LONDON (Reuters) – President Hassan Rouhani said on Thursday that Iranian armed forces were not a threat against any regional country, as Tehran held an Army Day military parade to unveil its latest military equipment.
In a ceremony in Tehran, broadcast live on state television, marching soldiers passed a podium where Rouhani and top military commanders were standing, and locally-designed and produced fighter jets took part in an air display.
Iran also unveil missiles, submarines, armoured vehicles, radars and electronic warfare systems.
“I want to tell the regional countries that the armed forces of the Islamic Republic of Iran are not against you and your national interests. They stand against invaders… The roots of our problems are the Zionist regime and American imperialism,” Rouhani said.
Iran has two armies, a regular one which operates as a national defensive force, and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps that was created after the 1979 revolution to protect the Islamic Republic against both internal and external adversaries.
The United States officially designated the Revolutionary Guards as a foreign terrorist organisation on Monday, an unprecedented move which was condemned by Iran and created concerns about reprisal attacks on U.S. forces.
Rouhani called the U.S. move against the Guards “abhorrent” and said “Insulting the Revolutionary Guards is an insult to all (Iranian) armed forces, and an insult to Iranian great nation.”
Iran’s army has the biggest ground force in Iran and Revolutionary Guards is in control of a growing arsenal of ballistic missiles.
Separately, Iran and Oman held a joint naval exercise and performed maritime rescue operations in the Gulf, Fars news agency reported on Thursday.
(Reporting by Bozorgmehr Sharafedin; Editing by Michael Perry)