A top Iranian general on Friday revealed the nation’s plan to attack 400 U.S. targets if the U.S. military responded to Iran’s attack on Al-Assad Air Base in January.
“The day, we attacked on Ain al-Asad, we thought the US forces would respond after 20 minutes, so we were ready to attack 400 American targets,” Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) Aerospace Force Brig. Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh told Iranian state media Mehr News.
“Our plan was to attack 400 US targets if they responded,” he added, though he did not reveal any specific targets.
Iran had launched more than a dozen ballistic missiles against U.S. troops at Al-Assad and Irbil air bases in Iraq on January 7.
At the time, Iran confirmed they were behind the attacks, which they described as revenge for the U.S. airstrike that killed IRGC Quds Force Gen. Qassem Soleimani.
Iran issued a warning after the strikes, saying, “We are warning all American allies, who gave their bases to its terrorist army, that any territory that is the starting point of aggressive acts against Iran will be targeted.”
Hajizadeh said on Friday that Iran’s January attack made the U.S. feel “somewhat threatened.”
“By assassinating Lt. Gen. Soleimani, [the US] wanted to show that they killed a symbol of Resistance, and they were sure that Iran would not respond to their attack,” he said. “But we responded to them by an attack on Ain al-Asad base in Iraq.”
Hajizadeh bragged about Iran’s “great achievements” in missile and defense, and its newfound success in launching a military satellite, which the U.S. had said Iran is using for nuclear missile technology.
“[Iran’s] satellite launch vehicle and others launched before it incorporates technologies identical to, and interchangeable with, ballistic missiles, including longer-range systems such as intercontinental ballistic missiles,” U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Saturday.
“I have to say that the obstacles have been removed from our path and from now on we will move faster,” Haijzadeh said on Friday. Although he did not elaborate on what those “obstacles” consisted of, it could be a reference to the nuclear agreement the U.S. withdrew from in 2018, which Iran has also been turning away from.
Iran also recently bragged about its expanded missile range, and threatened to “destroy” U.S. warships if the U.S. Navy threatens Iranian gunboats. The saber-rattling comes just days after President Trump issued a similar warning in authorizing the U.S. Navy to “shoot down and destroy” any Iranian gunboats threatening U.S. warships.
Trump’s directive came a week after 11 Iranian gunboats harassed six U.S. warships conducting joint operations in international waters of the Arabian Gulf.