure on Iran, sending military reinforcements, including the USS Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier strike group, a squadron of B-52 bombers, and a battery of patriot missiles, to the Middle East.

On Friday, the Pentagon announced that 1,500 additional troops would be sent to the Middle East in what officials described as a “force protection” measure against alleged Iranian threats. Trump also claimed the deployment is "mostly protective."

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Saturday dismissed the US claims against Iran as "fabricated allegations to justify beefed up US military presence in the region, " saying Washington’s decision to deploy additional troops to the Middle East is "extremely dangerous" and threatens international peace and security.

Tehran has repeatedly announced that it would not be the initiator of any war, but reserves the right to self defense and will give a crushing response to any act of aggression.

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