Iran’s leader warned Saturday that any U.S. attack on his country would have grave consequences for the entire oil-rich Gulf region.
The comments by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the country’s top religious and political authority, followed a report that the United States would retaliate if it found evidence of Iranian involvement in a bombing in eastern Saudi Arabia in June that killed 19 U.S. airmen and injured scores.
“It seems that the United States is trying to strike a blow against the Iranian nation,” said Khamenei in a speech to the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, Iran’s main fighting force.
“It should know that the region can have tranquillity only when Iran has tranquillity,” said Khamenei in remarks broadcast on the state-run radio.
Referring to the United States as Satan, he issued a veiled warning against Saudi Arabia and the oil-rich sheikdoms across the Gulf from Iran, saying that trouble for his country would mean trouble for them.
There are about 25,000 U.S. servicemen, including 15,000 sailors, in the region.
Thursday, the Los Angeles Times reported that the Clinton administration is considering several retaliatory measures against Iran, including military strikes, if officials determine that it was involved in the June attack.
But White House press secretary Mike McCurry said Clinton won’t consider any steps until the Saudi investigation of the bombing is over.