AFP: Iran warned Western powers Friday that its armed forces would hit back “like lightning” against any attack on the country as it crowed over its military prowess at a major army parade. TEHRAN, Sept 22, 2006 (AFP) – Iran warned Western powers Friday that its armed forces would hit back “like lightning” against any attack on the country as it crowed over its military prowess at a major army parade.
“We want peace but we warn the expansionists not to think of an aggression against Iran as we can defend the fatherland and Islam,” Vice President Parviz Davoodi said.
“Our lions are so powerful that they can strike the enemy like lightning and destroy him,” he added.
The comments of Davoodi — standing in for President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad who has yet to return from his visit to the United Nations in New York — come at a time of mounting tension over Tehran’s contested nuclear programme.
The United States has never ruled out using force to bring Iran to heel over its atomic drive and is leading a push for sanctions after the Islamic republic refused to obey a deadline to halt sensitive nuclear operations.
Thousands of soldiers clutching their rifles marched past Davoodi and other dignitaries to the sound of martial music in an event that has become Iran’s most significant annual display of its military might.
The parade, which marks the anniversary of the outbreak of the Iran-Iraq war in 1980, took place just opposite the mausoleum built for Iran’s revolutionary leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini on the outskirts of Tehran.
“Our armed forces have no need for their power to be based on atomic weapons, this power is based on our convictions,” said Davoodi, restating Tehran’s denial of US allegations it is seeking nuclear weapons.
He also played up the importance of major war games that Iran has staged in the past month which has seen it claim the development of new missiles and war planes.
“In the recent manoeuvres the armed forces showed their power, notably in the areas that were once the monopoly of the great powers,” said Davoodi.