An Iranian military official has warned any nation hosting U.S. troops during a potential U.S.-Iranian conflict would be equally targeted by Iran.
In a Sunday statement, Brigadier General Abolfazl Shekarchi claimed Iran has no interest in a conflict with the U.S. but would strike against any nearby country assisting the U.S., Newsweek reported. The latest threat comes amid an Iranian push to increase production efforts to create a nuclear weapon.
“Any place and any point of any territories which host the U.S. and its allies’ interests will be threatened,” Shekarchi said of a potential war with the U.S.
“Even if a country does not directly participate in any possible war but its territories host the enemy, we consider that country as a hostile territory and will treat it as an aggressor,” he continued.
Shekarchi originally published his statements in the Iranian Fars News Agency.
The Iranian threats follow tensions in September where U.S. forces appeared ready to carry out retaliatory strikes against Iran following an attack on a pair of oil production facilities in the U.S.-allied nation Saudi Arabia. President Donald Trump initially assessed Iranian culpability in the combined drone and missile attacks on the oil facilities and said the U.S. stood “locked and loaded” to strike upon verification of the source of the attack.
For its part, Iran denied involvement in the attack and deferred to Yemen’s Houthi rebels, who took credit for the strike.
President Trump has not responded with any military strikes against Iran, but has issued new economic sanctions against the country, and has sent additional U.S. troops, Patriot Missile batteries and fighter squadrons to Saudi Arabia as deterrence against another potential Iranian strike.
Despite Trump signaling a withdrawal from Syria, the Pentagon has deployed new armored units to defend oil fields in northern Syria. The stated purpose of the recent deployment was to deny the ISIS terror group a potential revenue stream from capturing vulnerable oil fields; however Russian forces have previously been active in the area and the Russian and Iranian governments have backed Syrian President Bashar al-Assad throughout years of civil war in Syria.
U.S. officials have also found Iran has violated promises not to provide oil to the Syrian government. The Iranian concession was one term of the Iran nuclear deal, negotiated by the Obama administration. President Trump has withdrawn from his predecessor’s treaty, citing insufficient barriers to block Iran’s nuclear development.
The existing Iranian sanctions, combined with a barrier to the sanctioned Syrian market, has limited Iran’s economic prospects, but Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has remained defiant of new negotiations with the U.S.
Last week, Iran announced it had increased uranium enrichment efforts and built new centrifuges needed for advancing its nuclear weapons capabilities.