TEHRAN (AP) — Iran’s president on Tuesday unveiled an upgraded version of a short-range surface-to-surface ballistic missile just weeks after it was test-fired, the country’s state-media reported.
At the ceremony for Fateh-110, or Conqueror, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told a group of defense officials that Iran wants to advance its defense technology “not in an aggressive context, but as a deterrence.”
“We do not seek it for conquest, domination of neighboring countries and the world. We do not want it because of defiance,” Mr. Ahmadinejad said, according to state TV.
Iran considers both the United States and Israel as potential adversaries. Neither country has ruled out a military strike against Iran’s nuclear program, which they claim is aimed at developing nuclear weapons. Iran says its program is for peaceful purposes.
The official IRNA news agency reported Tuesday that the new version of Fateh-110 has a quicker launch capability and a longer life and can be used in adverse weather conditions, but it gave no other details. The missile has been in service in Iran during the past decade.
Iran claimed earlier in August that it successfully had test-fired the missile, saying at the time that Fateh-110 has an improved accuracy to strike land and naval targets within a 185-mile range.
Since 1992, Iran has tried to set up a self-sufficient military program. The country’s military leaders have said they believe future wars will take place in the air and on sea, and Tehran has sought to upgrade its air defense systems and naval power in anticipation of such a possibility.
Iran also has been pushing to upgrade its missiles, which already can target Israel and U.S. bases in the Middle East. The Pentagon released a report in June noting significant advances in Iranian missile technology, acknowledging that the Islamic Republic has improved the accuracy and firing capabilities of its missiles.
At Tuesday’s ceremony marking the national day of Iran’s defense industry, Mr. Ahmadinejad also unveiled several other new Iranian-made weapons, such as a naval diesel engine, a mortar launcher, a monitoring military intelligence system and tactical SUVs.
Gen. Ahmad Vahidi, the defense minister, said Iran will commission a new generation of fighter jets, missiles, unmanned drones and submarines by the Iranian New Year, which falls in March 2013.
Iran’s purported military advancements are impossible to independently verify because the country does not release technical details of its arsenals or rely on equipment from major international defense contractors.
Tehran occasionally announces additions to its arsenal, holds inauguration ceremonies, starts up new production lines and test-fires new missiles.
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