TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran’s supreme leader said Friday that his country’s military is ready to deter any attack and warned enemies of the Islamic Republic to abandon any “thoughts of invasion.”
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s remarks came as tensions are rising in the region over a possible strike by Israel against Iran’s nuclear facilities.
The U.S. and its allies accuse Iran of using its civilian nuclear program as a cover to develop nuclear weapons. Tehran has denied the charges, saying its program is peaceful and geared toward generating electricity and producing radioisotopes to treat cancer patients.
“The readiness of the Iranian armed forces is such … it will deter the enemy from harboring any thoughts of invasion,” state TV quoted Khamenei as saying during a visit to a military base in the country’s northeast.
Israel has not ruled out a military option against Iran’s suspect program and has recently said that time is running out before Iran obtains a nuclear weapon. Israel considers a nuclear-armed Iran to be a threat to its existence, citing Iranian denials of the Holocaust, calls for Israel’s destruction, development of missiles capable of striking the Jewish state and its support for hostile Arab militant groups.
Washington and others favor a mix of sanctions and diplomacy to try to force Tehran to curb its nuclear program.
Khamenei, who has final say on all state matters in the country, said Iran “is not seeking to invade anyone but will not succumb to any attack or act of aggression.”
As Khamenei visited the base Friday, his host Gen. Mohmmad Ali Jafari of the powerful Revolutionary Guard said the troops’ naval and missile power has now been raised to a “strategic deterrence level.”
Iran has long sought a self-sufficient military program and top officials frequently make announcements about the country’s strides in military technology.
Tehran has recently said it has upgraded the accuracy of its missiles with a range of 2,000 kilometers (1,250 miles), which covers much of the Middle East, including Israel and U.S. bases in the Gulf.
However, it is virtually impossible to independently determine the actual capabilities or combat worthiness of Iran’s arsenal.
Separately, the foreign ministry said a recent U.N. report that condemned Tehran of “deeply troubling” human rights violations was politically motivated and influenced by western adversaries including the United States.
The report, obtained by The Associated Press on Thursday, said many of the government’s violations were “systemic in nature.” It also called for an extensive, impartial, and independent investigation into the violence in the months that followed the re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in 2009.
More Related Stories
- If Alex Pareene was a cable news executive...
- El Salvador court delays ruling on abortion case while woman's life hangs in the balance
- UK officials: Radical Islam behind London attack
- Pa. governor "can't find" any Latinos to work in his administration
- London machete attack could be linked to terrorism
- Conservative group blames military sexual assault on "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" repeal
- Lois Lerner, IRS disaster
- Donald Rumsfeld worried that marriage equality will lead to polygamy
- Experts: Fox News spying scandal a game-changer
- San Francisco Giant Jeremy Affeldt apologizes for homophobic past
- 9-year-old slams Rahm over Chicago schools
- Stockholm riots rage for third day
- Wall Street firm's "Golden Pitchbook" is totally sexist, full of lies
- Must-see morning clip: Toronto's eccentric and allegedly crack-smoking mayor
- Federal court strikes down Arizona abortion ban
- Jodi Arias: I deserve a second chance
- Oklahoma residents return home to pick up the pieces
- Florida man with connection to Tsarnaev killed by FBI
- FBI identifies 5 Benghazi suspects
- Here come the tornado truthers. Already
- Peace Corps to allow gay couples to volunteer together
Featured Slide Shows
The week in 10 picsclose X
- 1 of 11
Lisa Montgomery embraces her nephew Thursday after a tornado tore apart her home in Cleburne, Texas. The twister killed six people and destroyed entire swaths of the North Texas town.
Credit: AP/LM Otero
Jack McMahon, the defense attorney for abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell, speaks outside the Criminal Justice Center in Philadelphia Tuesday. His client was convicted of killing three babies in his clinic, and will serve multiple life sentences.
Credit: AP/Matt Rourke
A photo taken Monday captures Vice President Joe Biden's response to a Milwaukee second-grader's innovative proposal to end America's epidemic of gun violence. This guy!
Credit: AP/Jenny Aicher
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., flanked by a grouper-eyed Michele Bachmann, addresses the IRS' admission that it targeted Tea Party groups in advance of the 2012 election. In an op-ed for CNN Thursday, the Kentucky senator slammed the president for his faux outrage.
Credit: AP/Molly Riley
Ousted IRS chief Steven Miller is sworn in on Capitol Hill Friday. Miller testified before the House Ways and Means Committee on the extra scrutiny the agency gave conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status.
Credit: AP/J. Scott Applewhite
Attorney General Eric Holder pauses as he testifies on Capitol Hill before the House Judiciary Committee Wednesday. Holder is under fire, among other things, for the Justice Department's gathering of phone records at the Associated Press.
Credit: AP/Carolyn Kaster
O.J. Simpson sits during an evidentiary hearing at Clark County District Court in Las Vegas, Nev., Thursday. Simpson, who is currently serving a nine-to-33-year sentence in state prison for armed robbery and kidnapping, is using a writ of habeas corpus to seek a new trial.
Credit: AP/Las Vegas Review-Journal/Jeff Scheid
Major Tom to ground control: On Sunday astronaut Chris Hadfield recorded the first music video from space, a cover of David Bowie's "Space Oddity."
Credit: AP/NASA/Chris Hadfield
When it rains it pours. President Barack Obama speaks during a news conference Thursday with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, inexplicably inspiring an #umbrellagate Twitter meme.
Credit: AP/Jacquelyn Martin
A smoke plume rises high above a road block at the intersection of County A and Ross Road east of Solon Springs, Wis., Tuesday. No injuries were reported, but the the wildfire caused evacuations across northwestern Wisconsin.
Credit: AP/The Duluth News-Tribune/Clint Austin
Recent Slide Shows
- 1 of 11