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Iranian Guards Warn U.S. To Move Gulf Bases, Avoid 'Miscalculations'

Iranian Revolutionary Guard commander Brigadier General Mohammad Ali Jafari

The head of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps on July 19 warned Washington to move its bases in the Persian Gulf region and avoid "miscalculations" over new sanctions against Tehran, Iranian news agencies reported.

The Trump administration imposed the new sanctions on July 18 over Iran's ballistic missile program and said Tehran's "malign activities" in the Middle East undercut any positive contributions coming from the 2015 nuclear accord.

Iran says its program to develop ballistic missiles is defensive and does not violate the nuclear accord.

"If the United States wants to pursue sanctions against Iran's defenses and the Guards, then it has to move its regional bases to a distance of about 1,000 kilometers around Iran and be aware that it would pay a high price for any miscalculations," Tasnim and other news agencies quoted Guards commander Mohammad Ali Jafari as saying.

The United States has bases in Qatar and Kuwait across the Persian Gulf from Iran and the U.S. Fifth Fleet is based in nearby Bahrain.

The Pentagon said on July 18 that it was not planning on moving its bases.

"We have no intention of adjusting our posture as a result of these statements," Major Adrian Rankine-Galloway, a Pentagon spokesman, said.

Iran's elite Guards Corps have repeatedly test-fired ballistic missiles, which Washington sees as a challenge to a United Nations resolution and the nuclear deal.

"Iran's missile capability in the air, sea and land is growing rapidly, and this is an absolute principle for us," Jafari said.

In February, Washington said it was putting Tehran on notice over its "destabilizing activity" after Iran test-launched a medium-range ballistic missile that a U.S. official said had exploded after travelling 1,010 kilometers.

In June, Iran fired missiles into eastern Syria, targeting bases of the Islamic State extremist group, which had claimed responsibility for attacks in Tehran that killed 18 people.

President Hassan Rohani said earlier on July 19 that the new sanctions contravened the nuclear accord with world powers and vowed Tehran would "resist" them.

"Some of the actions of the Americans are against the spirit and even the letter of the [nuclear accord]. We shall resist these," Iranian state television quoted Rohani as saying.

"One of the plots of the Americans is to act in such a way that would make Iran say that it is not following its commitments... I think the Americans will fail as we will always respect our international commitments," Rohani said.

Iran's parliament agreed on July 18 to discuss measures, including increased funding for the missile program, as retaliation for the new U.S. sanctions, state media reported.

The U.S. measures signal that the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump is seeking to put more pressure on Iran while keeping in place the agreement under which Iran must curb its nuclear activities in return for the lifting of international oil and financial sanctions.

With reporting by AP and Reuters
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