Hossein Salami, the deputy commander of the IRGC, said on Channel 2 TV (Iran) on February 2, 2019, that Iran has the experience and technological ability necessary to expand the stealth capabilities, destructive capacity, and range of its missile force, and that it has not done so only because of strategic considerations. Explaining that Iran's current defense strategy is one of deterrence and that this strategy is not fixed, Salami said that any desire on the part of Europe or other countries to disarm Iran of its missiles might give Iran no choice but to make a "strategic leap." He said: "Let no one negotiate with us, recommend anything to us, or request anything from us" with regard to Iran's missile program. Salami added that the Islamic Revolution has inspired and given confidence to other military powers in the Middle East and that it has connected them to Iran in terms of policy, strategy, and security. He also said that Iran's influence in the region is a matter of faith because the people and Iran share a conviction regarding a spirit of Jihad and of revolution against the tyrannical rule of the Zionists, the Americans, the terrorists, and the takfiris. In addition, Salami threatened Israel, saying that it is vulnerable and bringing itself closer to death. He said: "If Israel makes a mistake that sparks a new war, they can rest assured that this will bring about their elimination... They will be annihilated before the Americans get here. They should look for cemeteries outside of occupied Palestine."
Following are excerpts:
Hossein Salami: "We have valuable experience from our use of the missile force during the final years of the Iran-Iraq War and during the War of the Cities. We have valuable experience from the battles of the Muslim Palestinians and Lebanese against the Zionist entity and their confrontation with it. Therefore, the goal of our defense strategy is to create a constant deterring force.
"Fortunately, we do not have any technological obstacles preventing us from expanding our missile force. In other words, we can increase the precision of the missiles to 100%. With regard to missile fuel and propellants, as well as with regard to the warheads and their destructive power and the range of the missiles and their stealth capability – we are facing no technological obstacle.
"Nevertheless, we expand these tactical capabilities in accordance with strategic considerations. For example, when we limit the range of our missiles to a certain figure, we do so in keeping with strategies of defense and deterrence. We do this for strategic considerations, not technical ones."
Interviewer: "So if this strategy changes, the range of the missiles may be increased."
Hossein Salami: "This is what I am trying to say. This is why our strategy is not a fixed one. I want everybody who hears me... All the powers... I want them all to realize the new reality regarding the missile force of the Islamic Republic of Iran. No technical obstacles are preventing us from increasing the range, the precision, or the destructive power of our long-range missiles. This also applies to our powerful propellants. We are not facing any technical obstacles with any of these.
"Our defense strategy is not fixed. It may change in accordance with the behavior of the other players. What does this mean? It means that if the Europeans or anyone else want to disarm Iran of its missile power – as part of some conspiracy – we will have no choice but to opt for a strategic leap. Are you following me? I don't want to elaborate about the term 'strategic leap.' I don't want to open this up. But we can change all the factors in order to expand this force both in terms of geography and in terms of technology. We advise everybody: When it comes to the missile force of the Islamic Republic of Iran – which is one of the pillars of our deterrence in the face of modern threats – let no one negotiate with us, recommend anything to us, or request anything from us. Let us develop this force in keeping with the nature of our defense policy. They should not force us to modify the balance of deterrence.
"The Americans have always acted in an amateur fashion. This indicates a decline in their political wisdom. They have made us grow stronger. Thus, they have paved the way for the expansion of the regional influence and political brilliance of our revolution and regime. The need for security among the countries that have aligned with us on the issue of the resistance and of the protection of the security of the Islamic world as an integral geographical territory required us to expand the ramparts of the resistance beyond our geographical borders. Obviously, we are not talking about physical ramparts. We are talking about the lessons and the inspiration of the Islamic Revolution and about the regime's spiritual support of our other military powers in the region. This gave them the necessary confidence and created auxiliary forces in those countries. We had to restrain the danger in distant areas lest it come near us. This mutual will and strategy, and the need shared by us and the countries of the region, connected us in terms of policies, geography, strategy, and security. A [new] front was created. This front made the Americans fail this time as well.
"The essence of the presence and regional influence of Iran is such that it cannot be diminished. This is not the kind of presence and influence America has in the region."
Interviewer: "You mean to say that the people have assimilated this?"
Hossein Salami: "Yes, this is a matter of faith. The spirit of Jihad and the revolution against the rule of tyranny – against the Zionists, the Americans, the terrorism, and the takfiris – is the internal conviction of the people of the region, and it has taken the form of physical patterns of power. Nobody can eliminate this expansion, connection, influence, and presence.
"When the Zionist regime sees that the strategy for its elimination from the world's political geography has crystallized and that the capacity to implement this strategy has also crystallized, it wishes to change the strategic balance with a series of blind tactical actions."
Interviewer: "Like Operation Northern Shield..."
Hossein Salami: "Well said. We warn the Zionist regime: You are vulnerable and you lack strategic depth.
"We are warning them: You are bringing yourselves closer to death. The whole world knows this. A limited war against us will never remain limited. Everybody knows this. Perhaps others will start something against us, but they know that the continuation and the end will be at our hand. If the Israelis make a mistake that sparks a new war, they can rest assured that this war will bring about their elimination. They should not rely on the Americans. They will be annihilated before the Americans get here. They should look for cemeteries outside of occupied Palestine."