IRAN UNVEILS LOCALLY-MADE BALLISTIC, CRUISE MISSILES
Iran unveiled a surface-to-surface ballistic missile that Defense Minister Amir Hatami said had a range of 1,400 kilometers and a new cruise missile on Thursday, ignoring US demands that Tehran halt its missile program, Parisa Hafezi reported for Reuters late on August 20, 2020.
“The surface-to-surface missile, called martyr Qassem Soleimani, has a range of 1,400 km and the cruise missile, called martyr Abu Mahdi, has a range of over 1,000 km,” Hatami said in a televised speech. Soleimani, head of Iran’s elite Quds Force, and Iraqi militia commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis were killed in January in a US strike on their convoy in Baghdad airport.
The announcement comes as the United States is pushing to extend a U.N.-imposed arms embargo against Iran, which is due to expire in October under Tehran’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers. Tensions have been high between Tehran and Washington since 2018, when President Donald Trump pulled out the United States from the deal and reimposed crippling sanctions on Iran.
“Missiles and particularly cruise missiles are very important for us ... the fact that we have increased the range from 300 to 1,000 in less than two years is a great achievement,” said Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. “Our military might and missile programmes are defensive.”