Iran unveils new cruise missile on Islamic Revolution anniversary

Defence Minister Hatami calls the Hoveizeh missile the 'long arm of the Islamic Republic of Iran' in defending itself.

    Iran has expanded its missile programme in the previous years despite warnings from the US [File: AP]
    Iran has expanded its missile programme in the previous years despite warnings from the US [File: AP]

    Iran announced the "successful test" of a new cruise missile with a range of over 1,350 kilometres during celebrations marking the anniversary of the 1979 Islamic Revolution, state television reported.

    "The test of the Hoveizeh cruise missile was carried out successfully at a range of 1,200km and accurately hit the set target," Defence Minister Amir Hatami was quoted by saying after its launch.

    "It can be ready in the shortest possible time and flies at a very low altitude," he said, describing the Hoveizeh as the "long arm of the Islamic Republic of Iran" in defending itself.

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    It is part of the Soumar group of cruise missile, first unveiled in 2015 with a range of 700km, according to the minister.

    The Hoveizeh unveiling was part of an arms exhibition titled "40 years of defensive achievements" held in Tehran.

    Amirali Hajizadeh, head of the Revolutionary Guards' aerospace division, said at the unveiling that Iran had overcome initial problems in producing jet engines for cruise missiles and could now manufacture a full range of the weapons.

    The Defence Ministry's website carried an undated video purportedly showing the Hoveizeh being test-fired from a mobile launcher.

    Expanded missile programme

    Since agreeing to a 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, Iran has expanded its missile programme despite warnings from the United States.

    In January, it tried to launch a satellite into space which it said failed. The launch followed a US warning to Iran against undertaking three planned rocket launches that Washington said would violate a UN Security Council resolution.

    The resolution, which enshrined Iran's nuclear deal, called upon Tehran to refrain for up to eight years from work on ballistic missiles designed to deliver nuclear weapons.

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    Iran says its missile tests are not in violation of the resolution and denies its missiles are capable of carrying nuclear warheads. It says its missiles are defensive and used for deterrence and has rejected talks over its missile programme.

    US President Donald Trump quit the deal last year and reimposed sanctions on Iran that had been lifted under the pact in return for Tehran curbing its nuclear programme.

    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 US says is interference in regional affairs.

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

    Separately, Tehran has voluntarily limited the range of its missiles to 2,000km, sufficient to reach Israel and Western bases in the Middle East.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera