Iran hit back at President Joe Biden on Wednesday in an escalating war of words, with the leader of its Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps saying that, while his country is not seeking war with America, “we will not leave any threat unanswered.”
“We hear threatening words from American officials,” said Gen. Hossein Salami, the chief commander of the military force. “You have tested us and we know each other.”
“We are not looking for war, but we are not afraid of it either,” General Salami said in remarks reported by the official Islamic Republic News Agency, adding “We are not warmongers, but we defend ourselves and our glory.”
His threat came a day after President Biden said he’d decided how the U.S. will respond to the weekend drone attack that killed three American soldiers and injured more than 40 others at a secret, remote base in Jordan.
In a sign Iran may be trying to ratchet down tensions, Kata’ib Hezbollah, the Iranian-backed militia suspected of firing the drone, and which is based in Iraq said late Tuesday that at the behest of Iran and Iraq, it would no longer target the U.S. The strike was the deadliest of more than 160 attacks on U.S. forces in the Middle East since the war between Hamas and Israel began in October.
Biden refused to give any details about the planned U.S. response, but he made clear he did not want to escalate tensions in the already-boiling region. “I don’t think we need a wider war in the Middle East,” he said.
Iran says it has not ordered any attacks on U.S. forces, arguing that the militias it funds and equips in the Middle East, known as the Axis of Resistance, act independently.