Iran unveils new long-range cruise missile on revolution anniversary
(Iranian Defense Ministry via AP)
Iran unveiled its newest missile acquirement at an exhibition of defense achievements in Tehran on Saturday as the country celebrates the 40th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution in 1979.
"The test of the Hoveizeh cruise missile was carried out successfully at a range of 1,200 kilometers (840 miles) and accurately hit the set target," Defence Minister Amir Hatami said, quoted on state television which broadcast footage of its launch.
"It can be ready in the shortest possible time and flies at a very low altitude," he said.
Defense Minister Brigadier General Amir Hatami said the surface-to-surface missile has a range of over 1,350 kilometers.
"The Hoveyzeh missile is the symbol of self-belief and an important defense achievement based on today's technological progress in the world," Hatami said.
Named after a province in southwest Iran, the missile is capable of heavily destroying ground targets, according to the defense minister.
It shows that "no obstacle can hinder the Iranian nation's determination and will in the defense field," Hatami added.
Although Tehran insists its missiles are defensive and meant to serve as deterrence against its enemies, Israel, Saudi Arabia and the United States accuse the Islamic Republic of behaving aggressively.
As Iranians marked the anniversary of the revolution, the US on Saturday lashed out at the country's leadership, insisting it had failed to make good on pledges to improve the lives of ordinary people.
"When he returned to Iran in 1979, Ayatollah Khomeini made lots of promises to the Iranian people, including justice, freedom, and prosperity," the US State Department said on Twitter.
"40 years later, Iran's ruling regime has broken all those promises."
Saturday’s exhibition in Tehran comes days after the deputy commander of Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guards Corps warned Israel that a conflict with the Islamic Republic would “definitely lead to its elimination” and said that Tehran was pursuing a strategy to “eradicate the Zionist regime from the political geography of the world”.
"We declare that if Israel takes any action to wage a war against us, it will definitely lead to its own elimination and freeing occupied territories," Brigadier General Hossein Salami, deputy head of the IRGC, was quoted by Reuters as saying on Iranian state television.
“Our strategy is to eradicate the Zionist regime from the political geography of the world,” he continued.
On Friday, thousands of Iranians packed the mausoleum of the Islamic republic's founder Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini in Tehran to launch celebrations for the 40th anniversary of its revolution.
Ceremonies for the 1979 revolution started at 9:33 am (0603 GMT), the exact time that Khomeini returned to Iran after 14 years in exile and his plane touched down at Tehran airport.
Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati, head of the influential experts assembly which appoints the Islamic republic's supreme leader, delivered a keynote speech rebuking political factions seeking better ties with Washington.
"Curses on the wrong school of thought that thinks we can't run the country unless America helps us," he said, shaking a raised left hand.
"America's power is on the decline, we should not be afraid of America," Jannati said as the crowd shouted slogans such as "Death to America" and "Death to Israel".
Israel continuously pledges to prevent Iran from entrenching itself militarily in neighboring Syria, warning that Tehran seeks to form a contiguous "land bridge" across to the Mediterranean controlled by its various proxies.
Israel admits to having carried out hundreds of airstrikes in Syria against what it says are Iranian military targets and advanced arms deliveries to Tehran-backed Hezbollah.
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