Beware our fiery wrath, Iran warns foes

22 Sep 2005 07:29:02 GMT

TEHRAN, Sept 22 (Reuters) - To cries of "God is Great" Iran showed off its military might on Thursday and warned potential aggressors that the Islamic state would vigorously repel any attack.

The military parade, to mark the anniversary of the start of the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq war, coincided with mounting Western pressure on Iran to abandon a nuclear programme which it says is peaceful but Washington fears may be used to make atomic bombs.

"We have always said we want friendly relations with other countries," said President Mamhoud Ahmadinejad, addressing his first military parade since taking office last month.

"(But) those who decide to misuse our nation's honour and dignity and want to test what has been tested in the past, should know that the flames of the nation's wrath are very hot and destructive," he added.

Ahmadinejad said Iran's enemies had learned a lesson from the eight-year war during which Iran and Iraq fought each other to a standstill and hundreds of thousands were killed.

"Iran's enemies understood that the nation is very serious in defending the country's security, integrity, and the achievements of the (1979 Islamic) revolution," he said.

As in previous years the highlight of the parade, which included tanks, jets and troops, were six huge trailer-mounted Shahab-3 ballistic missiles, capable of hitting Israel, U.S. bases in the Gulf and parts of southeastern Europe.

"If the Global Arrogance wants to attack Iran ... (it) will destroy their countries with these missiles," the parade announcer said.

"God is Great!" the announcer cried repeatedly as the missiles trundled past the presidential viewing platform.

Some of the missiles, which have a range of 1,250 miles (2,000 km), bore banners proclaiming "Israel should be wiped off the map" and "We will trample America under our feet".

Washington broke ties with Iran shortly after the 1979 revolution and the Islamic state officially refuses to recognise Israel's right to exist.

U.S. and Israeli officials have said they believe Iran intends to use its Shahab-3 to carry nuclear warheads. Iran says the missiles are equipped with conventional payloads and would be used only if Iran came under military attack.