'Within our reach': Iranian commander threatens US military bases in the region
An Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) commander has said that US military bases in Afghanistan, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar, as well as US aircraft carriers in the Gulf, are within range of Iranian missiles, a sign of rising tensions between Tehran and Washington.
"They are within our reach and we can hit them if they make a move," Amirali Hajizadeh, head of the IRGC's airspace division, was quoted as saying by Tasnim news agency.
"Our land-to-sea missiles have a range of 700 km ... and the US aircraft carriers are our targets," he said.
US President Donald Trump has reimposed sanctions on various Iranian industries and institutions since his administration pulled out of a multinational agreement in May that saw Tehran drastically scale back its nuclear programme in exchange for lifting sanctions.
On Tuesday, the US Treasury Department announced new sanctions against individuals and entities it said belong to an Iranian-Russian network that has sent millions of barrels of oil to Syria as part of a bid to bolster Bashar al-Assad's government.
Washington also re-imposed sanctions on Iran's oil and banking sectors on 5 November.
The White House, which has made containing Tehran's influence a focal point in its foreign policy, says the measures aim to limit Iran's regional activity and curb its nuclear programme, as well as weaken its ability to acquire conventional weapons.
Washington's European allies are trying to salvage the nuclear agreement with Iran by setting up a trade system that evades US sanctions.
Seyed Hossein Mousavian, a former Iranian diplomat and Middle East policy specialist at Princeton University, said earlier this month that Tehran has 40 years of experience in dealing with sanctions, which will help it adapt to Trump's policies.
"Iran is the most experienced country in the world [at] handling sanctions. I don't believe any other country in this region has the experience, capacity or scale to resist against sanctions," Mousavian told MEE in early November.
Iran, which says its missile programme is purely defensive, has threatened to disrupt oil shipments through the Strait of Hormuz in the Gulf if the United States tries to strangle Iranian oil exports.