Iran calls U.S. leaders cruel and disloyal, says armed forces 'prepared'

FILE PHOTO: A gas flare on an oil production platform in the Soroush oil fields is seen alongside an Iranian flag in the Persian Gulf, Iran, July 25, 2005. To match Exclusive OPEC-OIL/ REUTERS/Raheb Homavandi//File Photo

LONDON (Reuters) - A senior Iranian military official branded U.S. 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 defense capabilities," Major General Mohammad Bagheri was quoted as saying by the state news agency IRNA.

The statement came two days after U.S. 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 program.

Two weeks earlier, U.S. 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 program.

Bagheri, the Chief of Staff of Iran's Armed Forces Chief, called U.S. 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.

(Reporting by Bozorgmehr Sharafedin; Editing by Andrew Heavens)