Any country that attacks Iran will become the "main battlefield," the Revolutionary Guards warned Saturday after Washington ordered reinforcements to the Gulf after attacks on Saudi oil facilities blaming Tehran.
Tensions increased between arch-enemies Iran and the United States after last weekend's attacks on the Abqaiq processing plant of Saudi power giant Aramco and the Khurais oil field cut oil production in half by the kingdom.
Yemen's Huthi rebels have claimed responsibility for the attacks, but the United States says it concluded that the attacks involved cruise missiles from Iran and that they constituted "an act of war."
Washington approved the deployment of troops to Saudi Arabia at "request of the kingdom," said US Defense Secretary Mark Esper and said the forces would be "defensive in nature" and focused on air and missile defense.
But the commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, Major General Hossein Salami, said Iran was "ready for any kind of scenario."
"Whoever their land becomes the main battlefield, go ahead," he said at a press conference in Tehran.
"We will never allow any war to invade the territory of Iran."
"We hope they don't make a strategic mistake," he said, listing the previous US military "adventures" against Iran.
Salami spoke at the Museum of the Islamic Revolution and the Sacred Defense of Tehran during the presentation of an exhibition of what Iran says are American drones and others captured in its territory.
It featured a severely damaged drone with US military marks that were reportedly a Global Hawk RQ-4 that Iran shot down in June, as well as a Sentinel RQ-170 captured in 2011 and still intact.
& # 39; Act of war & # 39;
The Guards also showed the Khordad 3 air defense battery manufactured in the country that, they say, was used to take down the Global Hawk.
What are your drones doing in our airspace? We will knock them down, shoot anything that invades our airspace, "Salami said, noting that Iran had defeated" the United States' technological dominance "in air defense and drone manufacturing.
His comments came only days after the attacks on Saudi oil facilities claimed by the Yemeni Huthis, but the United States says it concluded that the attack involved cruise missiles from Iran and that it became "an act of war."
Saudi Arabia, which has stalled in a five-year war across its southern border in Yemen, has said that Iran "unquestionably sponsored" the attacks.
The kingdom says the weapons used in the attacks were Iranian-made, but did not directly blame its regional rival.
"Sometimes they talk about military options," Salami said, apparently referring to the Americans.
However, he warned that "limited aggression will not remain limited," since Iran was determined to respond and "would not rest until the collapse of the aggressor."
& # 39; Crushing response & # 39;
The Aerospace Guard commander said the United States should learn from its past failures and abandon its hostile rhetoric.
"We have stood firm for the past 40 years and if the enemy makes a mistake, he will certainly receive a crushing response," Brigadier General Amirali Hajizadeh said.
The United States upped the ante on Friday by announcing new sanctions against the central bank of Iran, and US President Donald Trump called the measures the toughest that the United States has imposed on another country.
Washington has imposed a series of sanctions against Tehran since it unilaterally withdrew from a historic 2015 nuclear agreement in May last year.
He already maintains radical sanctions on the central bank of Iran, but the US Treasury said Friday's designation was about the regulator's job in financing "terrorism."
The "action points to a crucial financing mechanism that the Iranian regime uses to support its terrorist network, including the Qods Force, Hezbollah and other militants that spread terror and destabilize the region," said the US Secretary of the Treasury, Steven Mnuchin The Qods Force is the foreign operations arm of the Guard, while Hezbollah is a Lebanese Shiite militant group closely allied with Iran.
Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said the new sanctions meant that the United States was "trying to block Iranian people's access to food and medicine."
He showed that the United States was "desperate" and that "the maximum pressure policy has come to an end," semi-official news agency ISNA He quoted him saying from New York.