TEHRAN, Iran – President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Wednesday that U.N. sanctions slapped on his nation over its nuclear program had no effect on Iran's armed forces, claiming that his military was self-sufficient.
"Some bullying powers imagined that by implementing sanctions they would weaken our army, (but) today our army is self-sufficient and secures its needs in general," Ahmadinejad said in a speech in Tehran marking National Army Day.
After decades of reliance on foreign weapons purchases, Iran's military has been working to boost its domestic production of armaments.
Since 1992, it has produced its own tanks, armored personnel carriers, missiles and a fighter plane. It announced in 2005 that it had begun production of torpedoes.
Iran's military had a defensive and deterrent role, Ahmadinejad said in his Wednesday address, but it "will counter any invader and cut off its hand."
He delivered his address standing under a large banner declaring: "Peaceful nuclear technology is an essential need of our country."
A military parade that followed his speech included the display for the first time of a locally manufactured air defense system said by the announcer to have the capability of simultaneously launching two surface-to-air missiles.
The U.N. Security Council has set a deadline of late May for Iran to halt its uranium enrichment program, warning it will gradually ratchet up its sanctions after imposing limited ones in December and strengthening them slightly last month.
The latest sanctions ban Iranian arms exports and freeze the assets of 28 individuals and companies involved in Iran's nuclear or ballistic missile programs.
Iran denies charges by the U.S. and some of its allies that it is secretly developing nuclear weapons and Ahmadinejad warned Monday that Iran would respond to additional U.N. sanctions with new nuclear advances.
He did not specify how Iran planned to do that.