AFP: Defence Minister Ahmad Vahidi said on Friday that Iran has test fired a surface-to-surface missile, Qiam, while footage of the event was screened on state television.
TEHRAN (AFP) — Defence Minister Ahmad Vahidi said on Friday that Iran has test fired a surface-to-surface missile, Qiam, while footage of the event was screened on state television.
Vahidi’s announcement comes a day before Iran is scheduled to launch its Russian-built first nuclear power plant in the southern port city of Bushehr.
The television images showed the sand coloured Qiam (Rising) blasting into the air from a desert terrain, amid chants of “Allahu Akbar” (God is greatest).
The words “Ya Mahdi” were written on the side of the missile, referring to Imam Mahdi, one of the 12 imams of Shiite Islam, who disappeared as a boy and whom the faithful believe will return one day to bring redemption to mankind.
Vahidi, who was speaking during Friday prayers in Tehran, did not say when the launch took place nor did he reveal the precise range of the missile.
“The missile has new technical aspects and has a unique tactical capacity,” he said on state television, adding that the device was of a “new class.”
“Since the surface-to-surface missile has no wings, it has lot of tactical power, which also reduces the chances of it being intercepted,” he said.
On Tuesday, Vahidi had said that Qiam was to be test fired during the annual government week, the period when Tehran touts its achievements in various fields. This year government week begins on Monday.
The third generation Fateh 110 (Conqueror) missile was also to be test fired during this period. Iran has previously paraded a version of Fateh 110 which has a travel range of 150 to 200 kilometres (90 to 125 miles).
Also during government week, the production lines of two missile-carrying speedboats, Seraj (Lamp) and Zolfaqar (named after Shiite Imam Ali’s sword) are due to be inaugurated, while a long-range drone, Karar, is expected to be unveiled.
The firing of Qiam comes days after a top commander from the Revolutionary Guards said Iran will mass produce replicas of the Bladerunner 51, often described as the world’s fastest boat, and equip them with weapons to be deployed in the Gulf.
On August 8, Iran took delivery of four new mini-submarines of the home-produced Ghadir class. Weighing 120 tonnes, the “stealth” submarines are aimed at operations in shallow waters, notably in the Gulf.
Iranian officials regularly boast about the Islamic republic’s military capabilities and the latest missile launch comes at a time when local officials have been warning against any attack on the Islamic republic.
Iran’s arch foes, the United States and Israel have not ruled out a military strike against Tehran to stop its controversial nuclear programme.
On Saturday, Iran is launching its Russian-built first nuclear power plant which eventually aims to generate electricity.
The plant is scheduled to go online after more than three decades of delays.