Khamenei says war unlikely but urges boosting Iran’s defenses

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Sunday war was unlikely but called on Iran’s armed forces to boost their defense capacities, according to his official website, as the country faces increased tension with the United States.

On Saturday, Iran announced plans to boost its ballistic and cruise missile capacity and acquire modern fighter planes and submarines to boost its defenses following the U.S. pullout from Tehran’s nuclear agreement with world powers.

“Ayatollah Khamenei emphasized that based on political calculations there is no likelihood of a military war but added that the armed forces must be vigilant … and raise their personnel and equipment capacities,” the website quoted Khamenei

as telling commanders of Iran’s air defense forces.

“The Supreme Leader said …the air defense units were a very sensitive part of the armed forces and on the front line of confronting the enemy, and emphasized the need to increase their readiness and capabilities,” the website said in its report on the gathering, which was held to mark Iran’s Air Defence Day.

Saturday’s news of the military development plans came a day after Iran dismissed a French call for negotiations on Tehran’s future nuclear plans, its ballistic missile arsenal and its role in wars in Syria and Yemen.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said last month the Islamic Republic’s military prowess was what deterred Washington from attacking it.

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