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Iran showcases ballistic missile capable of hitting Israel

President Hassan Rouhani vows to boost Iran's missile capabilities in defiance of US warnings as he inspects a medium-range Zelzal missile at a military parade in Tehran on September 22, 2017
str (afp/AFP)
Iran has said repeatedly that it has no choice but to boost its defenses against regional rivals

The Iranian military unveiled a new ballistic missile with a range of 2,000 km (1,200 miles) on Friday, at a military parade showcasing its new weapons, Reuters reported.

"The missile Hormshr is a great achievement of the Iranian Ministry of Defense. The missile has a range of 2000 km (1242 miles) and can carry a warhead to a range of 1800 km (1118 miles) . It is capable of carrying more than one warhead, "Commander of the Iranian air force, General Amir Ali Hag'izadh, said. 

Hag'izadh said the missile was to be delivered to Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

President Hassan Rouhani vowed on Friday that Iran would boost its missile capabilities despite warnings from Washington that it is ready to ditch a landmark nuclear deal over the issue.

His comments came as Iran displayed the new missile at the military parade marking the anniversary of the outbreak of its devastating 1980-1988 war with Saddam Hussein's Iraq.

str (afp/AFP)

"Whether you like it or not, we are going to strengthen our military capabilities which are necessary for deterrence," Rouhani said in a speech broadcast live on state television.

"We will strengthen not only our missiles but also our air, land and sea forces... When it comes to defending our country, we will ask nobody for their permission."

Iran has said repeatedly that it has no choice but to boost its defenses as its regional rivals Israel and Saudi Arabia sign huge arms contracts with Washington and other Western governments.

Rouhani hit out at those who "create problems for the peoples of our region every day and boast of selling arms to the bloodthirsty Zionist regime which has been attacking the peoples of our region for 70 years like a cancerous tumor."

Criticism by the Donald Trump administration of a 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and major powers, including the United States, has focused heavily on Tehran's continuing missile programme.

Tehran says that the missiles are entirely legitimate under the terms of the deal as they are not designed to carry a nuclear warhead.

But Washington says they breach the spirit of the agreement as they have the potential to carry a nuclear warhead and has imposed new sanctions over Tehran's continuing launches and tests.

There has been some sympathy for the US position from France, whose President Emmanuel Macron said the deal could be expanded to ban missile tests and cut a sunset clause in the nuclear agreement that would see Iran resume some uranium enrichment from 2025.

But even he insisted that the core deal not be dumped.

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