Iran's elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corp (IRGC) has responded to President Donald Trump's prior Sunday all caps twitter tirade warning Iran to "NEVER, EVER THREATEN THE UNITED STATES AGAIN OR YOU WILL SUFFER CONSEQUENCES THE LIKES OF WHICH FEW THROUGHOUT HISTORY HAVE EVER SUFFERED BEFORE..."
Top commander of the IRGC, Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari, doesn't appear to have taken the US president's words to heart, however, saying Wednesday,
If the current capabilities of the Revolutionary Guards ... reaches the ears of the adventure-seeking president of America, he will never make this kind of mistake and will reach the understanding that an oil threat can be easily answered.
The IRGC chief appears to be referencing prior warnings from Iran's leaders that it could cut off the world's oil supply from the region, sending prices soaring.
Iran and Washington are in the midst of a war of words, with the dangerous potential for an actual war seeming to rise daily, as the US has repeatedly threatened to throttle Iran's international oil trade as it's moved closer to imposing sanctions on countries including key allies that don’t eliminate or significantly cut imports of Iranian oil by Nov. 4. It's but the latest crisis to emerge after the White House pulled the US out of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal in May.
Earlier this summer on July 4th Iran's President Hassan Rouhani suggested Iran could stop all regional gulf oil exports in retaliation for the US seeking to collapse the nuclear deal, and in response to aggressive new US sanctions: "The Americans say they want to reduce Iranian oil exports to zero... It shows they have not thought about its consequences," he said. This was followed by a published letter from Quds force leader (the special forces foreign action wing of the IRGC) Qassem Soleimani who narrowed the threat, writing "Your comments, carried by the media, that if the Islamic Republic’s oil isn’t exported there would be no guarantees for the whole region’s oil to be exported, is a very valuable comment."
Since that time and after subsequent threats, Washington has kept a close eye on the Straight of Hormuz in the Persian Gulf, with the Pentagon threatening a military response if necessary, as such threats of halting oil exports out of the gulf coming particular from the Revolutionary Guard is particularly alarming. Soleimani and his IRGC Quds unit are precisely the ones who would oversee such an operation as blocking Gulf exports.
The Straight of Hormuz at its narrowest is about 31 miles wide and approximately one-third of the world's seaborne oil passes through it, annd the IRGC has in the past threatened the passageway by conducting war games, such as during a period of heightened tensions with the West over the straight in 2011 and 2012.
On Wednesday Iran's Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement through official sources, saying the US should forget about any and all negotiations so long as Iran remains under threat.
"Iran has never hesitated and will never do so to defend the people's rights, territorial integrity, and independence of the country,' said spokesman Bahram Qasemi, adding that "one-way negotiations" in the current political climate are impossible.
Meanwhile, oil prices have moved higher early this week on reports that tensions continue to escalate between the US and Iran, accompanying the heightened war of words over the Persian Gulf waterway.
Iran's OPEC governor, Hossein Kazempour Ardebili, earlier in July weighed in on the issue with dire warnings in statements carried by Iran's oil ministry news agency SHANA.
“Trump’s demand that Iranian oil should not be bought, and (his) pressures on European firms at a time when Nigeria and Libya are in crisis, when Venezuela’s oil exports have fallen due to U.S. sanctions, when Saudi’s domestic consumption has increased in summer, is nothing but self harm,” Ardebili said.
“It will increase the prices of oil in the global markets,” he said, and echoing Rouhani's theme of US "self-harm" he added, “At the end it is the American consumer who will pay the price for Mr. Trump’s policy.”