TEHRAN (Dispatches) -- A senior Iranian security official on Wednesday warned regional states over spending money on "suspicious nuclear projects”, saying such threats would force Tehran to revise its defense strategy.
Ali Shamkhani, the secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, did not name the countries - but a proposed transfer of U.S. nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia has raised concerns in Tehran.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has repeatedly confirmed that Iran’s nuclear work is entirely peaceful, and Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei has issued a religious decree against the development of nuclear weapons.
"Some countries in the region are spending their petro-dollars on suspicious nuclear projects that can endanger the security of the region and the world,” Shamkhani was quoted as saying by Fars news agency.
"New threats like this will force us to revise our strategy based on the nature and geography of new threats, and predict the requirements of our country and armed forces,” he added.
Shamkhani said Tehran was watching the "unusual activities” of countries in the region that he said were supporting militant groups.
Iranian Foreign Minister Muhammad Javad Zarif hit out at the U.S. hypocrisy last month for trying to wreck Iran’s nuclear program while seeking to sell nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia.
Iran said on Wednesday that it would respond firmly to any Israeli naval action against its oil shipments, a week after the occupying regime’s prime minister said its vessels could act against Iranian oil "smuggling”.
U.S. President Donald Trump last year quit a nuclear deal with Iran and reimposed all sanctions, aiming to cut Tehran’s oil exports to zero. Netanyahu told naval officers last week that Iran was still resorting to clandestine measures to ship fuel.
Iran’s Minister of Defense Amir Hatami was quoted as saying by the state news agency IRNA that Tehran had the military capabilities to confront any Zionist intervention, and said the international community would also not accept such action.
Hatami said such confrontation would be considered as "piracy” and warned that "if it happens, we will firmly respond.”
"The Iranian armed forces have certainly the capabilities to protect the country’s shipping lines in the best way against any possible threat,” Hatami said.
Iran’s navy has extended its reach in recent years, dispatching vessels to the Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Aden. They intervened on Friday to repel pirates who attacked an Iranian oil tanker in the Gulf of Aden.
An Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) commander also said on Wednesday that enemies will regret any confrontation with the Islamic Republic.
"We never welcome any war, but we are ready to respond to any invasion. We hope the aggressors do not need to understand this point by trying it and paying a high price,” Major General Gholamali Rashid was quoted as saying by Tasnim news agency.
The Zionist navy, whose largest vessels are missile corvettes and a small submarine fleet, is mostly active in the Mediterranean and Red seas.
Iran has one of the world’s biggest tanker fleets in the world.
In November, U.S. Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook called Iranian vessels a "floating liability”, saying the U.S. sanctions would bar them from international insurance markets, making them a risk for ports and canals which allow them access.
Iranian officials have threatened to block the Strait of Hormuz, a major oil shipping route in the Persian Gulf, if the United States attempts to stop the Islamic Republic’s oil exports.