TEHRAN — The highest commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps of Iran lashed out at the country’s foreign minister on Wednesday, telling him to stick to diplomacy and stay out of military business.
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Mr. Jafari, who developed Iran’s military doctrine of employing guerrilla tactics against powerful enemies, said that even “thousands of bombs” could not destroy the corps’ capabilities.
“American bombs may cause damage to our infrastructure, but the missile and strategic capabilities of the I.R.G.C. are remarkable,” Mr. Jafari said during a meeting with students, the semiofficial Tasnim news agency reported. “Even if the U.S. manages to bomb us, they can destroy 20 percent of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps’ missile capability at the maximum.”
The remarks reveal growing tensions in Iran between the moderate government of President Hassan Rouhani, which is trying to reach a lasting nuclear deal with world powers in exchange for sanctions relief, and hard-liners like Mr. Jafari, who are openly skeptical that a deal can be reached.
Commenting on the temporary nuclear agreement negotiated last month with the world powers, Mr. Jafari said that Iran had “given the maximum and received the minimum,” but he added that Iran’s “red lines,” most prominently what it says is its right to enrich uranium on its own soil, had not yet been crossed.
The West is trying to pressure Iran to give in on its principles, Mr. Jafari said, adding that this will never happen. “They do this so Iran crosses its red lines,” he said, “but this is impossible, and if the other side takes such an approach, we will return to the past.”