Top Iran Army Official: No Country Would Dare Strike Us

Comment by head of Iran's Revolutionary Guards' ground forces comes despite comments by Iran's nuclear chief, who hinted at possible compromise ahead of talks with West.

No country would dare attack Iran, a top officer in the country's elite Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) said on Monday, adding that Iranian forces planned to engage in more military drills in order to preserve their combat vigilance.

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Iran army - AP - 2.1.2012

The comments by Mohammad Pakpour, the head of the IRGC's ground forces, came as Cmdr. Amy Derrick-Frost of the Bahrain-based U.S. 5th Fleet said earlier in the day that the U.S. Navy deployed a second aircraft carrier to the Persian Gulf amid rising tensions with Iran over its nuclear program.

Derrick-Frost said that the deployment of the nuclear-powered USS Enterprise along the Abraham Lincoln carrier strike group marks only the fourth time in the past decade that the Navy has had two aircraft carriers operating at the same time in the region.

The deployment announced on Monday comes less than a week before world superpowers are set to open negotiations in Istanbul with the Islamic Republic over its contentious nuclear program.

Speaking to Iranian media on Monday, Pakpour referred to threats of possible military actions against Iran's nuclear program, saying: "No country dares to attack Iran."

The top Iranian official asserted that, following several recent extensive drills, Iranian forces were in full combat readiness, adding that the IRGC planned to stage numerous drills in the new [Iranian] year."

However, despite the rhetoric used by some in Iran's military, Iran's nuclear chief, speaking on Sunday, hinted that the Islamic Republic may offer a compromise ahead of nuclear talks with the West.

At the core of the dispute is the issue of uranium enrichment. The West fears Tehran is seeking an atomic weapon, which the country denies. Uranium has to be enriched to more than 90 percent to be used for a nuclear weapon.

Fereidoun Abbasi told state TV late Sunday that Tehran could stop its production of 20 percent enriched uranium needed for a research reactor, and continue enriching uranium to lower levels for power generation.

This could take place once Iran has stock piled enough of the 20 percent enriched uranium, Abbasi said.