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Iran: Revolutionary Guards naval chief denies preparing for US strike on Syria - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Iran's national flags are seen on a square in Tehran in this file photo taken on February 10, 2012, a day before the anniversary of the Islamic Revolution. (REUTERS/Morteza Nikoubazl/Files)

Iran’s national flags are seen on a square in Tehran in this file photo taken on February 10, 2012, a day before the anniversary of the Islamic Revolution. (REUTERS/Morteza Nikoubazl/Files)

London, Asharq Al-Awsat—The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Navy has not altered its military operations in the Gulf in response to American threats to strike Syria, the organization’s chief of naval forces has said.

“The current situation in the Persian Gulf is normal and we would not form [a new] military posture in such a situation,” Rear Admiral Ali Fadavi said on Saturday in Iran’s southern Bushehr province.

He made the remarks in an interview with the Mehr news agency, following reports suggesting that the IRGC Navy had changed the disposition of its forces in the Gulf after recent developments in the region, specifically the growing prospects of a US attack on Syria following the alleged use of chemical weapons by the Syrian government.

The commander added that Iran’s existing naval forces were sufficient to deter potential threats.

The comments come as the United States agreed on Saturday to postpone military action against Syria. US secretary of state John Kerry and Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov reached an agreement on a plan to verify that Syria is eliminating its chemical weapons, and announced that Damascus must turn over a full account of its chemical arsenal within a week.

As a close ally of the Syrian government, Iranian officials have announced on different occasions that a strike on Syria would lead to retaliation against Israel and risked igniting a larger war in the region.

“In case of a US military strike against Syria, the flames of outrage of the region’s revolutionaries will point toward the Zionist regime,” Iran’s Fars news agency quoted Mansur Haqiqatpur, a member of Parliament, as saying in August.

Iran and the militant Shi’ite Lebanese organization Hezbollah are deeply engaged in helping the Syrian government headed by Bashar Al-Assad. Iranian military advisers have been seen in Syria, and Iran provides military support and training to Hezbollah fighters, who have joined the Syrian military in recent months to help recapture rebel-held areas.

Hossein Sheikholeslam, a member of Iran’s Islamic Consultative Assembly, said in August that “no military attack will be waged against Syria.”

“Yet, if such an incident takes place, which is impossible, the Zionist regime will be the first victim of a military attack on Syria,” he said.

Iranian president Hassan Rouhani, also speaking to the Cabinet in August, said people in the Middle East and the world could not afford “a new war,” and condemned recent threats to use force.

“Any adventurism in the region will pose irreversible dangers to the stability of the region and the world and will only lead to the spread of extremism and terrorism in the region,” Rouhani said.

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat is the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper, printed simultaneously each day on four continents in 14 cities. Launched in London in 1978, Asharq Al-Awsat has established itself as the decisive publication on pan-Arab and international affairs, offering its readers in-depth analysis and exclusive editorials, as well as the most comprehensive coverage of the entire Arab world.

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