Reuters: Iran told Western powers on Saturday they would regret any attack over Tehran’s nuclear activities and it rolled out a display of missiles and other military hardware to back the warning. By Hossein Jaseb and Fredrik Dahl
TEHRAN (Reuters) – Iran told Western powers on Saturday they would regret any attack over Tehran’s nuclear activities and it rolled out a display of missiles and other military hardware to back the warning.
“Our message to the enemies is: Do not do it,” the head of Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards, Mohammad Ali Jafari, said, speaking to reporters less than a week after France’s foreign minister publicly raised the prospect of war.
“They will regret it, as they are regretting it in Iraq,” the commander added, speaking on the sidelines of an annual military parade just outside the capital.
The Islamic Republic put on show medium-range missiles it has said could reach Israel and U.S. bases in the Gulf at the parade marking the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war.
Three Saegheh jet fighters, a new generation of domestically produced, flew overhead.
Iran is embroiled in a standoff with the West over its atomic ambition, which the United States says is to make bombs but which Tehran says is solely for generating electricity.
Washington has said it wants a diplomatic resolution to the dispute but has not ruled out military action if that fails.
French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner last Sunday raised the specter of war, but has since backed away from the comment.
Iran, the world’s fourth-largest oil producer, has threatened to hit back at regional U.S. interests if attacked.
Jafari’s words of defiance came a day after major powers, meeting in Washington, said they had “serious and constructive” talks about new U.N. Security Council sanctions aimed at trying to force Iran to halt its sensitive nuclear program.
The officials of the five permanent Security Council members and Germany said they will keep pursuing a “dual track” approach to Iran — trying to persuade it to abandon such activities via negotiations while considering new sanctions.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, addressing the parade, made clear Tehran would not bow to Western pressure.
“Those who think, that by using such decayed tools as psychological warfare and economic sanctions, they can stop the Iranian nation’s progress are making a mistake,” he said.
The Islamic Republic showed among its weaponry a type of missile it has said could reach 2,000 km (1,250 miles) — enabling it to hit Israel and U.S. bases in the region.
But the television commentator said Shahab-3 had a range of 1,300 km (812 miles). Another missile at the parade, Ghadr-1, can reach targets 1,800 km (1,125 miles) away, he said. It was believed to be the first time it has been shown publicly.
Troops, tanks and anti-aircraft guns passed in front of the podium. One truck carried the words “Death to America”.
Parachutists dropped from a helicopter over the parade area near the tomb of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the inspiration of the 1979 Islamic revolution and founder of the Islamic Republic.
Asked how Iran would respond if any country allowed its territory to be used as a base for an attack, Jafari said: “You have seen the missiles — just pull the trigger and shoot.”