Iran Officials Bombard US Counterparts With Angry Words On Last Day Of 2020
Iranian officials waged a fierce unilateral war of words against their US counterparts on the last day of 2020 as the situation on the ground also indicated that tensions in the Persian Gulf have been escalating.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif charged in a tweet that "instead of fighting COVID-19 in the US, Donald Trump and cohorts waste billions to fly B52s and send armadas to our region." He added: "Intelligence from Iraq indicates a plot to fabricate a pretext for a war."
Zarif warned at the end that "Iran does not seek war but will openly and directly defend its people, security and vital interests."
The provocative comments were made shortly before the anniversary of the killing of former Qods (Quds) Force Commander Qasem Soleimani in Baghdad on 3 January. Iranian officials and commanders have been promising revenge in their hostile statements all along the week.
"There is always an armada based in the Gulf...and a submarine with a few escorts is not an armada. Flying B-52s is also not a major cost, the whole point of having B-52s is that they can fly long-distance missions. Find a new talking point," responded Middle East security analyst and the executive director of the Mideast Center for Reporting (MECRA) Seth Frantzman underneath Zarif's post.
Earlier on the same day, Iran's President Hassan Rouhani had said in an angry statement in Tehran: "Trump will be disgraced for his crimes... He will not only be ousted from power, but also from life in the next few weeks". He added that the "lifetime of this mad wild man's government will come to an end in a few days' time. We are glad that this man's administration will be thrown into the dustbin of history."
Meanwhile, Rouhani also added that Iran and Mideast nations will avenge Soleimani's assassination.
Iranian officials and Rouhani have said many hateful words about Trump, but this was by far the worst since Trump took office four years ago.
Meanwhile, as world media have been speculating about Iran's possible measures through its proxies in Iraq to turn the anniversary of Soleimani's death into a spectacular show of revenge, the IRGC-linked news agency Fars quoted Nasr Al-Shimri, the spokesperson for the pro-Iran Al-Nujaba movement as having said that "The United States will be defeated in Iraq once again." However, he did not elaborate on when was the US first defeated in Iraq, but he was probably referring to the Iraqi parliament's call for an end to the presence of US forces in Iraq.
Still, the threat has been perceived by the media as a malignant sign given the sensitivities in the region, as he said "the day will come when the Americans will be begging for a safe exit way from Iraq."
Recently, Lebanese Hezballah leader Hassan Nasrallah said that in 2013 US forces had begged Soleimani for providing a safe exit way for them from Iraq but Nasrallah's account has not been corroborated by any independent source.
However, tensions on the ground have been escalating. Maritime security firms have reported that a “suspicious object” possibly a mine was discovered on the hull of a vessel owned by a shipping company traded in the US, in the tip of the Persian Gulf near the shores of Iraq and Iran on Thursday.
Meanwhile, reports from the United States say President Donald Trump has cut short his vacation in Florida and returned to Washington a day earlier than expected for reasons which house has not explained yet.
However, the Associated Press in its report has mentioned a possible link between Trump's early return to Washington and the situation in the Persian Gulf.