Iran issues ‘battlefield’ warning as US deploys troops in Gulf
TEHRAN, Sept 21: Any country that attacks Iran will become the "main battlefield", the Revolutionary Guards warned Saturday after Washington ordered reinforcements to the Gulf following attacks on Saudi oil installations it blames on Tehran.
Tensions escalated between arch-foes Iran and the United States after last weekend's attacks on Saudi energy giant Aramco's Abqaiq processing plant and Khurais oilfield halved the kingdom's oil output.
Yemen's Huthi rebels have claimed responsibility for the strikes but the US says it has concluded the attacks involved cruise missiles from Iran and amounted to "an act of war".
Washington approved the deployment of troops to Saudi Arabia at "the kingdom's request", Defence Secretary Mark Esper said, noting the forces would be "defensive in nature" and focused on air and missile defence.
But Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps commander Major General Hossein Salami said Iran was "ready for any type of scenario".
"Whoever wants their land to become the main battlefield, go ahead," he told a news conference in Tehran. "We will never allow any war to encroach upon Iran's territory.
"We hope that they don't make a strategic mistake", he said, listing past US military "adventures" against Iran.
In Riyadh, the Saudi minister of state for foreign affairs, Adel al-Jubeir, warned of "appropriate measures" once the source of the strikes on its oil facilities was confirmed.
"We have asked the United Nations to do an investigation and there are also other countries involved in the probe," he told a press conference. -AFP