Iran’s armed forces are prepared to take up an “offensive approach” in defense of national interests, Iran’s Chief of Staff for the Armed Forces told state media January 27.
Amid a war of words between Tehran and Washington, Israeli attacks on the Islamic Republic's military positions in Syria, and missile tests by Iran, Major General Mohammad Hossein Baqeri said, "Iran may adopt an offensive approach in protecting its interests, so that others, by observing the outcome and evidence, would banish the thought of violating the interests of the Islamic Republic."
The general’s comments were somewhat balanced, as he stressed that Iran’s main military posture remains defensive but it is ready to use an offensive approach if needed.
Baqeri went further, insisting, "If someone sought to violate our country, if signs and evidence [of such aggression] were detected, the Islamic Republic would not stand idly by.”
The general continued, “That is why our military drills this year in the Strait of Hormuz, the Persian Gulf, the Sea of Oman, or even on land or in the air, have had a change in their nature, and we will continue this trend until our armed forces are fully ready to make the switch in tactics if necessary.”
On January 25, just two days before Baqeri made his comments, ground forces of the Iranian regular army wrapped up a military drill in Isfahan's Nasr Abad region in central Iran with 12,000 "assault forces.”
Speaking on state television the day before, another general, the commander of the Iranian Army Ground Force, Brigadier General Kiomars Heidari, said the Army has made "structural changes" to its combat strategies, noting that a focus on offensive approaches has been put on the agenda of the Iranian Armed Forces.
In an earlier meeting with families of Syrian and Iran-Iraq war veterans, Baqeri had also cautioned against what he described as the U.S. “deceitfulness,” warning "Everyone should be vigilant since they (Americans) might have designs for the coming year."
Baqeri's comments echoed earlier remarks by the Islamic Republic's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who had instructed the commanders of the Iranian Navy to strengthen their power and preparedness in a way that would make the enemy think twice before daring to threaten Iran.
Washington withdrew from the nuclear deal with Iran last May, arguing that Tehran has not addressed the question of its missile threats and its negative impact on the peace and stability in the Middle East.