EghtesadOnline: Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei called for strengthening the country's defense capabilities to deter any threat or attack by enemies.
"Weakness will encourage the enemy to act … To prevent a war and to end threats, it is essential to grow stronger," he told a group of air force commanders and personnel on Saturday, Leader.ir reported.
Iran went to the brink of a war with the United States when the top commander of its Quds Force was assassinated in Baghdad on the order of US President Donald Trump in early January and Iran retaliated by launching missiles at locations hosting American forces in Iraq, according to Financial Tribune.
Tensions between the two traditional enemies began to escalate after the US left the 2015 nuclear deal and initiated a maximum pressure campaign against Tehran.
US President Donald Trump wants Iran to place curbs not only on its nuclear activities, but also on its missile program and regional policies.
Iran insists that its nuclear plan serves peaceful purposes and its missile programs are part of the country's defense system and thus non-negotiable.
Ayatollah Khamenei stressed the need to strengthen the country in all sectors, particularly defense, noting that Iran does not wish to threaten any nation, but seeks to preserve its own security and prevent foreign threats.
He urged the Islamic Republic's armed forces to use all available resources to bolster the country's defense capability at all levels.
The Leader said the key to success and advancement of the air force is to turn threats into opportunities, give up hope of foreigners and rely on domestic capacities.
"This can be generalized to the whole country and we can open up great opportunities for the country despite the sanctions that are a criminal measure," he said, referring to the sweeping sanctions reimposed by the US on Iran as part of its maximum pressure after exiting the nuclear deal.
If the relevant authorities act well, he added, it is possible to use the situation under sanctions to free the country's economy from dependence on oil revenues, which is the root cause of many problems.
Ayatollah Khamenei said the US administration is aware of Iran's desire to reduce oil reliance and always keeps one way open for the trade of Iranian crude so that it can never experience an oil-free economy.
"The authorities, especially those in charge of the economy, need to be alert in this regard," he said.