The head of Iran's Revolutionary Guards has warned Washington of a "decisive response" after US President Donald Trump instructed the US Navy to "destroy" Iranian ships harassing US ships in the Persian Gulf.
According to AFP, Maj. Gen. Hussein Salami said on state television, "We want to make it clear to Americans that we are absolutely committed and serious and that all actions will be accompanied by a decisive response that is more effective and faster."
"We have also ordered our naval units to target (US ships and forces) if they seek to endanger the safety of our ships or warships," he said.
Tensions between the United States and Iran have risen sharply over the past week, with Washington accusing Iranian warships of harassing its ships in the Gulf.
On April 22, Iran's Revolutionary Guards said they had successfully launched the country's first military satellite.
The United States has accused Iran of pursuing a missile program, but Iran has said its space activities are in line with international obligations.
After the launch of the military satellite, US President Donald Trump tweeted that he had "instructed the US Navy to destroy all Iranian guns in boats if Iranian ships disturbed our ships."
Later, the head of Iran's Revolutionary Guards, Maj. Gen. Hussein Salami, said last week's naval incident was the result of "unprofessional and dangerous behavior by Americans in the Persian Gulf."
"Operational disturbances and disruptions have occurred in US naval units at sea over the past week," he said.
Maj. Gen. Hussein Salami added that this was an indication that "command and control of their military units could be weakened by the Coronavirus."
In addition, Foreign Minister Jawad Zarif said in a tweet that "what is the justification for the presence of US forces at a distance of 7,000 miles from their homes, which is provoking our own soldiers in the Persian Gulf."
According to Al Jazeera, on the other hand, senior Pentagon officials had said that Trump did not direct any fundamental change in military policy towards Iran.
Asked about the US president's tweet, Deputy Secretary of Defense David Norquist said the president had issued an important warning to Iranians.
"What the president has emphasized is that all our ships have the right to defend themselves," he said.
But Democrat and veteran Navy SEAL Alien Loria said Trump's tweets could lead to war.