During a press conference held by the minister, Muhammad-Nahar was asked how sanctions imposed by the West would affect the development of Iran’s defense industry.
“Since the beginning of the Islamic Revolution 27 years ago sanctions have been imposed open us through various channels, but Iran succeeds in reaching new achievements every day,” the minister said.
“The Americans can’t threaten Iran, and it would be very foolish on their part to attack the powerful Islamic republic,” he added, as reported by Iranian news agency Mahar.
Even before Iran snubbed the ultimatum set by the West regarding Iran’s nuclear plan, the United States and European countries had already drafted a list of sanctions against Iran.
The United States, Germany, France and the UK put together the list, the first clause of which limits import of equipment and materials that could be used for nuclear development.
The planned punitive steps include limiting the movements of Iranian leaders directly linked to the nuclear plan, limiting Iran’s participation in international financial markets and freezing Iranian assets worldwide.
A Foreign Ministry spokesperson in Tehran responded to the United States’ threatened sanctions, saying, “The issue of sanctions is a psychological game. Right now we need to think of how to solve the issue through negotiations. The matter of sanctions was raised by American Zionist elements, to apply pressures.”
Annan: World doesn't want conflict
While visiting Iran, United Nations Sec.-Gen. Kofi Annan noted that the West should avoid clashes with Iran spurred by its nuclear plan and its refusal to discontinue uranium enrichment.
Speaking to journalists after meeting with Iranian leaders, Annan said that now is not the time for anyone to make “independent decisions” in the matter, and added that no one in the international community was interested in sparking conflict.
"On the nuclear issue, the president reaffirmed to me Iran's preparedness and commitment to hold negotiations," Annan said.
Will America attack?
One of the questions occupying the Iranians these days is whether the United States is capable of attacking Iran, when its army is already busy on two fronts – in Afghanistan and in Iraq.
Commenting on the prospects of a war, the Iranian defense minister said Monday that after the Iran-Iraq conflict, nothing could deter the Iranian people. “Our people have high morale and are willing to volunteer to die a sacred death. It has eight years of defensive experience,” he said.
With that, the minister added that his nation does not constitute a threat for any other nation in the area. He stressed that Iran’s defensive activities focused on deterrence abilities.
When asked about missile development, specifically the "Shahab 4" project, Najar said “The names and titles of missiles don’t matter. What is important is that we increase our abilities on the basis of our defense doctrine," he said.
As part of a large-scale exercise carried out by the Iranian army, F-5 and F-14 warplanes held mock battles and fired missiles. On Tuesday joint infantry and air force exercises are scheduled to take place.
When asked about the timing of the exercise, Najar said that he charged with maintaining the army’s preparedness, and he was following a schedule drawn up in advance. “It is routine to hold exercises to maintain the preparedness of forces during peace time,” he said.
He expressed his displeasure at the presence of coalition forces in the Persian Gulf area: “The more nations in this region are strengthened and cooperate with each other, thus foreign forces will leave the area faster.”
Najar expressed pride in the Iranian defense industries achievements, evident in their export of military equipment and weapons to 75 nations worldwide, but vehemently denied that Iran was arming Hizbullah. “Hizbullah is a popular movement and has no aims other than guarding areas attacked by Israel,” he said.