DUBAI — Iran will pursue and seek to destroy any aggressor, even one carrying out a limited attack, the head of the Revolutionary Guard Corps said on Saturday, after attacks on Saudi oil sites, which both Riyadh and American officials blamed on Tehran.
“Be careful, a limited aggression will not remain limited. We will pursue any aggressor,” the head of the Revolutionary Guard, Maj. Gen. Hossein Salami, said in remarks broadcast on state TV. “And we will continue until the full destruction of any aggressor.”
Iran denies involvement in the attack, which was claimed by Yemen’s Houthi movement, a group aligned with Iran and currently fighting a Saudi-led alliance in Yemen’s civil war.
Amir Ali Hajizadeh, who heads the Revolutionary Guard’s aerospace branch, said any attacks on Iran would receive “a crushing response,” the official news agency IRNA reported.
A senior Iranian military official, Brig. Gen. Ghadir Nezami — head of international affairs and defense diplomacy at Iran’s General Staff of the Armed Forces — announced on Saturday that Iran, China and Russia would begin joint naval exercises in the Arabian Sea and the North Indian Ocean in the near future, according to Iran’s semiofficial Fars news agency.
The United States on Friday imposed more sanctions on Iran, targeting the Central Bank of Iran, which was already under U.S. sanctions; the National Development Fund of Iran, the country’s sovereign wealth fund; and an Iranian company that American officials said is used to conceal financial transfers for Iranian military purchases.
Iran’s foreign minister denounced the sanctions against its central bank as an attempt to deny ordinary Iranians access to food and medicine.
“This is a sign of U.S. desperation,” Foreign Minister Mohammad Zarif told reporters in remarks shown on state television. “When they repeatedly sanction the same institution, this means their attempt at bringing the Iranian nation to its knees under ‘maximum pressure’ has failed.”
Mr. Zarif, who was in New York for the annual United Nations General Assembly that starts next week, 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.
The United States withdrew from the accord last year and reimposed unilateral sanctions on Iran.
After reports on social media on Friday of a cyberattack on some petrochemical and other companies in Iran, a state body in charge of cybersecurity denied there had been a “successful” attack.
“There has not been a successful cyberattack 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 cyberattack or unplanned technical incident on affected networks as opposed to a purposeful withdrawal or shutdown incident,” it said in a tweet.