Iran would take preemptive action against its enemies if it felt its national interests were endangered, Mohammad Hejazi, deputy head of the Islamic Republic's armed forces told Fars news agency Tuesday.
"Our strategy now is that if we feel our enemies want to endanger Iran's national interests, and want to decide to do that, we will act without waiting for their actions," he said.
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Iran is facing increasing international pressure and isolation over its disputed nuclear activity. Expanded Western sanctions aim to block its economically vital oil exports and Tehran has said it could retaliate by shutting the Strait of Hormuz shipping lane vital to global energy supplies.
Still, a top US official said that while the US intelligence services believed Iran would respond if attacked, they think that it is unlikely to instigate a conflict.
Israel and the United States do not rule out military action against Iran if sanctions and diplomacy fail to rein in its nuclear energy campaign.
Senior UN inspectors have begun their second round of talks in Tehran in three weeks, seeking Iranian explanations with respect to intelligence about "possible military dimensions" to the Iranian nuclear program.
Iran says it is enriching uranium solely as fuel for a future network of nuclear power stations, not for bombs.
The European Union enraged Tehran last month when it decided to slap a boycott on its oil to take full effect on July 1.
On Sunday, Iran's oil ministry announced a retaliatory halt in oil sales to French and British companies, though that step will be largely symbolic as those firms had already greatly reduced purchases of Iranian crude.
On Monday, the European Commission said Belgium, the Czech Republic and the Netherlands had already stopped buying Iranian oil, while Greece, Spain and Italy were cutting back purchases.
Iran laid out conditions for future oil exports to European countries on Tuesday.
Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said that Iran seeks guarantees of payments, long term contracts and a ban on unilateral cancellation of contracts by buyers.
He says all these should be considered if Europe wants continued trade and oil relations. Mehmanparast says Iran's conditions were conveyed in a meeting with ambassadors of six European countries in Tehran .
Reuters and AP contributed to this report
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