TEHRAN (Dispatches) -- Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qasemi said here Monday the occupying regime of Israel’s recent attack on the T-4 airbase in Syria which left seven Iranians martyred will not remain unanswered.
"Gone are the days when the Zionist regime would hit and run and the resistance forces in the region are able to respond to this crime at an appropriate time," he told a weekly news conference here.
"The occupying regime will sooner or later receive the necessary responses to its recent crime and aggression, and they will regret their misdeed," Qasemi added.
The commander of Iran’s ground forces Brigadier General Kiumars Heidari also said that the Zionist regime can no longer threaten the Islamic Republic.
Speaking here ahead of Iran’s Army Day, Heidari said Iran’s armed forces "are much more powerful than before” and "the date has been set” for Israel’s destruction.
Iran’s Army Day is marked on April 18, the same day that the occupying regime of Israel celebrates the 70th anniversary of creation.
Heidari said compared to other countries in the region such as Saudi Arabia, which imports its arms from the West, the armed forces of Iran are produced locally.
Iran’s military budget for 2017 was a record $15.9 billion, up nearly 65% from 2014, with the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) receiving the largest boost with $7.01 billion, up from $4.52 billion the year before.
Heidari’s remarks were echoed by Iranian Defense Minister Brigadier General Amir Hatami, who stated Sunday that Iran "has reached self-sufficiency” in producing, supplying and exporting weapons made in Iran.
U.S.-Led Attack on Syria
Qasemi further said a U.S.-led attack on Syria on Saturday was a repeat of Washington's use of lies to fulfill its interests in line with its expansionist policies.
"The U.S. has shown that it takes such measures in various countries from time to time based on lies and hollow pretexts in line with its expansionist policies to achieve its goals and is likely to repeat this behavior,” he said.
The U.S., Britain, and France used an alleged chemical attack near Damascus to hit several targets in Syria early Saturday, ignoring a demand by the Syrian government that inspectors visit the site to investigate the allegation.
Qasemi said the coordinated attacks were against international principles and a testimony to the "expansionist and warmongering" policies of the United States.
"Today, everything that is seen in the abnormal situation of the region and the current world is due to the blatantly strategic mistakes of the United States over the past decades, which has always made the region suffer from a serious instability," he said.
The spokesman also stressed that "the aggressive action of the three Western countries in Syria will have no bearing on the regional and global policies of the Islamic Republic of Iran."
Qasemi said the U.S. was dismayed at not being present in the Astana Talks on Syria, and thus launched the recent strikes to divide Iran, Russia and Turkey, the guarantor states of a ceasefire in the war-torn state.
EU Dialogue to Continue
Qasemi said that EU sanctions over its human rights record were due to "differing values" but that they should not derail dialogue with Europe.
"We have certain differences of opinion with European countries and the European Union," he said.
"That is due in part to differing values between our region and the Islamic republic of Iran and the European Union, notably as concerns human rights," he said.
The EU Thursday extended by a year sanctions against 82 individuals and an entity accused of "serious human rights violations in Iran".
Qasemi said long-running dialogue with the EU should continue, focusing on areas of agreement and in "a constructive atmosphere of good will".
"In the coming months, there will be several delegations to discuss different subjects and not just human rights," he said. "I hope that this can happen in a more positive atmosphere."
The EU sanctions - first imposed in the wake of the crackdown on the 2009 protest movement in Iran - block exports of equipment "which might be used for internal repression and of equipment for monitoring telecommunications".