Iran hails military achievements

Last Updated: Sun, Sep 22, 2013 22:30 hrs

Tehran, Sep 23 (IANS) Iran marked the 33rd anniversary of the Iran-Iraq war Sunday with President Hassan Rouhani saying that military achievements were serving as the deterrent tools at the hands of Iranian authorities.

The country's armed forces, the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) and the Basij militia voluntary forces, took part in the large-scale military parade to display the country's military power at the ceremony, Xinhua reported.

Iran's ballistic missiles, solid-fuel Sajjil missiles and other medium and short-range missiles, as well as electronic warfare equipment, were showcased during the parade.

The Iran-Iraq war, lasting from September 1980-August 1988, ended at a great cost of lives and economic damage to the two countries. Half a million Iraqi and Iranian soldiers as well as civilians are believed to have died in the war.

Addressing the ceremony, Rouhani said the military might of Iran is used as deterring tools and his country will respond firmly to any aggression.

"The Islamic republic and its armed forces are not a threat to the neighbours," he said, adding that those who violated the international regulations and compiled chemical and nuclear weapons are threats to the region.

The Iranian president urged the West to accept Iran's nuclear enrichment rights, reiterating that Iran has no intention to develop the weapons of mass destruction and is pursuing social and economic development instead.

"Enrichment inside Iran and within the international rules and conventions should be endorsed" by Western powers, said Rouhani.

The president also reasserted Iran's longtime position that nuclear enrichment is the "inalienable right" of the country.

"Iran is ready to have dialogue with the West provided that there is no re-condition for the talks," he said.

"The negotiations should be based on the equal footing and mutual respect ... and they should accept all the rights of the Iranians including the nuclear and enrichment rights," said the Iranian president.

His words came ahead of his planned address to the UN General Assembly Tuesday in New York on a number of issues, including the sensitive nuclear programme.

Meanwhile, the IRGC said in a statement Saturday that the "righteous demands" of the Iranians should top the agenda of any interaction with the US.

The Iranian officials should be "fully cognizant" of the recent diplomatic poses of the US in interaction with the Islamic republic, said the statement in a reference to the potential negotiations between the two countries over a number of disputes.

"The historical experience makes it necessary for the country's (Iran) diplomatic apparatus (foreign ministry) to be simultaneously cognizant and skeptic about the behavior of the White House authorities," said the statement, adding "so that in this grave juncture the righteous demands of the Iranian nation could be respected as it deserves."

The IRGC is ready to support and assist the government in this regard, the statement added.

Rouhani echoed earlier remarks saying that Iranian military forces are not interfering in political affairs and the elected politicians of the country should bear the responsibility of dealing with such issues.

In response, the West has cautiously welcomed Iran's calls for engagement and urged the Islamic republic to observe the world's concerns over its sensitive nuclear programme.

Rouhani has asked the Iranian foreign ministry and Foreign Minister Mohammad-Javad Zarif to lead the upcoming nuclear negotiations with the P5+1, namely the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany.

Both Iran's new government and the world powers have shown interest of resuming nuclear talks after the last round of negotiations, which were held in Almaty, Kazakhstan, in April ended without tangible results.

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