Iranian armed forces members march during the annual military parade in Tehran
Iranian armed forces members march during the annual military parade in TehranReuters

Major General Mohammad Bagheri, the Chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces, said on Sunday that Iran may switch from its defensive policy to “offensive” tactics if its national interests come under threat, the Mehr news agency reported.

Speaking to reporters, Bagheri said Iran has no intention of attacking any country, stressing that “our defense strategy is to protect the independence, territorial integrity and national interests of our country.”

Bagheri noted at the same time that Iran’s defense policy does not mean a purely defensive and passive approach during tactical operations, adding that “while it is true that we have no interest in other country’s interests and territory, we may switch to an offensive approach to protect our own interests.”

“If there is any intention of attack against our interests, and we see evidence of it, we will not remain passive and allow the country’s security and peace to be endangered,” he said.

“That is why our military drills this year in the Strait of Hormuz, the Persian Gulf, the Sea of Oman, or even on land or in the air, have had a change in their nature, and we will continue this trend until our armed forces are fully ready to make the switch in tactics if necessary,” added Bagheri.

His comments come amid rising tensions after US President Donald Trump pulled out of the nuclear deal in May of 2018 and imposed two rounds of sanctions against the Islamic Republic.

On Friday, Iran staged war games involving newly developed rapid redeployment units focused on fighting enemy aggressors and armed militants.

General Kioumars Heydari, head of the regular army’s ground forces, boasted that the war games would delight Iran’s friends and show any aggressors that they would face a “rapid and crushing blow” by the Iranian army.

Iran has threatened more than once to close the Strait of Hormuz, the passageway for nearly a third of all oil traded by sea. The United States has warned Iran that any attempt to close the strait would be viewed as a "red line" -- grounds for US military action.

Most recently, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani threatened to disrupt other countries’ oil shipments through the Gulf if Washington presses ahead with efforts to halt Iranian oil exports.