U.S. 'Will Not Dare Launch Military Action' Against Iran, Revolutionary Guards Deputy Political Chief Says

'No talks will be held with the Americans,' Yadollah Javani quoted as saying by semi-official news agency amid heightened tensions between Washington and Tehran

File Photo: Iranian President Hassan Rohani attends talks in the Black Sea resort of Sochi, Russia, February 14, 2019.
Reuters

A deputy head of Iran's Revolutionary Guards said that Tehran will not hold talks with its arch enemy the United States and that Washington "will not dare launch military action against us," the semi-official news agency Tasnim reported on Friday. 

U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday urged Iran's leadership to sit down and talk with him about giving up Tehran's nuclear program and said he could not rule out a military confrontation given the heightened tensions between the two countries. 

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"No talks will be held with the Americans and the Americans will not dare take military action against us," Yadollah Javani, the Guards' deputy head for political affairs, was quoted as saying by Tasnim. "Our nation ... sees America as unreliable."

Meanwhile, B-52 bombers ordered by the White House to deploy to the Persian Gulf to counter unspecified threats from Iran have arrived at a major American air base in Qatar, the U.S. Air Force acknowledged Friday.

Images released by the U.S. Air Force's Central Command show B-52H Stratofortress bombers arriving at Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar on Thursday night.

In this May 9, 2019 photo released by the U.S. Air Force, a B-52H Stratofortress is seen through night vision coming in for a landing at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar.
Staff Sgt. Ashley Gardner/U.S. Air Force via AP

Others landed at an undisclosed location Wednesday in "southwest Asia," the Air Force said. The U.S. military in the past has described its presence at both the Al Dhafra Air Base in the United Arab Emirates and Al Udeid as "southwest Asia."

The Air Force identified the aircraft as coming from the 20th Bomb Squadron of Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana.

On Sunday, the White House announced it would send the USS Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier strike group and the bombers into the Persian Gulf to counter Tehran. The Lincoln on Thursday passed through the Suez Canal on its way to the Persian Gulf.

Trump on Wednesday imposed new sanctions targeting Iran's revenue from export of industrial metals and threatened further action unless Tehran "fundamentally" changed its behavior.

The move comes after Tehran announced it was scaling back some curbs to its nuclear program if world powers did not keep their promises under the 2015 agreement, which the U.S. withdrew from a year ago.

An executive order issued by Trump covers Iran's iron, steel, aluminum, and copper sectors, the Islamic Republic's largest non-petroleum-related sources of export revenue and 10 percent of its export economy, a statement from the White House said. 

Tim Morrison, Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Weapons of Mass Destruction and Biodefense, told a conference that Washington was not "done" with imposing sanctions on Iran. 

"Expect more sanctions soon. Very soon," he said.

A letter from Rohani was delivered to the envoys of countries that are still committed to the deal despite the unilateral U.S. pullout.

In a nationally televised speech, Rohani said that after 60 days, Iran will scale back more compliance with the deal, and will increase their uranium enrichment.

He also warned of a "firm response" if the nuclear case is once again referred to the UN Security Council, and that Tehran is ready for nuclear negotiations. The five world leaders were also told that Tehran will no longer sell its enriched uranium and heavy water to other countries.

"We can't implement an international agreement by ourselves if the other side does not," Rohani said at a cabinet meeting in Tehran.

The European Union and foreign ministers of France, Germany and the U.K., expressed "great concern" on Thursday over Iran's announcement that it was partially scaling back compliance with the nuclear deal and said it remains committed to it.

"We remain fully committed to the preservation and full implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, a key achievement of the global nuclear non-proliferation architecture, which is in the security interest of all," the joint statement said.