Iran has stepped up its rhetoric with the west by warning that it could launch pre-emptive action if its enemies put the regime's national interest at risk, raising the stakes over sensitive nuclear talks in Tehran.
Iran’s semi-official Fars news agency quoted the deputy head of the Islamic republic's armed forces, Mohammad Hejazi, as saying: "Our strategy now is that if we feel our enemies want to endanger Iran's national interests, and want to decide to do that, we will act without waiting for their actions.”
Hejazi's warning comes amid increasing fears of an Israeli military strike against Iran's nuclear facilities.
Iran's defence minister, Ahmad Vahidi, said his country intended to boost its presence in international waters, the regime's English-language TV channel, Press TV, reported.
Last week, two Iranian naval ships sailed through the Suez canal in a move closely watched by the US and Israel.
In recent weeks, Iran has adopted a policy of retaliatory actions against western economic sanctions or threats of an Israeli pre-emptive strike, while expressing readiness for nuclear talks.
The Iranian student news agency, ISNA, quoted Iran's ambassador to the IAEA in Vienna, Ali Asghar Soltaniyeh, as saying that the “negotiations will continue in the future”.