Iran has transformed from a country with "maximum reliance" on the United States to a major power in Southwestern Asia, Armed Forces Chiefs of Staff Chairman Maj. Gen. Mohammad Baqeri has said.
Speaking at at Shahid Sattari University of Aeronautical Engineering on Tuesday at an event dedicated to the ongoing celebrations of the 40th anniversary of the Iranian Revolution, the officer described the revolutionary events as a "divine miracle."
"At any juncture in history, enemies of the Revolution did whatever they had at their disposal," but to no avail, Baqeri said, according to Press TV.
"It is a great honour for the Iranian nation that it has today turned into a major power in Southwestern Asia after experiencing two centuries of humiliation," Baqeri added, referring in particular to the "black era" faced under the US-backed Shah Pahlavi regime.
The commander also berated the US over its massive military budget. "Each year, more than $700 billion is spent by the US Armed Forces, who do not have proper planning," he said.
With a defence budget of $7-8 billion per year, Iran produces nearly 90 percent of its military hardware domestically, Baqeri said.
Iran has a large arsenal of domestically developed conventional short-, medium- and long-range missile system. The United States, Israel, Saudi Arabia and the European Union have argued that these weapons pose a threat to regional security. Iran insists that the missiles are a deterrent against enemy attack, and has said that their possession is "not negotiable" for the Islamic Republic.