GENEVA (Reuters) – Iran’s “absolute power” in its region has sapped the capacity of arch-enemy the United States to wage war against it, the commander of its elite Revolutionary Guards said on Tuesday, according to semi-official Mehr news agency.
He was speaking a day after U.S. President Donald Trump said he was not seeking regime change in Iran following moves to beef up U.S. forces in the Middle East, and that a new deal on Iran’s nuclear programme was possible.
“We have been able to…empty the enemy’s capacity for war. You see the decline and crash of the enemies’ speech,” Major General Hossein Salami said, apparently alluding to Trump’s remarks during a visit to Japan.
“Today, Iran is an absolute power of the region and because of this it is not afraid of the enemy’s threats. Today, America has been defeated in its political philosophy.”
Trump appeared to soften his tone towards Iran, saying he believed it wanted to make a deal, crediting heavy U.S. economic sanctions against the Islamic Republic.
“We aren’t looking for regime change – I just want to make that clear. We are looking for no nuclear weapons.”
Tensions have risen between Iran and the United States after an attack earlier this month on oil tankers in the Gulf. Washington, a close ally of Iran’s regional rival Saudi Arabia, blamed the attacks on Tehran, which denied the accusations.
(Reporting by Babak Dehghanpisheh; Editing by Mark Heinrich)