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Iran on Monday unveiled new missiles, torpedoes, and warships just a week after nuclear negotiations between Tehran and the West broke apart with little headway made between the sides.
The new military hardware was widely publicized by Iranian military leaders following an order by Supreme Leader Ali Khamanei urging the country’s armed forces to step up their combat readiness despite an extension in nuclear talks with the West.
The Iranian Navy displayed a crop of new vessels equipped with cruise missiles and other rockets. Also unveiled were new attack helicopters “equipped with Iran’s latest home-grown torpedoes,” according to Iranian military leaders quoted by the country’s state-controlled press.
The show of force is likely meant to send a message to the United States and other Western nations following another failed round of talks over Iran’s contested nuclear weapons program.
Iran is pushing for the West to formally recognize its right to enrich uranium, the key component in a nuclear weapon, while Western powers are seeking to limit the scope and secrecy of the program.
The tough rhetoric from Tehran is being backed up by a show of military force focusing on Iran’s ability to domestically produce a range of advanced weaponry, including cruise missiles.
“10 Navy vessels have or are being armed with missile systems,” Rear Admiral Abbas Zamini, the Iranian Navy’s technical affairs chief, announced during a military ceremony on Monday, according to Iran’s Fars News Agency.
“These missiles include Nasr, Nour, and Qader cruise missiles,” Zamini was quoted as saying.
Iranian Army Commander, Major General Ataollah Salehi, additionally bragged that Iran’s “missiles, rockets, and artilleries” are “the best” during the ceremony.
“Today all our units, including subsurface, vessel, and air units are equipped with the best missiles, rockets and artilleries,” he was quoted as saying.
The new missile-armed warships will be deployed to southern Iran and include “Sirik-class and Kalat-class warships, as well as 4 Fajr, Shams, Fath, and Nour vessels,” according to Fars.
“All these vessels which were used in logistical and sea patrolling missions before have been equipped with surface-to-surface cruise missiles now,” Fars reported military leaders as saying.
The Navy also unveiled two new anti-subsurface helicopters, along with new hovercrafts, anti-surface helicopters, and a sea patrol aircraft “equipped with Iran’s latest home-grown torpedoes,” according to Fars.
These torpedoes are diverse and can also be fired from submarines or surface vessels.
Iran announced last week that it is using several new combat and radar systems.
As the new hardware was displayed, Iranian military leaders stepped up their rhetoric, stating that Iran will do what it pleases in international waters.
“The countries which are deployed in the Gulf of Aden region are members of a military pact but we act (in that region) independent from others and are after the establishment of peace and friendship,” Salehi was quoted as saying on Monday.
Khamenei said over the weekend during a televised speech that the negotiations provide Iran time to “build up on preemptive capacities.”
“Peacetime offers great opportunities for our armed forces to … build up on preemptive capacities,” Khamenei reportedly said.
“Given our vast maritime borders and the enemy’s huge investments in this area, our armed forces should continuously improve their [combat] readiness, irrespective of political calculations,” the supreme leader added.