TEHRAN (Press TV) -- The Iranian judiciary chief said Friday the country’s armed forces will respond in kind to any U.S. provocation in the Persian Gulf.
Speaking during a joint armed forces ceremony at an Iranian airbase in the southwestern Bushehr province, Ebrahim Raeisi said the Persian Gulf has to remain secure for Iran "at all times”.
If the Americans "seek measures in the Persian Gulf that in any way signal an attack or a threatening and destabilizing action... our powerful armed forces will force them to surrender or to find themselves at the depths of the Persian Gulf,” Raeisi said.
The judiciary chief added that Iran’s military is regarded around the world as a self-sufficient and competent force which has proven itself in cases such as the downing of the U.S. RQ-4A Global Hawk spy drone last June.
Raeisi added that Iran’s military and advisory presence in the region has also served as a bulwark against U.S. and European plots in the region.
"Today, not only in Iran, but people across the region feel secure due to our presence and our support against the American aggression,” he added.
Earlier last year, Washington called for the formation of a so-called maritime coalition in response to a series of mysterious explosions targeting vessels in the Persian Gulf and the Sea of Oman.
Washington, which was quick to blame Iran for the incidents without providing conclusive evidence, has since deployed thousands of additional troops and millions of dollars worth of military equipment in certain regional states.
A number of European states, such as France and Britain, have announced plans for future naval deployments in the region.
Iran, which has soundly rejected the provocative foreign deployments, has stressed that only regional cooperation can ensure security in the Persian Gulf and the Middle East.
Tensions have since further increased after Washington assassinated top Iranian general Qassem Soleimani during an official visit to Iraq in January 3.
Iran retaliated a few days later, launching a volley of ballistic missiles at the Ain al-Assad airbase and another US-occupied outpost in Erbil, the capital of the semi-autonomous Iraqi Kurdistan.
The Trump administration, which had
initially vowed a severe response to any Iranian retaliation, sought to play down the attack and claimed that its forces had suffered no casualties in the attack.
The Pentagon has since, however, gradually revealed figures of troops which have suffered "brain injuries” in the Iranian attack.
Earlier this week, the Associated Press reported what it described as an "uneasy quiet” for US forces following Iran’s missile strikes.
The report cited U.S. Central Command commander General Frank McKenzie saying that Washington is uncertain how future events may unfold in the Middle East and that Washington needs to accumulate "military might” in the region as it fears possible confrontation with Iran.
The report described how McKenzie has requested a "much larger than usual naval presence” in the region, shifting naval assets from other locations to the Middle east despite the U.S. Navy’s need to deploy against naval powers such as Russia and China.
According to observers, Iran’s rare and direct attack against U.S. bases last month served to showcase part of Tehran’s military capability to counter U.S. military presence in the region.
Many U.S. politicians and officials have also slammed the Trump administration for putting American troops in danger and entangling the US in another military quagmire in the region.