Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei told Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards on Sunday to develop more advanced and modern weapons, amid increasingly tense disputes with the United States and Gulf Arab states, Reuters reported.
Tensions in the Gulf have risen to new highs since May 2018, when the Trump administration withdrew from a 2015 international nuclear accord with Tehran that put limits on its nuclear program in exchange for the easing of sanctions.
As U.S. sanctions have been reimposed, there have been a series of attacks in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf that Washington and its allies have blamed on Iran, which denies responsibility.
“The Guards should have advanced and modern weapons … Your weapons should be modern and updated. It should be developed at home. You need to develop and produce your weapons,” Khamenei said in a speech at Imam Hossein Military University in Tehran.
“Today the Guards have a powerful presence inside and outside Iran … America’s hostile approach has increased the Guards’ greatness,” Khamenei said, according to state TV.
Washington and Riyadh have accused Iran of being behind attacks on Saudi oil facilities on September 14, which temporarily knocked out half of Saudi oil output.