President Mohammad Khatami said in Tehran on Monday that Iran is against the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, but stressed that the Islamic Republic will persist on its legitimate right to become strong based on science, technology and a capable economy, IRNA reported.
Khatami, speaking before an annual military parade to mark the beginning of Iran's Sacred Defense Week, said Iran will never be misled from its path by the ballyhoos of other states and that Iran will strongly continue to pursue the policy of peace, justice, freedom and progress for all nations.
"This is the ballyhoo makers who should change their behavior," he said.
Khatami termed terrorism and the expansion of weapons of mass destruction as two major threats that are threatening the whole humanity.
"Today, our region has become the center of aggressions, terrorism and storing of weapons of mass destruction and the center of all these is the Zionist regime," he said.
"Iran has always been advocating peace and justice and its military strategy has always been merely defensive. Iran has repeatedly declared that it has taken no step toward developing access to weapons of mass destruction but is still under pressure," Khatami said.
He said that Israel possesses the largest arsenal and is exercising the state terrorism against the Palestinians, but stressed that the Islamic Republic is advocating peace, stability and a nuclear-free Middle East.
"Israel, which is not respecting any international law, enjoys the support of certain states, but many powers want to put pressure on the Islamic Iran as a result of Israel's provocations," the president said.
Khatami recalled Iran's policy of detente, stressing that Iranians will never attack any country and will neither allow any state to attack it.
He further said that the Iranian armed forces are ready to defend Iran's independence, dignity and territorial integrity, adding that Iran's military are the defenders of peace and security in the region. Elsewhere in his remarks, Khatami advised that the occupiers of Iraq withdraw from the country and leave its affairs to the Iraqi people.
"Iran advocates peace and security in Iraq, and the first step in promoting peace and security in the country is to enable the Iraqis to run their own affairs. I hope Iraq's occupiers would listen to the advice of the Islamic Republic," he said.
"Today, the occupiers are struggling in a crisis that they themselves have created and we had predicted this situation. We warned about it but there was no listening ear. Now, Iraq and the occupiers are paying for this mistake."
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