Iran vows to retaliate against U.S. bases in Gulf if U.S. attacks first
Commander of Iran's Revolutionary Guards assures Arab countries hosting U.S. bases that only American forces would come under counterattack.
Iran's top military commander said Saturday that his forces would retaliate against American military bases in the Persian Gulf if they are involved in any possible future attack on Iran.
General Mohammad Ali Jaafari, commander of the Iran's Revolutionary Guards, told Al-Jazeera television that it is Iran's natural right to respond if attacked by land or air.
But he assured Arab Gulf countries - some of whom are home to U.S. military bases - that only American forces would come under counterattack.
"We realize that there is worry among neighboring countries - Muslim countries whose lands host U.S. military stations," Jaafari said. He spoke in Farsi, which the network dubbed over in Arabic.
"However, if the U.S. launches a war against us, and if it uses these stations to attack Iran with missiles, then through the strength and precision of our own missiles, we are capable of targeting only the U.S. military forces who attack us," he told the station.
On a recent visit to the Gulf countries, U.S. President George W. Bush branded Iran the leading state sponsor of terror, and said all options against Tehran remain on the table.
Many of the Gulf's Sunni Arab states want Washington to keep Shiite Iran's ambitions in check, but are nervous about the impact of any military confrontation.
The U.S. military has several bases in Arab countries including Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Yemen. Many Gulf Arabs have expressed concern that those bases make them vulnerable to attack.