11/29/2007, 00.00
IRAN
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Under international pressure, Tehran builds new weapons

In the last few days Iranian military sources announce a missile with a range of 2,000 km that could reach Israel and a new submarine class equipped with the latest technology.

Tehran (AsiaNews) – Iran’s announcement that it is developing new weapon systems appear to be its response to isolation and growing international pressures against its nuclear programme. Tuesday Iranian Defence Minister Mostafa Mohammad Najjar was quoted by the Fars news agency as telling the Basij, the country’s Islamic militia, that the country had built a new missile, the Ashura, with a range of 2,000 kilometres (1,240 miles), sufficient to put Israel and US bases in the Middle East within easy reach.

On Wednesday state television gave wide berth to Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayari who announced the launching of a new home-produced submarine, the first in a class named “Ghadir.”

"This advanced submarine is equipped with the latest military and technological equipment," Rear Admiral Sayari was quoted as saying. “It was built after 10 years of design work. Its capabilities are equal to those of foreign types.”

In March 2006, the Iranian navy deployed a submarine named Narhang (Whale) but the pictures broadcast by state media at the time showed it was a minisub.

Sayari has said Tehran has no plans to block the Strait of Hormuz amid fears it could use the strategic oil passage as a weapon in its nuclear standoff with the West.

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