EFEBy Marina Villén Tehran

Iran showcased all of its military might at its annual parade Thursday following the United States' decision to designate the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as a terrorist group.

"There is no doubt that today, our armed forces are more powerful than ever," Iran's President Hassan Rouhani said at the military parade in Tehran.

Rouhani said the skies and waters of the Islamic Republic are now "safer than ever," thanks to the country's army, the IRGC, in particular.

"Everybody saw that the people were, and will be, united behind the IRGC ... Insulting the IRGC means insulting the armed forces and the great Iranian nation," the Iranian leader continued.

Army commander Gen. Abdolrahim Mousavi and Chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces Maj. Gen. Mohammad Bagheri attended the parade, alongside other senior military commanders.

This Army Day celebration, in particular, is important because US President Donald Trump announced on Apr. 8 the designation of the corps - which was founded after the 1979 Islamic Revolution to protect the Shiite theocracy - as a terrorist organization.

Rouhani praised the "fundamental role" of the army and the corps in defending the country and in the fight against terrorism in Syria and Iraq, to which the IRGC has provided military advisors and Shiite fighters.

Referring to the conflicts in the Middle East, the president denounced "the interventions of the US Army in our region, from Afghanistan to Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen and other countries, has not brought anything except for crime, misery and destruction."

Rouhani's address came as the Islamic Republic Army's Ground Forces, Navy and Air Force took part in the military display which featured Iran's latest military equipment.

The display showed the aerial performance of domestically-built Kowsar fighter jets; the Kowsar jets' production line was inaugurated in November last year.

Other fighters like F-14 Tomcat, F-4 Phantom and MiG-29 also took part in the parade, as well as unmanned aircraft, tanks, armored vehicles and missiles.

In the Persian Gulf, Iranian assault ships and destroyers carried out a maritime display, while military shows were also held in other cities of the country.

Some of the military equipment was decorated with photographs of the late Ruhollah Khomeini, the founder of the Islamic Republic, and supreme leader Ali Khamenei, as well as slogans reading "Death to America! Death to Israel!"

On Wednesday, Khamenei said the army was "more efficient than ever" and said there was a need for "increased unity" among the armed forces.

"Any action that infuriates the enemy is appropriate and correct; whereas, any action that makes the enemy more blatant and stronger in spirit must be avoided," Khamenei added.

A military official also said "The army and the IRGC will be hand in hand, and we will stay along with the Iranian nation."

Iran has established its own arms industry due to international sanctions and has stated that its military capabilities, including the controversial missiles, are only defensive.

Washington's decision to include the Revolutionary Guard on its blacklist is unprecedented and, in reciprocity, the Supreme National Security Council of Iran also designated US troops - deployed in the Middle East under control of the United State Central Command - to be part of a terrorist organization. EFE

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