Iran released images of its first domestically built long-range missile defense system on Sunday, a project started when the country was under international sanctions.
Images released on multiple state news agencies showed President Hassan Rouhani and Minister of Defense Hossein Dehghan standing in front of the new Bavar 373 missile defense system.
The system was designed to intercept cruise missiles, drones, combat aircraft and ballistic missiles, according to earlier statements by Dehghan.
It was intended to match the Russian S-300 system, the delivery of which was suspended in 2010 due to sanctions imposed over Iran’s nuclear program.
“We did not intend to make an Iranian version of the S-300 — we wanted to build an Iranian system, and we built it,” Dehghan told the IRNA news agency on Saturday.
— Tasnim News Agency (@Tasnimnews_EN) August 21, 2016
Rouhani said in a televised speech that Iran’s military budget had more than doubled compared with last year.
“If we are able to discuss with world powers around the negotiating table, it is because of our national strength, because of our national unity,” he said.
In 2015, shortly before the conclusion of an international agreement on the nuclear program, Moscow re-authorized the delivery of the S-300 system in a move criticized by the United States and Israel.
Iran’s army said in May that it was now equipped with the S-300 system, though further parts are due over the coming months.
— Amirhosein (@Amirh_91) August 21, 2016
Rouhani also unveiled the first Iranian-made fighter jet engine on Sunday, saying it was capable of flight at 50,000 feet.
“The Islamic Republic is one of eight countries in the world who have mastered the technology to build these engines,” the president said.
A day earlier, Iran vowed to continue its efforts to advance its missile technology, and expressed its unceasing support for those who form the “anti-Zionism front” as well as for fighters in other “proxy and terrorist wars in the region.”
The pledge came as part of a statement from the General Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces to mark the country’s National Defense Industry Day, the semi-official Fars news agency reported.
Iran’s army and defense experts “will continue the trend of increasing the power and enhancing the precision striking and the destructive power of our missiles,” the statement said.
Last month, FOX News reported that Iran conducted its fourth ballistic missile test since it signed a deal with world powers last year to curb its nuclear activity.
Tehran’s new ballistic missile, made using North Korean technology, exploded shortly after launch outside the city of Isfahan, intelligence officials told the media outlet.
According to the July report, the maximum range of the missile is 2,500 miles (4,000 kilometers), more than twice the distance between Tehran and Jerusalem.
Though not banned by Iran’s 2015 nuclear agreement, the launch violated United Nations resolution 2231, which calls on Tehran to refrain from ballistic missiles development, including testing, for eight years.
Iran has maintained it never sought to acquire nuclear weapons and never will, and the agreement does not prohibit legitimate and conventional military activities.
Tehran said earlier in July it would continue its ballistic missile program even after UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon said the missile tests were not in the spirit of the nuclear deal.