TEHRAN, Iran – Hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Sunday that Iran's military will "break the hand" of any aggressor that target his country's nuclear facilities.
Addressing a military parade broadcast live on state television, he said: "If anyone allows himself to commit even a tiny offense against Iran's legitimate interests, borders and sacred land, our armed forces will break his hand before he pulls the trigger."
The phrase "legitimate interests" is Iranian parlance for the country's nuclear program, which the West says is a cover for a nuclear weapon program. Iran, which denies the charge, already is under three sets of sanctions by the U.N. Security Council over its nuclear program.
Washington and its Western allies are pushing for quick passage of a fourth set of sanctions to underline the international community's resolve.
But Ahmadinejad said Sunday that sanctions only help Iran achieve self-sufficiency.
"Those who once imposed sanctions, today should open their eyes and see our nation's technical achievements."
Both the United States and its ally Israel say they support a diplomatic solution to the nuclear standoff with Iran but cannot rule out the military option.
"Today, Iran is not in a position to show softness toward its enemies," said Ahmadinejad, but added that threats made against Iran's nuclear facilities amounted to only "psychological warfare."
Sunday's parade marked the start in 1980 of Iran's ruinous eight-year war with neighboring Iraq.
During the parade, state television showed various types of Iranian-made missiles, including Shahab-3 and Ghadr. Also taking part in the parade was a military truck that carried a huge banner saying "Israel should be eliminated from the universe" in both English and Farsi.