TEHRAN (Dispatches) -- Any country that attacks Iran will become the "main battlefield", the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) warned Saturday after Washington ordered reinforcements to the Persian Gulf.
Washington approved the deployment of troops to Saudi Arabia at "the kingdom's request," Pentagon chief Mark Esper said, noting the forces would be "defensive in nature" and focused on air and missile defense.
But IRGC commander Major General Hussein Salami said Iran was "ready for any type of scenario", adding the country will pursue any aggressor, even it carries out a limited attack, and seek to destroy it.
"Whoever wants their land to become the main battlefield, go ahead," he told a news conference in Tehran. "We will never allow any war to encroach upon Iran's territory.
"We hope that they don't make a strategic mistake," he said, listing past U.S. military "adventures" against Iran.
Salami was speaking at Tehran's Islamic Revolution and Holy Defense museum during the unveiling of an exhibition of U.S. and other drones captured in its territory.
It featured a badly damaged drone with U.S. military markings said to be an RQ-4 Global Hawk that Iran downed in June, as well as an RQ-170 Sentinel captured in 2011 and still intact.
Also on display was a British unmanned aerial vehicle, named Phoenix, seized by IRGC’s Aerospace Division.
The IRGC also displayed the domestically manufactured Khordad 3 air defense battery used to shoot down the Global Hawk.
"What are your drones doing in our airspace? We will shoot them down, shoot anything that encroaches on our airspace," said General Salami, noting Iran had defeated "America's technological dominance" in air defense and drone manufacture.
His remarks came only days after strikes on Saudi oil facilities claimed by Yemen's Houthis. Saudi Arabia, which has been bogged down in a five-year war across its southern border in Yemen, has claimed Iran "unquestionably sponsored" the attacks.
"Sometimes they talk of military options," General Salami said, apparently referring to the Americans.
Yet he warned that "a limited aggression will not remain limited" as Iran was determined to respond and would "not rest until the aggressor's collapse."
The IRGC’s aerospace commander said the U.S. ought to learn from its past failures and abandon its hostile rhetoric.
"We've stood tall for the past 40 years and if the enemy makes a mistake, it will certainly receive a crushing response," Brigadier General Amirali Hajizadeh said.
He also said Iran is among the top five countries in the world in the field of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).
"Today, after forty years since the Islamic Revolution, we have seen tremendous progress in many areas, especially drones and we are among the top five countries in the world in the field of UAVs."
The United States upped the ante on Friday by announcing new sanctions against Iran's central bank, with President Donald Trump calling the measures the toughest America has ever imposed on another country.
Washington has imposed a series of sanctions against Tehran since unilaterally pulling out of a landmark 2015 nuclear deal in May last year.
Iran's Foreign Minister Muhammad Javad Zarif said the new sanctions meant the United States was "trying to block the Iranian people's access to food and medicine".
"This is a sign of U.S. desperation ... When they repeatedly sanction the same institution, this means their attempt at bringing the Iranian nation to its knees under ‘maximum pressure’ has failed,” he said.
"But this is dangerous and unacceptable as an attempt at blocking ... the Iranian people’s access to food and medicine,” Zarif said, speaking after arriving in New York for the annual UN General Assembly next week.
Zarif said he would on Wednesday meet foreign ministers of the remaining signatories to the 2015 nuclear accord, which was agreed with Britain, France, Germany, China and Russia as well as the United States.
"As we have said before, the United States can only attend if it returns to the (nuclear accord) ... and ends its economic war against Iran,” Zarif said.
After reports on social media of a cyber-attack on some petrochemical and other companies in Iran, a state body in charge of cyber security denied there had been a "successful” attack.
"Based on our observations ... there has not been a successful cyber-attack on oil facilities and other critical infrastructure,” said an official statement carried by IRNA.
NetBlocks, an organization that monitors internet connectivity, earlier reported "intermittent disruptions” to some internet services in Iran starting on Friday evening.
The group said the impact was limited, affecting only specific providers, and the cause was unclear. "Data are consistent with a cyber-attack or unplanned technical incident on affected networks as opposed to a purposeful withdrawal or shutdown incident,” it said in a tweet.
NetBlocks Director Alp Toker said they saw four Iranian networks falling offline over a three hour period on Friday evening. This began when the first reports emerged and ended shortly afterwards. The networks have been stable since.