TEHRAN, Iran – Threats and economic sanctions will not stop Iran's technological progress, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad warned Saturday at a large parade featuring fighter jets and radar-avoiding missiles designed to show off the country's military might.
"Those (countries) who assume that decaying methods such as psychological war, political propaganda and the so-called economic sanctions would work and prevent Iran's fast drive toward progress are mistaken," Ahmadinejad said at the parade.
Ahmadinejad comments come as discussions continue by the United States and its European allies over a third round of U.N. Security Council sanctions against Iran for its refusal to suspend uranium enrichment.
The military parade outside the capital Tehran marked the 27th anniversary of the Iraqi invasion of Iran that sparked the bloody 1980-88 war. Iran used the parade to display its latest weapons, including radar-avoiding missiles, super-fast torpedoes, unmanned surveillance drones, battle tanks and other domestically produced weapons.
Some of the trucks carrying Iranian missiles were painted at the back the popular slogans: "Down with the U.S." and "Down with Israel."
The parade also featured flights by two of Iran's new domestically manufactured fighter jets, known as the Saegheh, which means lightening in Farsi.
Iran says it has weathered a U.S. embargo for 28 years, and while many Iranians acknowledge some hardships caused by the embargo, they credit it with making them more self-reliant.
"Those who prevented Iran, at the height of the (1980-88 Iran-Iraq) war from getting even barbed wire must see now that all the equipment on display today has been built by the mighty hands and brain of experts at Iran's armed forces," Ahmadinejad said.
"Learn lessons from your past mistakes. Don't repeat your mistakes," he said in a warning to the United States over its push to impose more sanctions against Tehran.
Iran launched an arms development program during its 1980-88 war with Iraq to compensate for a U.S. weapons embargo. Since 1992, Iran has produced its own jet fighters, torpedoes, radar-avoiding missiles, tanks and armored personnel carriers.
The U.S. is calling for more economic sanctions against Iran after two sets were imposed by the U.N. Security Council for Iran's decision not to stop uranium enrichment. Washington accuses Tehran of secretly trying to develop nuclear weapons. Iran denies the charges, saying it nuclear program is for peaceful purposes including generating electricity.