Iran says it has built a new missile able to hit targets 2,000 km away, matching the range of another missile in the Islamic Republic’s arsenal, the Shabab-3.
Iranian Defence Minister Mostafa Mohammad Najjar, whose comments were carried by Fars News Agency on Tuesday, did not say how the new weapon differed from the Shahab-3, which could hit Israel and has previously been viewed as Iran’s longest range missile.
“The construction of the Ashoura missile, with the range of 2,000 km (1,250 miles), is among the accomplishments of the Defence Ministry,” the minister told a gathering of the Basij religious militia, which is holding manoeuvres this week. He also said a new Iranian-built submarine would be delivered to the navy on Wednesday.
Although Iran regularly says it has made major advances in its weaponry, Western experts say it rarely gives enough detail to confirm the capabilities.
Navy Commander Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayari had said on Saturday that his force would take delivery of a new submarine this week ahead of military manoeuvres planned for February in the Strait of Hormuz, the entrance to the Gulf waterway.
Western experts say Iranian weaponry would be no match for US technology but say Iran could still cause havoc in the Gulf, a major international oil shipping route.
Iran, embroiled in a row with the West over its nuclear programme, has said it would target US interests in the region if it came under attack.
The US has said it wants diplomacy to end the dispute over Iran’s nuclear plans, which the West believes are aimed at building atomic bombs. But Washington has not ruled out military action if the diplomatic route fails.