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Iran Vows To Block Any Attack, Says Sanctions Failed

President Mahmud Ahmadinejad

President Mahmud Ahmadinejad

TEHRAN (Reuters) -- Iran will stop any attacker before he can "pull the trigger" and sanctions intended to isolate the Islamic republic have not worked, President Mahmud Ahmadinejad told a military parade.

The United States and its allies are seeking to step up UN sanctions on Iran over its disputed nuclear plans, which the West says a bid to build nuclear arms. Iran denies this.

There has been persistent speculation Washington or Israel might launch strikes on Iran's nuclear sites, as neither country has ruled out military action if diplomacy fails to end the row.

"If anybody dares to offend the boundaries of the Iranian nation, the Iranian nation's holy land and Iran's legal interests, our armed forces...will break his hand before he can pull the trigger," Ahmadinejad said.

He was speaking at a parade broadcast live on state television to mark the start of the Iran-Iraq War in September 1980. Hundreds of troops then marched in formation in front of the president's podium.

"Today, Iran is not in a position to show even the smallest flexibility against the bullying of the enemies. History has shown that those who wish ill for Iran will gain nothing but regret," he said.

"The enemies of humanity...had imagined that by military attack and economic and scientific sanctions they could break down our revolution and our nation," he said, adding that Iran's enemies had "lost hope."

Iran, the world's fourth-largest oil producer, says it wants to master nuclear technology to make electricity so it can preserve more of its vast oil and gas reserves for export.

But its failure to convince world powers of its peaceful intentions has prompted three rounds of limited UN sanctions. Washington is pushing for a fourth, but China and Russia -- two of the five veto-wielding council members -- are reluctant.

Iran has dismissed reports of possible U.S. or Israeli plans to strike Iran, but says it would respond by attacking U.S. interests and Israel if any such assault was made.