Iranian military commanders have been talking big since Friday evening, threatening the United States and Saudi forces in the region, warning against even limited attacks against Iran, boasting about Tehran's military capabilities and mocking the United States for selling a defense system to Saudi Arabia that didn't work.
Some commanders such as IRGC commander Hossein Salami spoke at least twice. Some others such as army commander Abdolrahim Mousavi made a bizarre claim on national TV that Washington has sent a message asking Iran to allow U.S. forces to attack a limited number of targets and not respond. It appears from his words that Mousavi was referring to when Iran downed a U.S. drone and President Donald Trump decided not to respond.
One commander even promised a joint military exercise with Russian and Chinese naval forces in the Persian Gulf and the Sea of Oman "soon" without giving an actual date, apparently to show that Iran has its own allies to counter the U.S.-led coalition in the region although Moscow and Beijing were not observed to support Iran in the Persian Gulf tensions particularly as any conflict could adversely affect the flow of oil to Chinese industries.
It should be noted that although most of these remarks are reactions to accusations of Iran being behind the attacks on Saudi Arabia, they also coincide with the anniversary of the start of the Iran-Iraq war, which began in September 1980.
While some Saudi and U.S. officials have called for limited attacks on Iran in retaliation for the strikes on Saudi oil facilities, the commander-in-chief of IRGC, Hossein Salami said on Saturday September 21, "Iran is prepared to respond to any aggression," adding that "A limited strike on Iran will not remain limited."
He reminded Iran's "enemies" that for Iran the combat theater is not limited to its borders but extend beyond Iranian territory to "Eastern Mediterranean and North of the Red Sea."
In another speech on the same day, Salami warned that "No place in the region will remain safe in case Iran is attacked."
He also vaguely spoke about Iran's capability to surprise its enemies by attacking in its signature asymmetrical warfare style: "Everyone knows, and let our enemies know too that we have raised our capability of creating unknown threats. We have hidden potentials a small part of which we have revealed and used," he said.
General Salami added: "Anyone who violates our territory will be hit. We have the power to act, and we will assume responsibility for what we do."
Also, on Saturday, IRGC's aerospace commander Amir Ali Hajizadeh warned "The enemy will receive a crushing response if it behaves badly."
Hajizadeh boasted that Iran is one of the world's top five powers in the area of using drones. Hajizadeh made the remarks while visiting an exhibition General Salami had visited earlier on Saturday; where the IRGC showcased foreign drones that were downed in Iran.
Hajizadeh said Iran has the largest collection of downed drones and has put them in an exhibition "to give the enemies a lesson."
He also said that Iran has had a great deal of success in the area of manufacturing advanced radars, adding that Iran's missile power is unmatched in the region.
In another development reported by Tasnim news agency, Iranian Defense Minister Amir Hatami visited an exhibition of the ministry's technological achievements, where although he spoke about the realization of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei's theory of economic jihad, what was bizarrely put on display were eight types batteries for vehicles and vessels.
He said the batteries were manufactured using modern technology and last longer than other batteries by 50 percent.
Displaying the army and IRGC's technological achievements and levelling threats and accusations against the Islamic Republic's potential enemies are expected to continue throughout next week while Iranian armed forces mark the anniversary of the war with Iraq in the 1980s, nicknamed by Islamic Republic officials as "holy defense."