Iran today successfully test-fired a missile with the ability to avoid radar and hit several targets simultaneously, the air force chief of the elite Revolutionary Guards said.
“Today, a remarkable goal of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s defence forces was realised with the successful test-firing of a new missile with greater technical and tactical capabilities than those previously produced,” Gen Hossein Salami said on state-run television.
Salami said the Iranian-made missile was test-fired as large military manoeuvres began in the Persian Gulf and the Arabian sea.
“This missile can simultaneously hit several targets, has near stealth capabilities with a high manoeuvrability, pin point accuracy and radar avoidance features,” Salami said.
In Israel, a spokesman for the Foreign Ministry expressed his nation’s alarm at news of the latest Iranian missile.
“This news causes much concern,” said the spokesman, Mark Regev, “and that concern is shared by many countries in the international community, about Iran’s aggressive nuclear weapons program and her parallel efforts to develop delivery systems, both in the field of ballistic missiles and cruise missiles.
“The combination of extremist jihadist ideology, together with nuclear weapons and delivery systems, is a combination that no one in the international community can be complacent about,” he said.
Salami, the Iranian general, said the range of the missile would depend on the weight of its warhead.
The television, however, described it as a “ballistic” missile, suggesting it was of comparable range to Iran’s existing ballistic rocket, the Shahab-3, which can travel 1,250 miles and reach Israel and US bases in the Middle East.
The Shahab-3 is also capable of carrying a nuclear warhead.
The new missile is called Fajr-3, the television reported, screening a brief clip of its launch. Fajr means victory in Farsi.
“It can avoid anti-missile missiles and strike the target,” Salami said.
Salami said the missile would carry a multiple warhead, and each warhead would be capable of hitting its target precisely.
Last year, former defence minister Ali Shamkhani said that Iran had successfully tested a solid fuel motor for the Shahab-3, a technological breakthrough in Iran’s military industries.
Iran launched an arms development programme during its 1980-88 war with Iraq to compensate for a US weapons embargo. Since 1992, Iran has produced its own tanks, armoured personnel carriers, missiles and a fighter plane.
The military manoeuvres are scheduled to last a week and will involve 17,000 members of the Revolutionary Guards as well as boats, fighter jets and helicopter gunships.
As Iran is a major oil producer, the war games have contributed to the anxiety on world oil markets over the confrontation between the UN Security Council and Iran over its nuclear programme.
Meanwhile, former President Hashemi Rafsanjani said Iran is willing to sell the weapons it produces at competitive prices.
Addressing tens of thousands of worshippers at Friday prayers in Tehran University, Rafsanjani said the country’s 1980-88 war with Iraq had made it self-reliant in armaments.
“Today, our military requirements – from jet fighters to bullets – can be produced inside the country,” he said.
“We can provide low-priced weapons to many countries,” he added.