Iran nuclear head says new centrifuges built
Tehran ready to confront dark forces: Ahmadinejad
Iran's nuclear chief said Tuesday the Islamic Republic had built a new generation of centrifuges as President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad warned that his country was ready to confront the "forces of darkness" from anywhere in the world.
"Our scientists have built new generation of centrifuges and cascades with 10 centrifuges each are now being tested," Ali Akbar Salehi was quoted as saying by the official IRNA news agency.
Salehi said the new generation of centrifuges can enrich uranium with "more than five times the output capacity" of the earlier standard centrifuges and that Iran "plans to raise this capacity to 10 times."
Iran and the world powers are at loggerheads over Tehran's decision to continue enriching uranium, the process which can generate the raw material to make an atomic bomb.
The atomic chief's statements came shortly after Ahmadinejad, speaking at an army parade marking the anniversary of the eruption of the Iran-Iraq war in 1980, renewed his demand that U.S.-led foreign forces operating in neighboring Iraq and Afghanistan leave the region.
"We advise you to go back to your own land. Our region will never accept a lengthy presence of foreigners," the re-elected president, dressed in his trademark light-color jacket and wearing sunglasses, said at the ceremony attended by top military and administrative officials.
"As you saw in Iraq and Afghanistan, people are against the presence of foreigners. It is impossible (for foreign troops) to have a stable base in the region," added Ahmadinejad, who according to state television left Iran shortly after the parade, bound for New York where he is to attend the U.N. General Assembly meeting.
During the parade, Iranian military pick-up trucks were seen sporting large banners proclaiming, "Death to Israel" and "Death to America."
Our armed forces are ready to confront the forces of darkness. If anybody wants to shoot a bullet at us from anywhere, we will cut off his hands
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad -- Iranian president
"Our armed forces are ready to confront the forces of darkness. If anybody wants to shoot a bullet at us from anywhere, we will cut off his hands," the president said in his address to the nation.
Thousands of soldiers participated in the parade during which Iran also showed off its range of missiles, including the latest Sejil version, and displayed its fighter plane, Saegheh, which it claims to have built domestically.
The annual event marking the invasion of Iran by Saddam Hussein's Iraqi forces which provoked a war lasting almost a decade was marred when a military plane taking part in the extravaganza crashed near Tehran, according to IRNA.
IRNA later dropped the report from its website without giving any reason. No independent confirmation could be obtained concerning the reported crash.
The parade took place opposite the mausoleum built for Iran's revolutionary leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini on the outskirts of Tehran.
Ahmadinejad said the Iran-Iraq war, which killed about a million people on both sides, and which Iran describes as the "Sacred Defense", was a "humiliation to Satanic forces." Iranian officials refer to the United States as the Great Satan.
"Chemical weapons were used against our nation and the Satanic powers equipped Saddam (Hussein) against our nation. Saddam was backed by certain arrogant powers," the president said, reminiscing about the brutal conflict.
"We ask the arrogant powers to revise their polices... they sell weapons and then talk of peace."