Rohani Says Iran Will Acquire Any Weapons It Needs For 'Deterrence'
RFE/RL April 18, 2018
Iran will make or buy any weapons it needs for "deterrence" but means no harm toward its neighbors, President Hassan Rohani has said at a military parade in Tehran on National Army Day.
"We tell the world that we will produce or acquire any weapons we need and will not wait for their approval," Rohani said on April 18, as fighter jets and bombers flew overhead and soldiers paraded in front of him.
"We want friendly and brotherly relations with our neighbors, and we tell them that our weapons, our equipment, our missiles, our planes, our tanks are not against you, it is for deterrence," he added.
"We are not living in a normal region, and we see invading powers have built bases around us," Rohani said.
U.S., British and French forces last week launched air strikes against Iran's ally, Syria, in retaliation for a suspected chemical-weapons attack that they blame on President Bashar al-Assad's government.
"Disregarding the principles of international law, they interfere in regional affairs and invade other countries without UN approval," Rohani added.
"The only way to resolve the region's issues is political negotiation and peaceful behavior," Rohani said.
Britain, France, and Germany have proposed new EU sanctions on Iran over its ballistic-missile program and its support for Assad, in an effort to convince U.S. President Donald Trump to preserve a landmark 2015 agreement that placed curbs on Tehran's nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief.
Trump has urged the European signatories of the deal to rectify what he calls its "terrible flaws." If they do not, he has threatened to pull the United States out of the deal by declining to extend U.S. sanctions relief, which would expire on May 12 unless he agrees to fresh "waivers" to suspend the measures.
Iran's regional rival Saudi Arabia has accused Tehran of seeking to dominate the Middle East, while Israel has voiced concern over the growing presence of Iranian forces along its borders and has recently launched air strikes against Iranian positions in Syria. Rohani made no specific mention of Iran's foe Israel.
Based on reporting by Reuters, AP, and AFP
Copyright (c) 2018. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.
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