LONDON (Reuters) - Iran’s Revolutionary Guards told Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates on Friday to respect Tehran’s “red lines” or face retaliation, as the United States and its Gulf allies increase pressure on Tehran to curb its regional influence.
Iran accuses Saudi Arabia and the UAE of funding five gunmen who attacked a military parade in Iran on Sept. 22 and killed 25 people, 12 of them members of the elite Guards. Saudi Arabia and the UAE have denied any involvement.
The Revolutionary Guards have vowed to exact “deadly and unforgettable” vengeance.
“If you cross our red lines, we will surely cross yours. You know the storm the Iranian nation can create,” the Fars news agency quoted Brigadier General Hossein Salami, deputy head of the Guards, as saying.
“Stop creating plots and tensions. You are not invincible. You are sitting in a glass house and cannot tolerate the revenge of the Iranian nation ... We have shown self-restraint,” Salami said, addressing worshippers attending Friday prayers in Tehran.
Salami also told the United States, accused by Iran of supporting the assailants in the Sept. 22 attack in Ahvaz, to “stop supporting the terrorists or they will pay the price”. Washington has denied having any prior knowledge of the incident.
Salami said the United States, Israel, Saudi Arabia and UAE had created an alliance to put pressure on Iran. Shi’ite Muslim Iran and Sunni Muslim Saudi Arabia are arch-rivals in the Middle East and support opposing sides in the Syrian and Yemen conflicts.
Iranian worshippers chanted slogans against United States and Israel in a rally after Friday prayers in Tehran, condemning the Ahvaz attack, state television reported.
A senior Iranian cleric said U.S. regional bases would not remain secure if Washington sought confrontation with Tehran.
“If America does anything wrong, their bases around Iran would not remain secure,” Tehran Friday prayer leader, Ayatollah Mohammadali Movahedi Kermani, was quoted as saying by Mizan news agency.
Tehran has warned Washington in the past of the dangers of military confrontation.
Friday prayer leaders are directly appointed by the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who is the highest authority in Iran. Their sermons across the country usually express the Islamic Republic’s stance on current events.
Reporting by Bozorgmehr Sharafedin; Editing by Richard Balmforth
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