Military parade near Tehran features truck carrying banner calling for destruction of Jewish state; Rouhani sets out ‘strategy of deterrence’ A truck bearing the slogan ‘Death to Israel’ at an Iranian military parade, April 18, 2015
Iran on Saturday marked Army Day with a military parade featuring new weapons systems, as well as a truck carrying a massive banner reading “Death to Israel.”
A televised broadcast of the parade was punctuated by repeated cries of “Death to America” and “Death to Israel.”
“If Israel makes a mistake,” the announcer on Iran television said during the broadcast, as heavy trucks carrying armored personnel carriers rolled past, “those in Tel Aviv and Haifa will not sleep at night, not one person.”
Broadcast on national television, military brass and political leaders, foremost President Hassan Rouhani, attended the procession south of the capital Tehran, which showcased the country’s military technologies.
Among the weapons systems paraded past dignitaries was a domestically produced version of the Russian S-300 anti-aircraft missile, the Bavar 373.
Russia announced earlier this week that it would supply the S-300s to Iran shortly, having delayed delivery for several years. The announcement prompted bitter protests from Israel, whose Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu telephoned President Vladimir Putin, in vain, to ask him to cancel the deal.
Israel fears the S-300s would complicate any military intervention as a last resort to thwart Iran’s nuclear drive. It also fears Iran could supply the missile defense systems to Syria or Hezbollah, diluting Israel’s air supremacy over Syria and Lebanon.
On Friday, President Barack Obama said he was surprised the Russians had held back from going through with the deal for as long as they had.