Iran president issues chilling warning to the west as he shows off nation’s military might

Iran‘s president has warned the West to ‘stay away’ while showing his country’s strength during a military parade.

President Hassan Rouhani denounced the presence of foreign forces in the Gulf and said Iran will put forward a peace plan, after arch-foe the United States ordered reinforcements to the region.

His speech came as he and top military brass saluted row after row of soldiers marching past them in tight unison in front of the shrine of Ayatollah Khomeini in Tehran today.

The parade showcased tanks, armoured vehicles, drones and missiles – including the Khorramshahr which is said to have a range of 2,000 kilometres (more than 1,200 miles). 

In his speech, Rouhani called on the foreign powers to ‘stay away’ from the Gulf and said that if they’re ‘sincere, then they should not make our region the site of an arms race. Your presence has always brought pain and misery.’

He added: ‘The farther you keep yourselves from our region and our nations, the more security there will be.’

Rows and rows of soldiers marched in Tehran, Iran, today to mark the Iraqi invasion in 1980, which led to an eight-year-long war. President Hassan Rouhani denounced the presence of foreign forces in the Gulf during a speech at the event

Rows and rows of soldiers marched in Tehran, Iran, today to mark the Iraqi invasion in 1980, which led to an eight-year-long war. President Hassan Rouhani denounced the presence of foreign forces in the Gulf during a speech at the event

Rows and rows of soldiers marched in Tehran, Iran, today to mark the Iraqi invasion in 1980, which led to an eight-year-long war. President Hassan Rouhani denounced the presence of foreign forces in the Gulf during a speech at the event

The annual parade showcased tanks, drones and missiles - including the Khorramshahr which is said to have a range of 2,000 kilometres

The annual parade showcased tanks, drones and missiles - including the Khorramshahr which is said to have a range of 2,000 kilometres

The annual parade showcased tanks, drones and missiles – including the Khorramshahr which is said to have a range of 2,000 kilometres

As well as denouncing the presence of foreign powers, Rouhani said Iran would present a peace plan to the United Nations within days. Pictured is a missile during the parade in front of the shrine of Ayatollah Khomeini

As well as denouncing the presence of foreign powers, Rouhani said Iran would present a peace plan to the United Nations within days. Pictured is a missile during the parade in front of the shrine of Ayatollah Khomeini

As well as denouncing the presence of foreign powers, Rouhani said Iran would present a peace plan to the United Nations within days. Pictured is a missile during the parade in front of the shrine of Ayatollah Khomeini

He continued: ‘We are even ready to ignore their past mistakes… since today the situation is such that the enemies of Islam and the region, meaning America and Zionism, want to abuse the rift between us.

‘Our logic is the logic of a Persian Gulf whose security comes from within. Foreign forces can cause problems and insecurity for our people and for our region.’ 

It comes as news that the Swedish-owned and British-flagged oil tanker the Stena Impero, which is being held by Iran in the Gulf, is to be released two months after it was seized amid heightened tensions in the region.

‘We received information this morning indicating that the ship Stena Impero is going to be released in a few hours,’ Erik Hanell, the chief executive of the Stena Bulk company that owns the ship, told Swedish television SVT. 

The ship has been held offshore near Bandar Abbas. Iranian forces seized the British-flagged Stena Impero on July 19 as it was navigating through an international passage in the Strait of Hormuz at the entrance of the Gulf.

Tehran denied the seizure was a tit-for-tat move after British commandos seized an Iranian oil tanker on July 4 as it passed through Gibraltar’s waters, under suspicion it was breaking EU sanctions on oil deliveries to Syria.

The military parade today marked the 39th anniversary of the start of the eight-year war with Iraq that began when Saddam Hussein invaded Iran in 1980 and is known as the ‘sacred defence’. 

President Rouhani, pictured today, called on foreign powers to 'stay away' from the Gulf, saying: 'The farther you keep yourselves from our region and our nations, the more security there will be'

President Rouhani, pictured today, called on foreign powers to 'stay away' from the Gulf, saying: 'The farther you keep yourselves from our region and our nations, the more security there will be'

President Rouhani, pictured today, called on foreign powers to ‘stay away’ from the Gulf, saying: ‘The farther you keep yourselves from our region and our nations, the more security there will be’

Hundreds of soldiers, pictured, took part in the parade today which military bosses and the president watched from a stand

Hundreds of soldiers, pictured, took part in the parade today which military bosses and the president watched from a stand

Hundreds of soldiers, pictured, took part in the parade today which military bosses and the president watched from a stand

Iranian Turkmen Basij militia members marched during the annual military parade today, marking the Iraqi invasion in 1980

Iranian Turkmen Basij militia members marched during the annual military parade today, marking the Iraqi invasion in 1980

Iranian Turkmen Basij militia members marched during the annual military parade today, marking the Iraqi invasion in 1980

President Rouhani, pictured centre on the stand, looked on as soldiers including the Iranian Turkmen Basij militia members paraded in front of him today

President Rouhani, pictured centre on the stand, looked on as soldiers including the Iranian Turkmen Basij militia members paraded in front of him today

President Rouhani, pictured centre on the stand, looked on as soldiers including the Iranian Turkmen Basij militia members paraded in front of him today

Troops, missiles, tanks and a marching band paraded in front of President Rouhani during the military event today

Troops, missiles, tanks and a marching band paraded in front of President Rouhani during the military event today

Troops, missiles, tanks and a marching band paraded in front of President Rouhani during the military event today

Amid the fanfare today, Iran displayed the Khordad-3 air defense system that shot down a U.S. drone in June.

It also showed an Iranian medium-range missile that can travel up to 2,000 kilometers (1,250 miles) meaning it could be within range of Iran’s archenemy Israel and U.S. bases in the region.

Similar parades were held in major cities and towns across the country including the port city of Bandar Abbas near the Strait of Hormuz.

State TV showed scores of Iranian fast attack boats, as well as air defense and other military equipment. It also carried images of Iranian Revolutionary Guard naval forces rappelling down the side of a sailing ship.

The U.S. navy has often complained about Guard fast boats and naval forces harassing shipping in the Gulf.

The chief of the powerful Revolutionary Guard, Gen. Hossein Salami, threatened the ‘destruction of any aggressor’ against Iran the day before.

Speaking at the military parade, Rouhani also revealed that Iran would present a peace plan to the United Nations within days. 

‘In this sensitive and important historical moment, we announce to our neighbours that we extend the hand of friendship and brotherhood to them,’ he said. 

Tensions between Iran and the US and its allies have threatened to boil over since May last year when President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew from a 2015 nuclear deal and later began reimposing sanctions.

Iran then began reducing its commitments to the nuclear deal and the US said it was sending forces to waters near the Islamic republic in response to ‘indications of a credible threat’ from its forces.

Iranian armed forces members march during the ceremony today where president Rouhani delivered a warning to the west

Iranian armed forces members march during the ceremony today where president Rouhani delivered a warning to the west

Iranian armed forces members march during the ceremony today where president Rouhani delivered a warning to the west

Rouhani, pictured far right watching the military parade today, is expected to travel to New York on Monday before speaking at the UN about the details of the Hormuz Peace Endeavour

Rouhani, pictured far right watching the military parade today, is expected to travel to New York on Monday before speaking at the UN about the details of the Hormuz Peace Endeavour

Rouhani, pictured far right watching the military parade today, is expected to travel to New York on Monday before speaking at the UN about the details of the Hormuz Peace Endeavour

Soldiers dressed in crisp white uniforms marched in unison during the parade, which is head annually to mark the 1980-1988 war with Iraq

Soldiers dressed in crisp white uniforms marched in unison during the parade, which is head annually to mark the 1980-1988 war with Iraq

Soldiers dressed in crisp white uniforms marched in unison during the parade, which is head annually to mark the 1980-1988 war with Iraq

Iranian Arab Basij militia members, pictured, also joined in the parade today during Sacred Defence Week in Tehran, Iran

Iranian Arab Basij militia members, pictured, also joined in the parade today during Sacred Defence Week in Tehran, Iran

Iranian Arab Basij militia members, pictured, also joined in the parade today during Sacred Defence Week in Tehran, Iran

Tanks and missiles, pictured, were also driven around the parade to show Iran's power. The parade comes after the United States ordered reinforcements to the region

Tanks and missiles, pictured, were also driven around the parade to show Iran's power. The parade comes after the United States ordered reinforcements to the region

Tanks and missiles, pictured, were also driven around the parade to show Iran’s power. The parade comes after the United States ordered reinforcements to the region

The US deployed an aircraft carrier strike group and a bomber task force to the sensitive waterways, before sending B-52 bombers, an amphibious assault ship and Patriot missile battery.

Following the deployments, commercial ships were mysteriously attacked, drones downed and oil tankers seized in Gulf waters.

Trump in June authorised a military strike after Iran shot down a US drone, only to call off the retaliation at the last moment.

British-flagged tanker Stena Impero is set to be released after being seized by Iran in July

Oil tanker the Stena Impero which has been held by Iran is to be released, two months after it was seized.

‘We received information this morning indicating that the ship is going to be released in a few hours,’ Erik Hanell, the chief executive of the Stena Bulk company that owns the ship, told Swedish television SVT.

Stena Bulk spokeswoman, Lena Alvling, confirmed Hanell’s remarks but said the ship had still not be freed, several hours later.

The ship has been held offshore near Iran’s southern port of Bandar Abbas.

Hanell had expressed caution about the tanker’s release.

‘We understand that the political decision has been taken to release the ship,’ he told SVT.

The British-flagged Stena Impero is set to be released, according to its Swedish owner

The British-flagged Stena Impero is set to be released, according to its Swedish owner

The British-flagged Stena Impero is set to be released, according to its Swedish owner

‘We hope it will be able to leave in a few hours, but we don’t want to take anything for granted. We want to make sure the ship sails out of Iranian territorial waters,’ he said.

Iranian forces seized control of the British-flagged Stena Impero on July 19 as it was navigating through an international passage in the Strait of Hormuz at the entrance of the Gulf.

Tehran denied the seizure was a tit-for-tat move after British commandos seized an Iranian oil tanker on July 4 as it passed through Gibraltar’s waters, under suspicion it was breaking EU sanctions on oil deliveries to Syria.

Gibraltar released the ship – formerly called the Grace 1 but renamed the Adrian Darya 1 – on August 18 after receiving assurances from Iran that it would not head to countries under EU sanctions.

Tehran denied it had made promises about the destination of the ship laden with 2.1m barrels of oil, and is believed to have delivered its cargo to Syria. 

The Stena Impero had a crew of 23 on board. Seven of them were released on September 4.

The tensions escalated again this month in the wake of September 14 attacks on Saudi energy giant Aramco’s Abqaiq processing plant and Khurais oilfield which halved the kingdom’s crude output.

Washington and Riyadh have, to varying degrees, blamed these attacks on Tehran. 

Following the attacks, which caused global oil prices to spike, Trump initially raised the possibility of a military response, saying the US was ‘locked and loaded’.

Yemen’s Iran-backed Huthi rebels claimed responsibility, but the US says attacks involved cruise missiles from Iran and amounted to ‘an act of war’.

Saudi Arabia, which has been bogged down in a five-year war in Yemen, has warned of ‘appropriate measures’ once the source of the strikes is confirmed by a UN investigation.

A Huthi plan for a cessation of hostilities announced on Friday has been welcomed by the UN, but Saudi Arabia was sceptical, saying it would ‘judge other parties by their deeds’.

On Friday, Defence Secretary Mark Esper said the US was sending reinforcements to Saudi Arabia at ‘the kingdom’s request’, while noting the forces would be ‘defensive in nature’.

America has also slapped more sanctions on Iran, penalising the Iranian Central Bank. 

Today the United States said the additional troops ordered to be deployed to the Gulf region were for ‘deterrence and defense’. 

Speaking to Fox News, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo added that he was confident that President Trump would take action if such deterrence measures fail and this was well understood by the Iranian leadership. 

‘Our mission set is to avoid war,’ Pompeo said. ‘You saw what Secretary Esper announced on Friday, we are putting additional forces in the region for the purpose of deterrence and defense,’ he said.    

America previously sent troops to Saudi Arabia during Operation Desert Shield in August 1990, while preparing for the Gulf War.

At one time, Prince Sultan Air Base housed as many as 60,000 U.S. troops, supported by an all-American array of creature comforts like fast-food restaurants and swimming pools. 

Saudi Arabia is the nexus of Sunni Muslim power in the Middle East, and is unofficially allied with Israel against their mutual rival, the Shiite Muslim powerhouse Iran. 

Today’s parade comes ahead of Rouhani being expected to travel to New York on Monday, a day before general debate kicks off at the UN gathering. 

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted that Rouhani would announce details of the ‘Hormuz Peace Endeavour’ at the UN General Assembly.  

Saudi Arabia will seek to make a case at a global gathering for a concerted action to punish and deter Iran after the strikes on Saudi oil plants which exposed the kingdom’s vulnerability to attack.

However, even Riyadh’s main allies the United States and the United Arab Emirates have little appetite for a conventional military confrontation which may spark a war in the Gulf, diplomats say.

Riyadh says Iranian weapons were launched from the north and that it is working to pinpoint the exact location.

Iran has denied any involvement and criticised the accusations as part of a campaign of ‘maximum pressure’ launched by President Donald Trump.

‘This attack is a tipping point. Saudi Arabia will make the case this was a devastating blow and continued threat to the global economy,’ a Gulf Arab source told Reuters on Sunday.

‘If Saudi Arabia can prove without reasonable doubt that Iran was behind it, then world powers could exercise their clout — their pressure, their trade tools, pulling Iran back from its brinkmanship policy,’ the source said. 

Today's parade, troops marching pictured, showed an Iranian medium-range missile that can travel up to 2,000 kilometers putting it in range of Iran's archenemy Israel and U.S. bases in the region

Today's parade, troops marching pictured, showed an Iranian medium-range missile that can travel up to 2,000 kilometers putting it in range of Iran's archenemy Israel and U.S. bases in the region

Today’s parade, troops marching pictured, showed an Iranian medium-range missile that can travel up to 2,000 kilometers putting it in range of Iran’s archenemy Israel and U.S. bases in the region

President Rouhani said 'foreign forces can cause problems and insecurity for our people and for our region' during his speech at the military parade today

President Rouhani said 'foreign forces can cause problems and insecurity for our people and for our region' during his speech at the military parade today

President Rouhani said ‘foreign forces can cause problems and insecurity for our people and for our region’ during his speech at the military parade today

Tensions in the region have grown this month after attacks on a Saudi processing plant and Khurais oilfield which halved the kingdom's crude output. Pictured is the military parade today in Tehran

Tensions in the region have grown this month after attacks on a Saudi processing plant and Khurais oilfield which halved the kingdom's crude output. Pictured is the military parade today in Tehran

Tensions in the region have grown this month after attacks on a Saudi processing plant and Khurais oilfield which halved the kingdom’s crude output. Pictured is the military parade today in Tehran

President Hassan Rouhani , left, is seen shaking hands with the Commander-in-Chief of the Islamic Republic of Iran Army Major General Abdolrahim Mousavi, centre, after Iranian Armed Forces Chief of Staff Major General Mohammad Hossein Bagheri, second left, and before Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) commander Major General Hossein Salami, right

President Hassan Rouhani , left, is seen shaking hands with the Commander-in-Chief of the Islamic Republic of Iran Army Major General Abdolrahim Mousavi, centre, after Iranian Armed Forces Chief of Staff Major General Mohammad Hossein Bagheri, second left, and before Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) commander Major General Hossein Salami, right

President Hassan Rouhani , left, is seen shaking hands with the Commander-in-Chief of the Islamic Republic of Iran Army Major General Abdolrahim Mousavi, centre, after Iranian Armed Forces Chief of Staff Major General Mohammad Hossein Bagheri, second left, and before Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) commander Major General Hossein Salami, right

Similar parades were also held in major cities and towns across Iran including the port city of Bandar Abbas near the Strait of Hormuz. Pictured are soldiers holding guns and flags at the event in Tehran today

Similar parades were also held in major cities and towns across Iran including the port city of Bandar Abbas near the Strait of Hormuz. Pictured are soldiers holding guns and flags at the event in Tehran today

Similar parades were also held in major cities and towns across Iran including the port city of Bandar Abbas near the Strait of Hormuz. Pictured are soldiers holding guns and flags at the event in Tehran today

President Rouhani, pictured watching the parade, is expected to travel to New York on Monday before speaking at the UN about the details of the Hormuz Peace Endeavour

President Rouhani, pictured watching the parade, is expected to travel to New York on Monday before speaking at the UN about the details of the Hormuz Peace Endeavour

President Rouhani, pictured watching the parade, is expected to travel to New York on Monday before speaking at the UN about the details of the Hormuz Peace Endeavour

Yesterday the commander of Iran‘s Revolutionary Guards warned any country that attacks on the Islamic republic will see its territory turn into the conflict’s ‘main battlefield’.

Guards commander Hossein Salami told a news conference in Tehran: ‘Whoever wants their land to become the main battlefield, go ahead. We will never allow any war to encroach upon Iran’s territory.

‘We hope that they don’t make a strategic mistake’ as they have before, Salami said, before listing past US military ‘adventures’ against Iran. 

Salami was speaking at Tehran’s Islamic Revolution and Holy Defence museum during the unveiling of an exhibition of what Iran says are US and other drones captured in its territory. 

In Dubai today two flights were diverted from the International Airport due to suspected drone activity, the hub’s operator said – at least the second disruption of its kind there this year.

Arrivals were disrupted for about 15 minutes after midday (0800 GMT), said a spokesman for Dubai Airports, which owns and manages the world’s busiest airport for international travel.  

The Dubai government’s media office and the UAE government media office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Authorities temporarily grounded flights at Dubai International Airport in February, again due to suspected drones. 

In July 2018 the UAE denied reports that Yemen’s Iran-aligned Houthi movement had attacked Abu Dhabi airport with a drone, and said operations were unaffected.

In December, major disruption was caused at London’s Gatwick airport after drones were spotted near the airfield, raising concerns globally about the vulnerability of airports to unmanned aerial vehicles.

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