AFP: A top general in Iran’s Revolutionary Guards on Monday warned that his forces were ready “if necessary” to carry out suicide operations in the Gulf, amid rising tensions with the United States. TEHRAN (AFP) A top general in Iran’s Revolutionary Guards on Monday warned that his forces were ready “if necessary” to carry out suicide operations in the Gulf, amid rising tensions with the United States.
The general said the Guards’ Basij militia were still inspired by the memory of 13-year-old Mohammad Hossein Fahmideh who became a national hero after blowing himself up under an Iraqi tank in the 1980-1988 war.
“If necessary we will take advantage of the element of martyrdom-seeking,” said Brigadier General Ali Fahdavi, deputy head of the Revolutionary Guards’ naval forces, according to the Fars news agency.
“This spirit is prevailing now throughout the Revolutionary Guards,” he added. The Basij militia is part of the Guards’ military apparatus.
“They have taken an example from Shahid (martyr) Fahmideh,” Fahdavi said. “The scene of the Persian Gulf and strategic Strait of Hormuz is such that even a small operation can have a big impact,” he added.
Fahmideh, who blew himself up in the then occupied southwestern Iranian city of Khorramshahr, remains the object of considerable veneration in the Islamic republic. There are statues as well as murals hailing his exploits.
Thousands of Iranians volunteered for “martyrdom-seeking operations” during the Iran-Iraq war to clear minefields, and people have continued to do so on occasion since then, although their willingness has not been put to the test.
The United States has never ruled out military action against Iran to end its defiance over its controversial nuclear programme.
Iranian military and political leaders have vowed never to initiate an attack but have also warned of a crushing response to any strike against its territory.
The Basij, which has an estimated 10 million members, last month came under the direct command of the new commander of the Revolutionary Guards, General Mohammad Ali Jaafari.
“The fruit of the close cooperation that has been started between Basij and the Revolutionary Guards will be manifested only when enemies reach a stage of stupidity that poses a practical threat against this land,” said Fahdavi.
Fahdavi also repeated warnings of disruption to oil supplies through the key shipping channel the Straits of Hormuz.
“The future of the world’s energy is in this region (Persian Gulf). Therefore, the importance of the Persian Gulf and Strait of Hormuz is not comparable with anywhere else.”
The White House has recently ramped up its rhetoric against Iran, warning the world about “nuclear holocaust” and “World War III” if Tehran gets atomic weapons.
Washington on Thursday announced a new set of unilateral sanctions against the Revolutionary Guards, accused of spreading weapons of mass destruction, and its elite Quds Force, which was designated as a supporter of terrorism.
Washington accuses Tehran of seeking nuclear weapons. Iran, however, insists that it wants only to generate electricity for a growing population.