by Oleg Burunov
In late June, Iranian Navy Commander Rear Admiral Hossein Khanzadi announced that Tehran would soon begin manufacturing a new class of supersonic cruise missiles to complement the subsonic weapons currently in service in the country.
Tehran has unveiled a spate of new ballistic and cruise missiles designed and manufactured in Iran, the country’s Defence Minister Amir Hatami said in a televised speech on Thursday.
He added that the surface-to-surface missile named after martyr Qasem Soleimani, has a range of 1,400 kilometres (870 miles), while the cruise missile, called in honor of martyr Abu Mahdi, has a range of more than 1,000 kilometres (600 miles).
Soleimani, head of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ elite Quds Force, along with senior militia commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis were killed in a US drone strike authorised by President Donald Trump on their car at the Baghdad International Airport in early January.
The killing further escalated the already tense relations between Tehran and Washington which have been deteriorating since the latter’s unilateral withdrawal from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), and the reinstatement of tough American economic sanctions against the Islamic Republic.
Tehran’s rollout of the new missiles comes a few weeks after US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement that the Trump administration would expand its metals sanctions against the Islamic Republic to cover 22 additional materials “used in connection with Iran’s nuclear, military, or ballistic missile programmes”.
The statement followed Iranian Navy Commander Rear Admiral Hossein Khanzadi in late June stating that the country would soon start manufacturing a new class of supersonic cruise missiles known as the Talaeey-e to add to its current arsenal of subsonic weapons.
Tehran has repeatedly resisted US and European pressure to reduce its missile power, underscoring the need to defend itself against foreign aggression and saying that Iran’s missile programme “cannot and will not be negotiated”.
The Islamic Republic is known to possess more than 1,000 short and medium-range missiles, and is reported to have ramped up its development and production following the US exit from the JCPOA.