Iran Quds Force chief defies US, says ready to die

By the Associated Press | November 26, 2011 | 4:05 AM EST

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — The chief of Iran's elite Quds Force says he doesn't fear U.S. threats of assassination and is ready for "martyrdom", warning Washington of serious consequences if it does not stop threatening the Islamic Republic.

The comments by Quds Force commander Brig. Gen. Ghassem Soleimani were published in several Iranian newspapers Saturday.

The force is a unit within the country's powerful Revolutionary Guard.

Tensions have increased in recent weeks between Iran and the U.S., with several American neoconservatives urging the Obama administration to use covert action against Iran and kill some of its top officials, including Soleimani.

Two men, including an alleged member of Iran's Quds Force, have been charged in New York federal court with conspiring to kill the Saudi ambassador to the U.S.