A senior commander in Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps claimed his country has the most advanced missile technology in the Middle East.
“Today, we rank first in the missile technology at the regional level and are placed among the few global powers in this regard,” Brig. Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh, the head of the IRGC Aerospace Force, was quoted as saying Sunday by Press TV.
Hajizadeh claimed Iran was the leading regional power on drone technology and said the IRGC’s downing of a US unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) in June showed the capabilities of Iranian radar and air-defense systems.
He also said Iran could not let up on its efforts to develop new military technologies.
“We shall stall and lag behind the enemy should we stop pedaling. Therefore, we need to go ahead with our deterrent activities in a round-the-clock manner and also make every effort in boost [our military] capabilities,” Hajizadeh said.
The IRGC general has previously talked up Iran’s military prowess, saying last year that Tehran is capable of extending the range of its ballistic missiles beyond its current 2,000 kilometer (1,240 mile) limit.
Earlier this month, Iran unveiled three new precision-guided missiles, with its defense minister saying they show that the country is ready to defend itself in the face of US “viciousness and conspiracies.”
The new lineup of air-to-air missiles dubbed the “Yasin,” “Balaban” and a new series of the “Ghaem” were developed jointly by the ministry and Sa Iran, also known as Iran Electronics Industries.
They were unveiled amid tensions between Iran and the US and its allies in the Strait of Hormuz — a vital corridor linking oil producing countries in the Middle East to markets in Asia, Europe and North America.
Tensions spiked a year after the US withdrew from a 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers and began stepping up a campaign of “maximum pressure” on the Islamic Republic.
In pulling out of the deal, US President Donald Trump in part faulted the accord for not addressing Iran’s ballistic missile program. The US fears Iran could use its missile technology and space program to build nuclear-capable intercontinental ballistic missiles, something Tehran denies it wants to do.
However, a UN Security Council resolution was passed at the time of the 2015 deal’s signing prohibiting Iran from testing ballistic missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads.
Last month, Iran was said to have tested the Shahab-3, a medium-range ballistic missile that is widely believed to be capable of delivering a nuclear warhead.
Iran has maintained its missile program is for defense purposes only and rejected negotiations over it.
Agencies contributed to this report.