Any Country Hosting U.S. Troops May Be Targeted by Iran in the Event of War, Military Says

An Iranian military spokesperson has warned that any regional U.S. allies hosting American troops could be targeted in the event of a conflict between the two nations.

Brigadier General Abolfazl Shekarchi said Sunday that while Iran has no interest in conflict, it is prepared to widen any war to include neighboring nations who cooperate with the U.S., the Fars news agency reported.

"Any place and any point of any territories which host the U.S. and its allies' interests will be threatened" in the event of war, Shekarchi said.

"Even if a country does not directly participate in any possible war but its territories host the enemy, we consider that country as a hostile territory and will treat it as an aggressor."

Tensions between the U.S. and Iran have abated in recent weeks, following a period of high tensions when conflict was narrowly averted. At one point, President Donald Trump reportedly ordered an airstrike on Iranian positions in retaliation for the downing of a U.S. drone, but called off the attack at the last minute.

But the underlying problems that caused the flare up remain unsolved. The Obama-era Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action—also known as the Iran nuclear deal—remains in limbo following Trump's withdrawal from the accord last year. Associated sanctions remain in place, inflicting significant hardship on the regime and the Iranian people.

Meanwhile, Iran is expanding its nuclear energy capacity despite threats from Washington, while its regional influence continues to grow—though has been put in jeopardy by civil unrest in Lebanon and Iraq.

Iran funds and trains multiple militias in countries across the region. These proxy forces offer Tehran a way to hit back against U.S. interests and allies in several countries without committing its regular forces. American military planners have long expected such operations in the event of a conflict with Iran.

Iran is currently celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution that deposed Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. On Monday, the country celebrated the anniversary of the storming of the U.S. embassy in Tehran, which began the Iran hostage crisis.

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei marked the anniversary by dismissing any suggestion of new negotiations with the U.S. The White House wants to force Iran back to the negotiating table to agree a more stringent nuclear deal, but Tehran has resisted.

"One way to block America's political infiltration is to ban any talks with America," Khamenei said on state television, according to Reuters. "It means Iran will not yield to America's pressure," he added.

Khamenei continued, "The U.S. has not changed since decades continues the same aggressive, vicious behavior and the same international dictatorship...Iran has a firm, iron will. It will not let America return to Iran."

Despite the supreme leader's tough talk, Shekarchi said Iran is not seeking a confrontation. However, he wanted that "if an aggressor makes a strategic mistake, that aggression will be confronted with the strongest and the most crushing response."

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Iranian soldiers are pictured during a military parade marking the country's annual army day in Tehran, Iran on April 18, 2019. -/AFP via Getty Images/Getty