TEHRAN, Iran, (AP) – Threats and economic sanctions will not stop Iran’s technological progress, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad warned Saturday at a large parade of missiles and other weapons aimed at showing off the country’s military might.
The parade outside the capital Tehran marked the 27th anniversary of the Iraqi invasion of Iran that sparked the bloody 1980-88 war. It also came as the U.S. and its European allies continue discussing a third round of U.N. Security Council sanctions against Iran for its refusal to suspend uranium enrichment.
“Those (countries) who assume that decaying methods such as psychological war, political propaganda and the so-called economic sanctions would work and prevent Iran’s fast drive toward progress are mistaken,” said Ahmadinejad, who is due to visit New York next week for the U.N. General Assembly.
Iran launched an arms development program during its war with Iraq to compensate for a U.S. weapons embargo. Since 1992, Iran has produced its own jet fighters, torpedoes, radar-avoiding missiles, tanks and armored personnel carriers. Many such weapons were on display at the parade.
Some of the trucks carrying Iranian missiles were painted at the back with popular slogans such as “Down with the U.S.” and “Down with Israel.” The parade also featured flights by two of Iran’s new domestically manufactured fighter jets, known as the Saegheh, which means lightning in Farsi.
Iran says it has managed to weather a broader U.S. embargo for 28 years, and while many Iranians acknowledge some hardships, they credit the embargo with making them more self-reliant.
“Those who prevented Iran, at the height of the (Iran-Iraq) war from getting even barbed wire must see now that all the equipment on display today has been built by the mighty hands and brains of experts at Iran’s armed forces,” Ahmadinejad said.
“Learn lessons from your past mistakes. Don’t repeat your mistakes,” he said in a warning to the U.S. over its push to impose more sanctions against Tehran.
The U.S. is calling for more economic sanctions against Iran after two sets were imposed by the U.N. Security Council for Iran’s decision not to stop uranium enrichment.
Washington accuses Tehran of secretly trying to develop nuclear weapons. Iran denies the charges, saying its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes, including generating electricity.