A commander in Iran's Revolutionary Guards said on Friday that US regional bases and its aircraft carrier in the Gulf are within the range of Iranian precision-guided missiles, Reuters reported.
"US forces in the region were a threat, but they are now an opportunity (for Iran)... They do not talk about war with Iran, because they know how susceptible they are," said the head of the Guards' aerospace division, Amirali Hajizadeh, according to the report.
Hajizadeh also claimed that Iran refrained from shooting down a US plane with 35 people on board that was accompanying the downed drone in the Gulf.
“With the US drone in the region there was also an American P-8 plane with 35 people on board. This plane also entered our airspace and we could have shot it down, but we did not,” he said, according to Reuters.
US officials have denied that the drone that was downed by Iran this week had entered Iranian airspace and stated that the drone was shot down in international airspace over the Strait of Hormuz.
On Thursday, the Pentagon released an image showing the flight path for the drone that was shot down, in an effort to prove that the it had been shot down in international airspace.
Earlier, Iran had filed a complaint against the US, claiming the drone was on a spy mission over its territory and was shot down in Iranian airspace.
The drone incident came amid already growing tensions in the region. Before that incident, the Pentagon said that the latest deployment of 1,000 additional troops to the Middle East will include a Patriot missile battalion, manned and unmanned surveillance aircraft and “other deterrence capabilities.”
“The United States does not seek conflict with Iran, but we are postured and ready to defend US forces and interests in the region,” a Pentagon spokeswoman said in a statement.
The US deployment was announced by the Pentagon following last week’s attacks on two tankers as they were passing through the Gulf of Oman.
The US blamed the attacks on Iran, which denied responsibility.