Iran’s Revolutionary Guards have unveiled a home-built long-range drone capable of reaching most of the Middle East, including the Islamic state’s primary regional enemy Israel, state television has reported.
The reconnaissance drone, named Shahed 129, has a range of 2,000 km and is capable of carrying bombs and missiles, state television said.
Amir Ali Hajizadeh, the head of the Revolutionary Guards’ aerospace arm, spoke during an interview on Tuesday on Iran’s state TV.
Hajizadeh said that Iranian scientists designed and developed the drone.
His description of the aircraft was similar to that of the United States’ RQ-170 Sentinel unmanned reconnaissance aircraft, one of which went down in Iranian territory last year.
Israel has threatened action against Iran’s nuclear sites, raising speculation about a possible military strike ahead of the US presidential election in November.
Israel has criticised US President Barack Obama’s position that international sanctions on Iran and diplomacy should be given more time to stop Tehran from acquiring nuclear weapons.
Iran denies seeking nuclear weapons, saying its atomic activity is peaceful, aimed at generating electricity.
Hajizadeh was quoted on Sunday as saying Iran might launch a pre-emptive strike on Israel if it was sure that country was about to attack.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, speaking in New York on Monday, said Israel had no roots in the Middle East and would be “eliminated”.
Iran has in recent days announced defence and engineering developments, including a domestically made anti-aircraft system, but some analysts are sceptical as to the reliability of the reports.
Israel bombed an Iraqi nuclear reactor in 1981 and launched a similar strike against Syria in 2007. Israel is believed to have the Middle East’s only nuclear arsenal, although it refuses to disclose any capability.