Iran's President Hassan Rouhani said Iran would make or buy any weapons it needed to defend itself in a region beset by "invading powers," as the military paraded missiles and soldiers in front of him on National Army Day.
Fighter jets and bombers flew overhead as Rouhani told the Tehran crowd and a live TV audience yesterday that Iran's forces posed no threat to its neighbors.
"We tell the world that we will produce or acquire any weapons we need, and will not wait for their approval. ... We tell our neighboring countries that our weapons are not against you, it's for deterrence," Rouhani said, as reported by Reuters.
"We are not living in a normal region, and we see invading powers have built bases around us. Disregarding the principles of international law, they intervene in regional affairs and invade other countries without U.N. permission," Rouhani added.
U.S., British and French forces pounded Iran's ally Syria with air strikes early on Saturday in retaliation for a suspected April 7 chemical weapons attack, which they blame on Bashar al-Assad's regime.
Britain, France and Germany have proposed fresh EU sanctions on Iran over its ballistic missiles and its role in Syria's war in a bid to persuade U.S. President Donald Trump to preserve the 2015 nuclear deal with Tehran. The 2015 agreement between Iran and the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China obliged Tehran to scale down its nuclear program to prevent the development of nuclear weapons. Western sanctions were lifted in return. The deal, which was negotiated during the Obama administration, limits Iran's enrichment and stockpiling of material that could be applied to a nuclear weapons program. In exchange, Tehran was granted widespread relief from international trade, oil and banking sanctions.
Trump has delivered an ultimatum to the European signatories to fix what he saw as the "terrible flaws" of the deal, threatening to refuse to extend U.S. sanctions relief on Iran. U.S. sanctions will resume unless Trump issues fresh "waivers" to suspend them on May 12.
The Trump administration has vowed to confront Iran much more aggressively in the region where it shares the Saudi view that Tehran is fomenting instability via a number of proxies in Lebanon, Syria and Yemen among other countries. Tehran denies the allegations. Referring to Iran as "the number one terrorist state," Trump said the Middle Eastern country supplies money and weapons to terrorist groups. The Trump administration hit the ground running, re-imposing sanctions against Iran in its first weeks in office and also instating restrictions against those who are complicit with Tehran.