The prospect of a peaceful resolution of the current tensions between the United States and Iran looked to be receding Thursday after a senior military commander for the Middle Eastern state said Tehran was prepared for a war.
“We are on the cusp of a full-scale confrontation with the enemy,” said Major General Hossein Salami, who was appointed head of the country’s Revolutionary Guard last month.
“This moment in history, because the enemy has stepped into the field of confrontation with us with all the possible capacity, is the most decisive moment of the Islamic revolution.”
The situation in the region has been escalating in recent days as the US has sent a carrier group to the Arabian Gulf and has sent B-52 bombers to its air base in Qatar.
The Iranians have been accused of launching attacks against shipping in the Gulf, when two Saudi Arabian oil tankers and a Norwegian flagged ship were damaged over the weekend.
In a sign of a potential split in the Western coalition, a British general serving as number two in the operation in the Gulf told reporters that Iran was not agitating for trouble.
“No, there has been no increased threat from Iranian-backed forces in Iraq and Syria,” Major General Chris Ghika said at the Pentagon on Tuesday.
However he was swiftly slapped down by the Americans, as US Central Command released a statement saying “recent comments from [General Ghika ] run counter to the identified credible threats available to intelligence from US and allies regarding Iranian backed forces in the region.”