Selin ATAY-TDO- Ignoring U.S. demands that Iran halt its missile programme, Tehran unveiled a surface-to-surface ballistic missile that had a range of 1,400 kilometres and a new cruise missile.
“The surface-to-surface missile, called martyr Qassem Soleimani, has a range of 1,400 km. The cruise missile, called martyr Abu Mahdi, has a range of over 1,000 km,” Defense Minister Amir Hatami said on TV.
The head of Iran’s elite Quds Force Gen Qasem Soleimani and Iraqi militia commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis were killed in January in a strike ordered by U.S. President Donald Trump on their convoy in Baghdad airport.
Pictures of the missiles were shown on state TV and Hatami said those missiles are “the newest Iranian cruise missile that will further strengthen Iran’s deterrence power”.
“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.” president added.
The announcement comes as 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 P5+1.
Tensions have been high between Iran and United States since 2018, when President Donald Trump pulled out the his country from the deal and reimposed crippling sanctions on Iran, under the name of “maximum pressure” campaign.