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Brigadier General Hossein Dehqan, a defence adviser to Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei, Iran’s religious leader, was speaking the day after Iran announced it had used drones to track several US naval vessels as they passed through the Straits of Hormuz. Mr Dehqan said: “The US has learned its lessons from Iran’s Sacred Defense.
We tell the US President not to play with the lion’s tail
Brigadier General Hossein Dehqan
“We tell the US President not to play with the lion’s tail.”
Iran was ready to respond to any “acts of folly”, he added.
Mr Dehqan is not the first senior Iranian military commander to employ inflammatory rhetoric in recent days.
Speaking on Sunday as US naval vessels including USS Nimitz headed for the region, IRGC Navy Commander Rear Admiral Sardar Alireza Tangsiri said: “Definitely, this is our home and it is US terrorists that are present in the wrong place.
“We have never started a war and will never do so.
“But should a war break out, we are definitely not afraid of it.”
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He added: “We always avoid war, but if the enemies want to threaten and encroach upon our national interests in any part of the country, we will firmly stand up to any such move.
“I’m telling the enemies not to repeat a mistake.”
Mr Dehqan’s phrase was a word-for-word repetition of that employed by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in 2018.
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During a televised speech in Tehran, Mr Rouhani said: “Mr Trump, don’t play with the lion’s tail, this would only lead to regret.
“America should know that peace with Iran is the mother of all peace, and war with Iran is the mother of all wars.”
On that occasion, an enraged Mr Trump hit back within hours in an all-capitals tweet in which he said: “To Iranian President Rouhani: never, ever threaten the United States again or you will suffer consequences the likes of which few throughout history have ever suffered before.
“We are no longer a country that will stand for your demented words of violence & death. Be cautious!”
Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz criticised Iran during his debut on Wednesday at the annual United Nations meeting of world leaders, calling for a united front to prevent the Islamic Republic from developing weapons of mass destruction.
Speaking via video link, King Salman accused Iran of exploiting 2015’s JPOCA nuclear deal with world powers “to intensify its expansionist activities, create its terrorist networks, and use terrorism,” adding that this had produced nothing but “chaos, extremism, and sectarianism”.
He added: “A comprehensive solution and a firm international position are required.”
Tensions in the region have increased since Mr Trump pulled the United States from the deal in 2018.
The United States, a strong ally of Saudi Arabia, quit the JPOCA in 2018, with President Donald Trump calling it the “worst deal ever” and claiming Tehran was guilty of repeated violations.
Washington has since imposed unilateral sanctions on Tehran and asserts that all countries also should reinstate UN sanctions to try to push the Islamic Republic to negotiate a new deal.
However, French President Emmanuel Macron told the world body on Tuesday Washington’s sanctions campaign against Iran had failed.
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