Iran boasts again it can 'easily' hit US warships
DUBAI - Iran said on Friday it could "easily" hit US warships in the Gulf, the latest in days of sabre-rattling between Washington and Tehran.
Tensions have escalated in recent days, with growing concerns about a potential US-Iran conflict. Earlier this week the United States pulled some diplomatic staff from its embassy in Baghdad following weekend attacks on four oil tankers in the Gulf.
"Even our short-range missiles can easily reach (US) warships in the Gulf," Mohammad Saleh Jokar, the deputy for parliamentary affairs of the elite Revolutionary Guards (IRGC), was quoted by Fars news agency as saying.
"America cannot afford the costs of a new war, and the country is in a bad situation in terms of manpower and social conditions," he added.
Washington has increased economic sanctions and built up its military presence in the region, alleging threats from Iran to its troops and interests. Tehran has described those steps as "psychological warfare" and a "political game".
Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said this week Tehran would not negotiate another nuclear deal after Washington last year quit a 2015 international pact that put curbs on Iran's nuclear programme in exchange for the lifting of international sanctions.
Trump wants the economic pressure to force Tehran to accept tougher curbs on its nuclear and missile programs and on its support for proxies in Iraq, Syria and Yemen. He has said publicly he wants to pursue diplomacy after quitting the deal and moving to cut all Iranian oil exports.