Chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces Major General Mohammad Hossein Baqeri said his country does not accept the presence of tens of thousands of foreign forces in the region, and stressed the need for the establishment of security by the regional states.
“We have never started any aggression or war and will never do so but we will decisively defend our security and sovereignty in case of any aggression or intervention by foreign countries,” General Baqeri said, addressing professors and students of China’s National Defense University in Beijing on Thursday.
He went on to say that the general policy of the Islamic Republic towards regional issues is “defending the approach which focuses on the active participation of all countries of the region to build a collective and regional security structure”.
“Iran will not tolerate hegemony and interventions of trans-regional powers in this policy,” General Baqeri said.
“Iran has never accepted the presence of 70,000 foreign military forces and more than 40 military bases of US in the region,” he said, adding that if US finds a chance, it will also build more bases and dispatch more forces to East Asia in a bid to intervene in internal affairs of different countries.
The Strait of Hormuz and the Sea of Oman should be safe for energy exports, he said, noting, “Of course, this security should only be provided by the Persian Gulf States. The presence and deployment of US and Western military forces and projects such as the pre-failed US-led coalition to secure naval security in the Persian Gulf will not yield any result except creating more insecurity.”
Elsewhere, General Baqeri pointed to Iran’s missile program, and said that the missile capability of the Islamic Republic is a defensive measure against constant threats posed to the country.
“Relying on our domestic capabilities and considering existing threats in the region, we have developed our missile power with seriousness, a national determination and a defensive perspective and will continue to do so in the future,” he added.
“Naturally, in a region where the Zionist regime is armed to the teeth and even possesses nukes and continues making threats against the nations of the region, specially the Islamic Republic of Iran, (in a region where) dozens of US and Western forces are showing aggressive behavior using the highest air, naval and ground capabilities, and some regional regimes such as Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates invest billions of dollars annually to buy a variety of weapons, the Islamic Republic of Iran has no other choice than maintaining its readiness at the highest possible level to ensure its security and confront any possible situation. This is a totally logical and defensive approach.”
Heading a high-ranking military delegation, General Baqeri arrived in China on Wednesday for a three-day visit upon official invitation of his Chinese counterpart.
The key objective of the visit is promotion of defense diplomacy between the two countries.
In relevant remarks on Wednesday, General Baqeri said that Tehran and Beijing are determined to boost their military ties in parallel with the expansion of relations in other areas.
He added that Iran and China are willing to develop long-term defense and military cooperation in parallel with the political and economic ties.
The top commander told reporters that relations between Iran and China have been promoted to a strategic level since 2016 and the comprehensive plan of development has been exchanged between the two states.
He said that China is an important country in Asia and in the world as well, adding that cooperation with China in various fields is of prime importance to Iran.
Elaborating on agenda of his visit, Baqeri said it was necessary at the moment to discuss strategic, technical and military issues with Chinese counterparts.
He went on to say that developments in Southeastern and Southwestern Asia and also the world will be reviewed during the trip.