Iran warns of the ‘mother of all wars’ if the US attacks amid tensions in the Gulf
Iran unveiled what it described as three new precision guided missiles on Tuesday as President Hassan Rouhani warned of the ‘mother of all wars’ if the US attacks. Defence Minister Brigadier-General Amir Hatami said it proves Iran ‘will not hesitate for a moment to defend [itself]’ as he viewed the weapons in front of TV cameras. It comes after President Hassan Rouhani warned the US of the ‘mother of all wars’ if tensions in the Gulf spill over into conflict. Iran unveiled new air-to-air missiles Tuesday amid tensions with the US and says it proves that the country ‘will not hesitate for a moment to defend [itself]’ Among the new weapons was the Balaban missile, which Iran said could be fired from an aircraft before being guided to its target using GPS and other sensors. Iran’s defence ministry also unveiled an updated version of the heat-seeking Ghaem missile (bottom) that was accurate to within 50cm, military chiefs claimed While stressing that Tehran is willing to negotiate over its nuclear programme, Rouhani said that America must drop all sanctions before the country will talk. Among the new weapons unveiled by Tehran was a guided missile dubbed Yasin, which has folding wings and is designed to be fired from a drone. Another newly-developed weapon was the Balaban, which Iran said could be fired from an aircraft before being guided to its target using GPS and other sensors. Finally, the defence ministry unveiled an updated version of the heat-seeking Ghaem missile, which is also designed as an air-to-air weapon, the Fars news agency said. Iran has been engaged in sabre-rattling with the US for months after the Trump administration walked away from a nuclear deal signed under predecessor Obama. Hassan Rouhani gave a televised address Tuesday in which he said he was willing to negotiate with the US, but that Washington must first drop all sanctions – while warning against conflict It comes after Iranian foreign minister Mohammed Javad Zarif accused the UK of being complicit in US ‘economic terrorism’ after the pair joined forces in the Gulf
Around a fifth of the world’s oil passes through the strait each day. It is understood that the about-face came amid frustration over EU nations refusing to commit ships to the region. The only ship from an EU country currently in the region is a French frigate, The Sun reports, and Germany has previously baulked at the idea of sending vessels there. The UK currently has two ships in the region – Type 23 frigate HMS Montrose and Type 45 destroyer HMS Duncan, which arrived a week ago. The US has at least three ships currently inside the Persian Gulf, comprising the Boxer Amphibious Ready Group. The group is led by the USS Boxer, which is supported by the USS John P Murtha – an amphibious transport dock – landing ship USS Harpers Ferry, and accompanying helicopter squadrons and thousands of embarked Marines. Loitering outside the Persian Gulf itself is Carrier Strike Group 12, led by the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln. Accompanying the Lincoln is Destroyer Squadron 2 comprised of the USS Bainbridge, USS Mason and USS Nitze with support from the USS Leyte Gulf. Carrier Air Wing 7 is stationed on board the Lincoln Around 1,000 American troops are also being moved to the region, while a bomber strike force including B-52s has also been deployed. Elsewhere on Monday, Iran’s foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said his country will no longer tolerate ‘maritime offences’ and added that Iran is ‘responsible for the security and safety’ of the region. Iran has threatened to block all exports via the Strait, through which a fifth of global oil traffic passes, if other countries comply with U.S. pressure to stop buying Iranian oil. He accused London of participating in American ‘economic terrorism’ and said Washington is solely to blame for tensions in the region. ‘Whenever the US has entered into the Persian Gulf it has brought in nothing but violence and war,’ he said.