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      Iranian Official: 'Sanctions Made Us Stronger'

      A top Iranian official says U.S. and European sanctions have made his country stronger, not weaker.
      By Chana Ya'ar
      First Publish: 2/5/2012, 10:53 AM

      A top Iranian official says U.S. and European sanctions have made his country stronger, not weaker.

      The Islamic Republic has been pushed to rely on its own resources as a result of the sanctions, explained Iranian Air Force Commander General Hassan Shahsafi.

      “The Iranian Air Force is in full combat readiness to defend the country's airspace as well as its territorial integrity,” he said at a government ceremony marking the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

      Because of the need to develop its own resources, the country has benefited from a host of new technologies, Shahsafi said.

      Iran introduced a new missile on Saturday, and is continuing its drive towards uranium enrichment and nuclear development, which much of the world believes is aimed at creating an atomic weapon of mass destruction.

      In addition, because Iran has said plainly that it believes Israel, the United States and the United Kingdom were behind the deaths of several of its nuclear scientists, alerts have been issued to protect Jewish institutions in North America, South America and Europe.

      Iran is also conducting additional military exercises in the Strait of Hormuz, aimed at preparing for a battle against a “hypothetical enemy,” said Iranian Oil Minister Rostam Qassemi on Saturday.

      The waterway is the sole shipping lane for some 40 percent of the Western world's crude, and thus is considered an important strategic asset. Under the watchful eyes of the Western intelligence and military powers, Iran has said it will continue its exercises for the next month.