A senior commander of the Iranian Revolution Guards on Sunday said the deployment of a U.S. aircraft carrier strike group to the region was not a threat, but an opportunity.
The Iranian Students' News Agency quoted the head of the Guards' aerospace division Amirali Hajizadeh saying, "an aircraft carrier that has at least 40 to 50 planes on it and 6,000 forces gathered within it was a serious threat for us in the past but now... the threats have switched to opportunities." He added: "If they make a move we will hit them in the head." The U.S. military has sent forces, including an aircraft carrier and B-52 bombers, to the Middle East to counter what U.S. officials have said are “clear indications” of threats from Iran to its forces there.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) WIDESHOT U.S. PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP, IN AN EXCHANGE WITH A REPORTER AT A WHITE HOUSE (THURSDAY): REPORTER: "What did Iran do to prompt you to send an aircraft carrier to the region?" TRUMP: "Well, they were threatening and we have information--.
We have information that you don't want to know about.
They were very threatening and we just want to have--.
We have to have great security for this country and for a lot of other places.
But President Donald Trump last week said suggested that despite the saber-rattling, he was open to talks with Tehran.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) WIDESHOT U.S. PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP CONTINUING: "What I would like to see with Iran: I would like to see them call me." The Revolutionary Guards on Friday said they would not negotiate with the United States.
Tensions between Washington and Tehran have climbed since Trump pulled the U.S. out of a multinational nuclear deal meant to curb Iran's ability to develop nuclear weapons.
The White House accuses Iran of supporting violent militant groups in Lebanon, Syria, and Yemen.
The commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, Major General Hossein Salami, said in a parliament session on Sunday that the United States has started a psychological war in the region.