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Domestic Threats More Serious Than Those From Abroad, Says IRGC Commander

IRAN -- The head of Iran's paramilitary Revolutionary Guard Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari speaks at a conference called "A World Without Terror," in Tehran, October 31, 2017

The head of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), Commander-in-Chief Mohammad Ali Jafari, says, "Weaknesses and threats originating from inside Iran are more serious than threats from abroad."

Speaking on July 27, Jafari called U.S. threats against Iran "absurd and hollow," warning that such talk would be "costly for America” and would "disrupt America's soft war game," the IRGC-linked Fars news agency quoted him as saying.

Jafari did not explain the nature of the domestic threats, but he accused Iranian officials, without naming anyone, of being disillusioned and overwhelmed by the media hype about the current situation.

Jafari made the comments a day after IRGC's Quds Force Commander Qasem Soleimani said in response to U.S. President Donald Trump's threats against Iran, "The Red Sea is no longer safe for Americans," and directly addressed Trump, adding, "I would stand against you single-handedly."

Trump had warned Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on July 23, "Never, never threaten the United States again or you will suffer consequences the likes of which few throughout history have ever suffered before."

He made the remarks to answer threats by Rouhani who had called "a war with Iran, the mother of all wars," and warned Trump "not to play with the Lion's tail."

Previously, and before Rouhani's shift to belligerent rhetoric, hard-liners close to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei accused Rouhani of attempting to normalize Iran's ties with the United States, using the opportunities created by the nuclear deal with the West.

Last year, Khamenei's representative to the IRGC, Ali Saeedi, accused Rouhani and his aides of "pursuing the idea of symbiotic co-existence with the West."

Regardless of the escalation of war of words between Iranian and U.S. officials in recent days, some Iranian officials have ruled out the possibility of a military confrontation between Iran and the United States, and one member of the Iranian Parliament has characterized the exchange of threats as "dialogue between the two sides."

Heshmatollah Falahatpisheh, the chairman of the committee for national security and foreign policy, told the press in Tehran, "The two sides are not interested in going to war against each other in spite of the escalation of a war of words between them."

"The two sides talk to each other through delivering speeches, as diplomatic routes are closed, and there are no diplomatic considerations whatsoever in this kind of dialogue," Falahatpisheh told the Iranian State TV's Arabic channel, Al-Alam.

Explaining or possibly downplaying Rouhani's comments about fighting back at "many straits" in case the United States attempts to stop Iran's oil exports, Falahtpisheh once again stressed that neither Iran nor the United States has any strategy regarding attacking the other.

"What Rouhani said meant that sanctions against Iran will also affect the region," Falahatpisheh explained.