Iran unveils new missile, starts air defence site

Move looks like latest reply to threats of Israeli attack

Iran unveiled on Tuesday what it said was an upgraded short-range missile and said it would build a new air defence site, in what appeared to be an attempt to show its readiness against any Israeli attack.

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Defence Minister Ahmad Vahidi attended a ceremony at which officials unveiled the fourth-generation Fateh 110 short-range missile, with a range of about 300 km, and other upgraded hardware.

Ahmadinejad said Iran’s military upgrades were purely for defensive purposes and should not be taken as a threat, but said they would dissuade world powers from imposing their will on Iran.

“Defensive advances are meant to defend human integrity, and are not meant to be offensive moves toward others,” Ahmadinejad said, according to Mehr news agency.

“I have no doubt that our defensive capabilities can stand up to bullying and put a halt to their plans.”

Separately, Iran announced the start of construction on an air defence site, to be built in the south of the country about 210 km from its uranium enrichment facility in Isfahan, officials said.

The 200-hectare air defence installation in the Abadeh area would be the largest in that part of the country and will be built by Khatam al-Anbia, the engineering arm of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, and will eventually employ 6,000 people, Fars reported.

Grave threat

“If (the enemy) ever has the intent of attacking this soil, we will make the Persian Gulf their grave,” Abadeh’s governor, Mohammad Javad Askari, was quoted as saying at a ceremony marking the start of construction at the site.

Israel, believed to be the only atomic power in the Middle East, views Iran’s nuclear programme as an existential threat, citing Iranian threats to destroy the Jewish state.

There has been an upsurge in rhetoric from Israeli politicians this month suggesting Israel might attack Iran’s nuclear facilities ahead of the US presidential election in November.

Comments (+)