Iran to Unveil New Missiles During Military Parades

An Iranian medium range missile Zelzal passes by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani during the annual military parade
An Iranian medium-range missile Zelzal passes by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani during annual military parade / Getty
April 16, 2018

Iran is set to unveil new advanced ballistic missiles during an upcoming military parade this week, a move that flouts international restrictions on such activity and complicates ongoing efforts by the Trump administration and European allies to crack down on Iran's missile production, according to regional reports.

Iranian military leaders disclosed on Monday that the Islamic Republic is set to unveil a new short-range missile capable of striking targets more than double the distance of current versions of the missile.

Iran is expected to deploy the weapon to warzones in the region to combat what Iranian officials described as "regional threats."

The unveiling of these new missiles is likely to complicate ongoing efforts by the Trump administration and European allies to solidify a range of fixes to the landmark Iran nuclear deal that would crack down on Iran's ongoing ballistic missile program and research into nuclear arms.

Iranian Army Airborne Commander Yousef Qorbani announced the production of the new missile on Monday and said it would formally be introduced to the nation during military parades on April 18, Iran's "military day."

"The range of the missile has doubled to fly 8 to 12km farther compared with the previous version and given the regional threats that we are facing, they can be highly effective in combats in short-range combat zones," Qorbani was quoted as saying in Iran's state controlled media.

The United States and international powers remain concerned that Iran's missile production and research could help it power a nuclear weapon. While global powers have focused mainly on Iran's long-range ballistic missile development, Trump administration allies have been pressuring the White House to include shorter-range missiles capable of striking Israel into any new deal.

In addition to the new missile, Iran is expected to display helicopters equipped with rockets and machine guns, which Iran says would "be a good choice for combat in proxy and guerilla warfares."

They could also be used to support Iranian operations in Syria and other contested areas of the region.

"Our dear experts in the air industry have had a highly successful performance and have equipped our helicopters with night-vision systems," Qorbani was quoted as saying.

"We have also become fully indigenized in the field of long-range missile systems. Turning ground-based missiles to air-based missiles and enjoying the best fire-and-forget missiles are among other achievements of the Army Airborne Unit," he said.

Iran's stockpile of ballistic missiles remains among the highest in the region.

As global powers seek to fix the Iran deal ahead of a May deadline—when the Trump administration will have to decide whether or not to abandon the deal or grant sweeping sanctions relief to Iran—Iranian leaders have maintained that they will not follow any new restrictions on its missile program.

Published under: Iran , Iran Nuclear Deal