- Associated Press - Sunday, March 17, 2013

TEHRAN (AP) — Iran launched a domestically built destroyer in the Caspian Sea on Sunday, its first deployment of a major warship in the oil-rich region, state TV reported.

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad inaugurated the guided missile destroyer Jamaran-2 in the port city of Anzali, about 150 miles northwest of Tehran.

He said the deployment aimed to bolster peace and friendship in the region.

“The destroyer is there to meet those who want to jeopardize the security of surrounding nations,” Mr. Ahmadinejad said, without elaborating.

There are multiple disputes between the nations that surround the Caspian — Iran, Russia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan — on how the inland sea should be divided.

After final tests, the report said, Jamaran-2 will join Iran‘s naval fleet in the sea in coming months.

The 1,400-ton destroyer, which has a helicopter landing pad, is 94 yards long and can cruise at 30 knots. It is equipped with surface-to-surface and surface-to-air missiles as well as anti-aircraft batteries and sophisticated radar and communications terminals, the report said.

Iran launched a previous version of the Jamaran destroyer in 2010 in the Persian Gulf.

Since 1992, Iran has been building a self-sufficient military, reportedly producing its own jet fighters, tanks, missiles and light submarines as well as torpedoes.

Mr. Ahmadinejad said that the West has learned from Iran‘s technical expertise that the country’s nuclear capabilities cannot be eliminated.

Both Israel and the United States have not ruled out military strikes against Iran‘s nuclear facilities. The West suspects Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons, a charge Iran denies.

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