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Guards Chief Commander Says 'America Is Afraid Of War', Iran Is Not

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei (R) decorates the newly-appointed Major General Hossein Salami (L) as head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) during an official ceremony in Tehran, April 22, 2019

For the first time in days a top Iranian revolutionary Guard commander has commented about ongoing tensions in the Persian Gulf, saying that Iran does not seek war, but is not afraid of it either.

The newly appointed chief commander of the Guards, Hossein Salami, in a ceremony introducing new commanders for the Islamic Revolution Guard Corps (IRGC) departments, is quoted by Fars news agency as saying, “fear of war” is what distinguishes Iran from the United States and adding, “America is afraid of war and does not have the will for it”.

While the U.S. dispatched additional naval and air power to the Gulf region earlier in May to send a “signal” to Iran, two attacks took place that intensified tensions and raised the alarms of an impending clash. Four civilian ships were attacked in the Gulf of Oman and Yemeni Houthi drones hit Saudi oil installations.

Following these events, U.S. President Donald Trump began to talk down the possibility of a war with Iran and the media started to portray a divided U.S. administration; with “hawks” pushing the course of events towards a military clash, while the president distancing himself from an open conflict scenario.

Nevertheless, in recent days both sides have somewhat mellowed their rhetoric and emphasized that war is unlikely.

During this period, the often outspoken top leaders of the IRGC were largely silent, avoiding to repeat their usual threats against the U.S. and its regional allies.