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Iran Marks Anniversary of War with Iraq, Shows off Military Muscle | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Members of the Iranian Army participate in a parade in Tehran September 22, 2015. REUTERS/Raheb Homavandi/TIMA

London–On the 36th anniversary of the first Gulf War, Iranian military leaders flexed their muscles, launching threats and stressing their influence in five Arab states, including Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen and Palestine.

Iran’s latest military hardware was displayed in a parade in Tehran on Wednesday to mark the anniversary of the 1980 invasion by Iraq.

Tanks, missiles and the Russian-made S-300 air defense system were some of the military units that were put on show at the parade, which took place in front of the mausoleum of Iran’s spiritual leader Ayatollah Khomeini.

Major General Mohammad Hossein Baqeri, Chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces, said that Iran’s “brothers in faith” in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen and Palestine were benefiting from the Persian state’s experiences during the first Gulf War.

Parades were held across the county and in the port of Bandar Abbas on the Arab Gulf. Around 500 vessels, submarines and helicopters were put on show.

Among the weapons displayed was the new long-range “Zolfaqar” ballistic missile, named after a legendary sword said to have been given by the Prophet Mohammed to Imam Ali. Also on display was the Qadr H missile, which has a range of 2,000 km, according to state TV.

Baqeri reiterated Iran’s version of the first Gulf war, noting that his country wanted peace. He also accused the United States, France, the former Soviet Union and other countries at that time of forming an international coalition to support Iraq in its war against the Persian state.

Baqeri inaugurated the traditional military parade, representing Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, who is currently in New York, where he is attending the 71st United Nations General Assembly.

For his part, Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Ali Shamkhani warned Iran’s “enemies” to keep distance from the country’s borders or wait for a crushing response.

“We have always been and are a peace-seeking nation but this doesn’t mean at all that we tolerate oppression, rather we will respond to any aggression powerfully,” Shamkhani was quoted as saying by local media outlets.

“We have never intended to make any aggression, but will give a powerful response to any aggressor,” he added.

Shamkhani said his country did not welcome war, but added that “defense is needed under any circumstances.”