Published: Mon, February 04, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

Iran unveils long-range cruise missile on revolution anniversary

Iran unveils long-range cruise missile on revolution anniversary

Iran announced the "successful test" of a new cruise missile with a range of over 1,350 kilometres on Saturday, coinciding with celebrations for the country's 1979 Islamic revolution.

"This cruise missile needs a very short time for its preparedness and can fly at a low altitude", Defence Minister Amir Hatami said during the unveiling ceremony.

It is part of the Soumar group of cruise missiles, first unveiled in 2015 with a range of 700 kilometres, according to the minister. While western experts say Tehran often exaggerates the capability of its armament, they conceded there are concerns surrounding Iran's long-range ballistic missiles such as this one.

Iran had overcome initial problems in producing jet engines for cruise missiles and could now manufacture a full range of the weapons, according to Amirali Hajizadeh, head of the Revolutionary Guard's aerospace division.

Iran said in January its bid to launch a satellite failed after Tehran ignored USA warnings to avoid such activity.

Iran reined in most of its nuclear programme under a landmark 2015 deal with major powers but has kept up development of its ballistic missile technology.

On Saturday, a senior Revolutionary Guard commander suggested that pressure from Europe to curb missile development could prompt Tehran to expand it beyond current limits.

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Tehran has showcased a new, long-range cruise missile, capable of covering over 1,350 kilometers.

U.S. President Donald Trump's administration pulled out of the accord in May and reimposed sanctions against Iran, citing the missile program among its reasons.

According to Press TV, the remarks came amid statements of some European Union governments that Iran needs to avoid long-range missile tests in order to enjoy economic benefits of the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, known as the Iran nuclear deal.

Al Jazeera's Zein Basravi reports from Tehran.

On Jan. 15, Iran's atomic energy chief said that the Islamic regime has stockpiles of uranium enriched to 20 percent purity, a level far above the 3.67 percent the Islamic regime agreed to not surpass as part of the Iran deal. The measure froze the assets of an Iranian intelligence unit and two of its staff.

Back in February 2018, Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei called for efforts to maintain and boost Iran's defense capabilities, hitting back at the enemies for disputing the country's missile program.

He stressed that if the Europeans and others want to pursue the missile disarmament of the Islamic Republic, there will remain no option but to resort to a "strategic leap".

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