The commander of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps has ordered his forces to "destroy" any American ships that threaten the security of Iran's interests in the Persian Gulf.
Major-General Hossein Salami, the IRGC commander in chief, responded to President Donald Trump's orders to "destroy any and all Iranian gunboats if they harass our ships at sea."
"I have ordered our naval forces to destroy any American naval force in the Persian Gulf that threatens the security of Iran's military or non-military ships," the Revolutionary Guards commander said on Thursday.
"I am telling the Americans that we are absolutely determined and serious in defending our national security, our water borders, our shipping safety, and our security forces, and we will respond decisively to any sabotage," Salami said. "Americans have experienced our power in the past and must learn from it."
On Thursday, Iran's Foreign Ministry summoned the Swiss ambassador, who represents U.S. interests in the country, over the recent tensions between Washington, D.C., and Tehran, according to Reuters.
On Wednesday, President Trump tweeted, "I have instructed the United States Navy to shoot down and destroy any and all Iranian gunboats if they harass our ships at sea."
I have instructed the United States Navy to shoot down and destroy any and all Iranian gunboats if they harass our ships at sea.— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump)1587557285.0
Deputy Secretary of Defense David Norquist said, "The president issued an important warning to the Iranians, what he was emphasizing is all of our ships retain the right of self-defense."
The tensions between the two countries escalated last week when there was a confrontation between six U.S. Navy and Coast Guard ships and 11 IRGC Navy speed boats in the North Arabian Sea. The U.S. alleges that the armed IRGC speedboats conducted "dangerous and provocative" maneuvers within 10 yards of American vessels.
Iran denied any wrongdoing in the naval encounter and called Washington's accusations a "Hollywood tale." The IRGC also warned that any error in calculation by the U.S. "will receive a decisive response."
On Wednesday, the IRGC successfully launched Iran's first military satellite into orbit. Washington reacted to the launch by suggesting it violated a United Nations resolution.
U.N. resolution 2231, which was unanimously passed by the U.N. Security Council in 2015, "called upon" Iran to abstain from the development of ballistic missiles that could deliver nuclear weapons for up to eight years.
"Every nation has an obligation to go to the United Nations and evaluate whether this missile launch was consistent with that Security Council resolution," Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told reporters on Wednesday, referring to resolution 2231. "I don't think it remotely is, and I think Iran needs to be held accountable for what they have done."
The IRGC is designated as a terrorist organization by the governments of Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, and the United States.
Pompeo: 'Iran needs to be held accountable' www.youtube.com