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Iran displays military might on National Army Day

A military parade in Iran has been accompanied by a speech from the country's president, Hassan Rouhani. He said that while Iran possessed a capable military, it did not have any hostile intentions toward other nations.

Friday marked Iran's National Army Day and featured a large-scale military parade through the capital, Tehran. Fighter jets and military technology, made by Russia and the United States, were part of the display.

As part of the ceremony, President Hassan Rouhani delivered a speech that touched on some major cornerstones of his policy.

Rouhani has pledged to end the nuclear dispute with Western nations. Iran is currently involved in talks with six major world powers (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany) about guidelines for Iran's nuclear program. Iran claims it needs to develop its nuclear program for peaceful means, but the West is seeking assurances that Iran will not seek to build a nuclear weapon.

"We told the world during the (nuclear) talks and we repeat that we don't support any aggression," he said in the televised address. "We support dialogue."

However, Rouhani was clear that Iran was prepared to defend itself.

"We don't attack any country and don't want war but we will firmly confront any aggression against Iran," he said.

Rouhani's remarks are in stark contrast to those of his predecessor, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who was known for comments that riled tensions in Israel and the West. Rouhani was voted into office in June 2013.

mz/hc (AP, Reuters)

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