Iran would take pre-emptive action against its enemies if it felt its national interests were endangered, the deputy head of the Islamic Republic’s armed forces was quoted by a semi-official news agency as saying Tuesday.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad visiting Tehran’s nuclear reactor on Feb. 15.
“Our strategy now is that if we feel our enemies want to endanger Iran’s national interests, and want to decide to do that, we will act without waiting for their actions,” Mohammad Hejazi told the Fars news agency, NBC News reported.
Iran announced air defense war games to practice protecting nuclear and other sensitive sites, the latest in a series of military maneuvers viewed as a message to the West that Iran is prepared both to defend itself against an armed strike and to retaliate.
The U.S. and Israel have not ruled out military action against Iran’s nuclear program.
The official news agency IRNA said the four-day air defense war games, dubbed “Sarallah,” or “God’s Revenge,” were taking place in the south of the country and involve anti-aircraft batteries, radar, and warplanes.
The drill will be held over 73,000 square miles near the port of Bushehr, the site of Iran’s lone nuclear power plant.
Iran has held multiple air, land, and sea maneuvers in recent months as the tensions increase.
Hejazi’s remarks came as an Iran Foreign Ministry spokesman said Tuesday that a United Nations’ team visiting Iran had no plans to inspect the country’s nuclear facilities and would only hold talks with officials in Tehran.