In late December, Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif signalled the Islamic Republic’s readiness to defend its “security and vital interests” amid the US military buildup near the country’s borders. He accused Washington of wasting hefty sums to repeatedly send B-52 bombers to the region instead of focusing on the fight against COVID-19.
Hundreds of Iranian scientists have urged the country’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Aerospace Force to destroy any US warplanes, especially B-52 bombers, and American warships if they trepass Iran’s borders, the FARS news agency reports.
In a letter to IRGC Aerospace Commander Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh signed by 840 university professors, they reportedly referred to him as the “Conquerer of Ayn al-Asad”, in an apparent nod to the IRGC Aerospace Force’s missile strikes on a US airbase in Iraq last year.
The raids came as retaliation for the assassination of the commander of the IRGC’s elite Quds Force, General Qasem Soleimani, who was killed in a US drone strike on his car near the Baghdad International Airport on 3 January 2020.
The document comes a week after the American military flew two strategic B-52 bombers to the Middle East from bases in the US, in what was the fourth such deployment and an apparent show of force by the US Air Force.
The statement followed President Donald Trump directing acting Secretary of Defence Christopher Miller to reverse course and order a US aircraft carrier to return to the…