UPDATED WITH SHAMKHANI REMARKS
Secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani says Iran will give a response "10 times stronger than any hostile measure" against it.
Shamkhani's threat which was briefly covered by Iranian media on Monday September 10, came one day after the commander of the United States' fifth fleet accused Iran of "destabilizing the region" by supporting Houthi rebels in Yemen. Also, Iranian Supreme Leader's military adviser has said "Iran has no military presence in Yemen," but added that "Iran can provide whatever the Yemenis might need."
As an example of Iran's retaliatory measures against "hostile acts," Shamkhani reminded the missile attack on the Kurdish Democratic Party headquarters in the Iraqi Kurdistan over the weekend that killed scores of Kurds in retaliation for the party's alleged attack on Iranian forces inside Iran.
Meanwhile, in one of Iran's clearest threats against US forces in Syria, Khameni's military advisor, Hossein Dehghan also said on Sunday that "Iran is prepared to lend military support to Syria if the Syrian people and government decide to confront US forces East of the river Euphrates."
Vice Admiral Scott A. Stearney told Bloomberg on Sunday September 9 that U.S. naval forces ae planning a military exercise in the Persian Gulf in September to show their preparedness to keep waterways in the Persian Gulf and the Red Sea open to navigation.
He said that the forces of the United States and its regional and international allies' will practice mine sweeping as well as other maneuverers in the Persian Gulf, Bloomberg quoted him as saying.
The comments were made as tensions have been growing between Iran and U.S. over Iran's nuclear and ballistic missile programs and Tehran's role in regional conflicts, and renewed sanctions are expected to hit Iran's banking system and oil exports in November.
Iranian officials and military commanders have threatened to shut down the Strait of Hormuz and U.S. officials have reminded that the strait is an international waterway and the U.S. will make sure to keep it open to international navigation even by use of force.
Iran is aware that any problem at the Strait of Hormuz would first of all stop its own oil exports. However, in a precautionary measure, Tehran has been developing a harbour on the shores of the Sea of Oman to by-pass the strait in case of an emergency.
Meanwhile, an IRGC commander said in August that Houthis had fired rockets at Saudi oil tankers after Iranians asked them to do so. IRGC's public relations office later refuted the comments adding that the IRGC general who made this comment was no longer holding any position.
Hossein Dehghan, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's military adviser said in an interview with Russia Today TV on Sunday that the United States' presence in Syria is not based on the Syrian government's invitation, and US forces should leave the country.
Dehghan said that Iran would lend military support to Syria if Damascus asks for Tehran's help in military confrontation with U.S. forces in eastern parts of Syria.
He further elaborated that "if the Syrian people and government decide to confront U.S. forces East of the river Euphrates, Iran is prepared to lend its military support to Syria."
This is one of Iran's clearest threats against U.S. forces in Syria since tensions began to grow between Tehran and Washington following the US withdrawal from the nuclear deal with Iran in May and its renewed economic pressures on Tehran.
While officially denying its military presence in Syria, Iran has been deploying thousands of troops to support Basahr Al-Assad in the civil war. Yet, Iranian officials have always maintained that Iranian forces in Syria are military "advisers."
Syria's neighbour, Israel, has said several times that it cannot tolerate Iran's military presence in Syria, and an Israel military commander has told the press that Israeli forces have launched more than 200 attacks on Iranian targets in Syria during the past 18 months.