In the face of aggression from the US or Israel, Iran will attack to defend itself, Iran's most powerful figure, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Tuesday.
“We do not have nuclear weapons and we will not build them but in the face of aggression from the enemies, whether from America or the Zionist regime, to defend ourselves we will attack on the same level as the enemies attack us,” Khamenei said live on television.
“Americans are making a grave mistake if they think by making threats they will destroy the Iranian nation,” he said in his annual speech to mark Nowruz, the Iranian New Year.
Israel and the US have threatened military action against Iran unless it abandons nuclear activities which the West suspects are intended to develop nuclear weapons. Iran vehemently denies this.
Further talks between Iran and the P5+1 group of countries are expected to take place next month in an attempt to reach a compromise deal.
In his speech, Khamenei highlighted the country's nuclear achievements over the last 12 months - increasing uranium enrichment to 20% and loading domestically-made fuel rods into the Tehran Research Reactor.
Meanwhile, Kuwait’s Emir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah said Iran has assured his country it will not try to close the vital Strait of Hormuz shipping route.
“We have contacted officials in Iran to ensure that no action is taken to close the Strait of Hormuz," Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah said in remarks carried by state-run news agency Kuna on Tuesday.
“We have received assurances from Iran that it will not take this step,” the Emir said during a visit to Japan, one of the Gulf oil exporter's biggest customers.
“For a long time, Kuwait has been working on providing a stockpile of oil through its global companies outside the Gulf region to ensure constant supply,” he added.
Several Iranian Officials have said Iran should block the waterway in response to sanctions targeting its nuclear program.
OPEC member Kuwait, which is producing around 3 million barrels a day, ships all its oil exports through Hormuz.
Source: Reuters; Kuna