A senior Iranian military official branded US leaders disloyal and cruel on Wednesday and told parliament Tehran would not bow to Washington’s pressure to limit its military activities.

“Iranian armed forces are now, thanks to God, more prepared than ever and will not wait for the permission or approval of any power to develop defence capabilities,” Major General Mohammad Bagheri was quoted as saying by the state news agency IRNA.

The statement came two days after US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Washington would impose “the strongest sanctions in history” if Tehran did not curb its regional influence and limit its missile programme.

Two weeks earlier, US President Donald Trump pulled out of an international nuclear deal with Iran that had lifted sanctions on the Islamic Republic in exchange for curbs to its nuclear programme.

Bagheri, the Chief of Staff of Iran’s Armed Forces Chief, called US leaders “disloyal, cruel, criminal, isolated, angry, corrupt, and on the Zionist regime’s payroll”, and said Washington did not have the courage for a military confrontation with Tehran, IRNA reported.