Ahmadinejad Pledges to 'Cut The Hand of Any Aggressor'

Iran's hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad warned Tuesday Iran will "cut the hand of any aggressor" that threatens it, and insisted that Iran's military has to be equipped with the most modern technology.

"Today, you are among the world's most powerful armies because you rely on God," Ahmadinejad told a parade to commemorate Iran's Army Day.

"Iran's enemies know your courage, faith and commitment to Islam and the land of Iran has created a powerful army that can powerfully defend the political borders and ... cut the hand of any aggressor," Ahmadinejad said.

The president made the comments amid an escalating tension between Iran and the international community over Tehran's suspected nuclear activities.

The United States and some of its allies have accused Iran of using its civilian nuclear program as a cover to produce nuclear weapons. Iran has denied the charges, saying its nuclear program is geared toward generating electricity.

The U.N. Security Council has demanded that Iran cease enrichment work by a deadline of April 28. Ahmadinejad is adamant Tehran will press forward.

Officials of the United States, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany were to discuss the matter in Moscow later Tuesday.

Addressing military officers before an army parade in southern Tehran, Ahmadinejad said Iran's army "has to be constantly ready, equipped and powerful. It has to be equipped with the latest technologies, recognize the enemy and constantly be vigilant."

Iran's regular army is separate from the elite Revolutionary Guards that make up the backbone of the ruling Islamic establishment.

Ahmadinejad, however, said Iran's army will "serve peace and security for mankind especially the region and its neighbors."

"Power of our army will be no threat to any country," he said.

Ahmadinejad has engaged in a series of high-profile threatening statements since making the announcement last Tuesday that Iran has successfully enriched uranium, a significant step toward the large-scale production of the material that can be used to fuel nuclear reactors for generating electricity -- or to build atomic bombs.

Ahmadinejad rebuffed a request last week by Mohamed ElBaradei, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, that Iran suspend uranium enrichment, saying Tehran will not retreat "one iota."

To those opposed to that stance, he said, "Be angry at us and die of this anger."

On Friday, Ahmadinejad called Israel a "rotten, dried tree" that will be annihilated by "one storm." He previously angered many world leaders by calling for Israel to be "wiped off the map."