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Iran’s Chief of Staff: ‘We Won’t Give in to Pressures’ | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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A view of an underground depot where missiles are launched, in an undisclosed location, Iran, in this handout photo released by the official website of Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) on March 8, 2016. REUTERS

London – Iran’s chief of the Joint Staff of the Armed Forces Major General Mohammad Bagheri has stressed that intelligence should be boosted, reiterating the importance of enhancing the capabilities and defensive capacities of the armed forces.

His comments came in reaction to head of US Central Command (CENTCOM) General Joseph Votel’s call for military action against Iran.

Meanwhile, Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Ground Force Lieutenant Commander General Abdullah Araqi announced that a Rapid Reaction Unit has been formed to protect the border with Ahvaz, Kurdistan, and Baluchestan.

Late March, Votel described Iran as “the greatest long-term threat to stability” in the Middle East.

Votel was speaking before the House Armed Services Committee, and said that US should look at opportunities where it can disrupt Iran through military means.

“We need to look at opportunities where we can expose and hold them accountable for the things that they are doing,” Votel warned. He added that “Iran must believe there will be prohibitive consequences if it chooses to continue its malign activities designed to foment instability in the region.”

Bagheri asserted that the psychological warfare of the US and its allies, along with pressures and propaganda, will not affect the determination of the Iranian forces.

“We won’t give in to pressures, propaganda war and psychological operations of the US and its allies. We have the upper hand in countering them,” Bagheri said in his address of the New Year during a meeting with the commanders and the personnel of the Joint Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces.

“Enhancing the capabilities and defensive capacities of the armed forces are the serious and unchangeable strategies of Iran,” stressed the Iranian Major General.

He was thankful that the attempts of “terrorist grouplets to infiltrate or create chaos in our country were thwarted by the wise and timely measures of the intelligence and armed forces.”

Bagheri was an IRGC intelligence commander before he was assigned, upon commands from Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, as Chief of Staff last summer.

In reference to Iran’s rejection to stop its missile program, Bagheri insisted: “We will never compromise over the power of deterrence and the defensive authority of our country.”

Bagheri’s statement comes a day after the secretary of Iran’s Expediency Council Mohsen Rezaei warned that Iran is not Iraq or Afghanistan.

“You will regret any adventurism,” Rezaei cautioned the US.

The secretary further advised the Trump administration not to forget “Bush’s experience of waging wars.” He also accused US allies of fomenting instability in the region.

Meanwhile, Tasnim news agency quoted IRGC Ground Force Lieutenant Commander General Abdullah Araqi as saying that Khamenei had ordered about a year ago the integration of IRGC Ground Force Special Forces into the Rapid Reaction Unit of the Force.

The unit has been ordered to secure Iran’s border with Ahvaz in the southwest, Kurdistan in northwest, and Baluchestan in southeast, as well as the Sunni-majority province of Khorasan in the northeast of Iran. Those areas witnesses tensions leading to confrontations among armed factions of minorities.

The elite commandos are involved in quick deployment missions, Araqi explained, adding that the unit can be deployed in any part of the country in less than 24 hours to take part in various missions and serve in battles.