Published: Tue, February 05, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

Iran unveils new ground-launched cruise missile

Iran unveils new ground-launched cruise missile

Iran's Ministry of Defence has published a video purportedly showing the launch of a new cruise missile, saying it has a 1,350-kilometre (840-mile) range.

Iranian officials have reiterated that the ongoing buildup of missile capabilities is exclusively defensive in its nature and used only to deter any potential adversaries from taking military action against the country.

U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew from the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran in May of a year ago, accusing Tehran, among other things, of working to develop its long-range ballistic missile program.

The new munition belongs to the Soumar family of cruise missiles.

The launch followed Washington's warning to Iran about three rocket launches it had in the works, which the U.S. insisted would violate a UN Security Council resolution.

Iran's space programme has also been criticised by the West, with Washington charging that an abortive satellite launch in mid-January was cover for a bid to develop an intercontinental ballistic missile capability.

Later on February 2, a senior Revolutionary Guard commander suggested that pressure by European countries for talks on curbing Iran's ballistic missiles development could prompt Tehran to expand it beyond current limits.

A UN Security Council resolution, which enshrined Iran's 2015 nuclear deal with major powers, "called upon" Tehran to refrain for up to eight years from work on ballistic missiles created to deliver nuclear weapons.

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Iranian officials say Western sanctions have starved its air force of spare parts and replacement aircraft, limiting its operational capacity and forcing it to rely on the missile program.

The attempt to launch the missile that carried Payam was condemned by France and the United States as an act in violation of UN Resolution 2231.

Salami said Iran's decision to limit the range and the number of its ballistic missiles was based on its current strategy, which could change based on circumstances.

While defending the nuclear deal - which limited Tehran's atomic ambitions in return for sanctions relief - Europe has sought to keep up pressure with sanctions, most recently listing Iranian intelligence services over plots to assassinate regime opponents on Dutch, Danish and French soil.

According to Netanyahu's press service, he said at a cabinet meeting, "In Iran today they... are trying to boast about the new missile".

Washington says although Iran has met the terms, the accord was too generous, failing to rein in Iran's ballistic missile programme or curb what the United States says is interference in regional affairs.

Iran has developed a large domestic arms industry in the face of decades-long global sanctions and bans that barred it from importing most weapons.

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