DUBAI: Iran will unveil an upgrade of its Emad ballistic missiles this year, its defence minister has been quoted as saying.
The missile programme has drawn criticism from the United Nations and sanctions from the United States.
Iran would also start taking delivery of an advanced Russian surface-to-air missile defence system in the next two months, Hossein Dehghan added. The delivery was blocked before a landmark nuclear deal with world powers.
Tehran agreed to the deal on curbing its nuclear work in July last year and international sanctions were lifted in January. But tensions with Washington have remained high as Tehran continues to develop its military capabilities.
Iran first tested the Emad missile in October. With improved accuracy over its existing arsenal, Iran says the new missile will be an important part of its conventional deterrent.
But the United States claims the Emad is capable of carrying a nuclear warhead and the test therefore violated a UN resolution. Washington imposed fresh sanctions last month against Iranian individuals and businesses linked to the missile programme.
“We will unveil the next generation of Emad with improved precision in the next (Iranian) year (starting from March 20),” Mr Dehghan was quoted as saying by the Fars news agency late on Tuesday.
“The Emad missile is not a violation of the nuclear deal or any UN resolution since we will never use a nuclear warhead (on it). It’s an allegation,” he said, adding that mass production of the missile would begin in the near future.
Courtesy : Dawn News