Iran's Revolutionary Guards chief warns Trump against new sanctions
The chief of Iran's powerful Revolutionary Guards Corps has advised Washington to move its military bases farther from Iran's borders if new US sanctions are imposed on Tehran, the official state agency IRNA reported.
"If new sanctions go into effect, the country should move its regional bases to a 2,000-kilometer (1,240-mile) radius" out of the range of Iranian missiles, General Mohammed Ali Jafari warned.
US military bases are located in countries neighbouring Iran, including Bahrain, Iraq, Oman and Afghanistan, less than 500 kilometres (310 miles) from Iran's borders - well within reach of Iranian ballistic missiles.
Jafari rejected the idea of negotiating with Washington over regional issues and said if the US designates the elite Revolutionary Guards Corps a terrorist group, it will in turn consider the US military a terrorist group.
He said such sanctions would eliminate "any chance for engagement" bewteen the US and Iran for good.
US President Donald Trump appears to be retracting from his campaign pledge to tear up the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers, instead aiming to take other measures against Iran and its affiliates.
New actions are expected to be announced by the White House in the coming days and should focus on the Revolutionary Guards Corps - which has links to overseas militias - and Hizballah.
They include financial sanctions on anyone who does business with the Revolutionary Guards, as well as millions of dollars in rewards for information leading to the arrest of two operatives from the Iran-backed Lebanese Hizballah movement.
Iran's President Hassan Rouhani on Saturday defended the landmark nuclear deal agreed with Western powers in 2015, insisting that Trump could not undermine it.
"In the nuclear negotiations and agreement we reached issues and benefits that are not reversible. No one can turn that back, not Mr. Trump or anyone else," Rouhani said at a ceremony at Tehran University, state media reported.
"Even if ten other Trumps are created in the world, these are not reversible."