Mohammad Ali Jafari, the top commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) has reacted strongly to the latest U.S. sanctions, saying that if IRGC comes under American sanctions, the U.S. has to close down all its bases within one thousand kilometers of Iran.
It is not clear what Jafari meant by saying if IRGC comes under American sanctions. Most of its leadership and many entities connected with IRGC are already under sanctions.
One explanation might be the proposed IRGC Terrorist Sanctions Act, H.R. 478, which was proposed last January but has not become law yet. It would designate the whole of IRGC as a terrorist entity.
The IRGC commander, who was speaking at a gathering of ground force commanders in Mashhad, attacked the policies of the Trump administration and the U.S. Congress and said, “If the U.S. wants to pursue the policy of imposing sanctions on our defense and IRGC, it better remove its bases from within 1,000 kilometers of Iran and it should realize that it will pay a high price for its miscalculation”.
The U.S. has significant bases in Qatar, United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, as well as a large presence in Afghanistan and thousands of advisors and military trainers in Iraq.
Jafari also vowed to defend Iran’s ballistic missile program, “as men would defend their honor”. He also called on the government of President Hassan Rouhani to adopt a strong stance on the issue.
Rouhani and his foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif have already criticized the new Trump administration sanctions announced on July 18.