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Iran says it has launched ‘cruise missile capable’ submarine

Locally made Fateh-class submersible makes Tehran self-reliant on land, air and sea, Rouhani says at unveiling

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, center with white turban, and other dignitaries attend the inauguration of the new Iranian made 'Fateh' submarine in Bandar Abbas on February 17, 2019. (Iranian Presidency Office via AP)
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, center with white turban, and other dignitaries attend the inauguration of the new Iranian made 'Fateh' submarine in Bandar Abbas on February 17, 2019. (Iranian Presidency Office via AP)

TEHRAN — Iran on Sunday launched a new, locally-built submarine capable of firing cruise missiles, state TV said, in the country’s latest show of military might at a time of heightened tensions with the US.

The launch ceremony, led by President Hassan Rouhani, took place in the southern port city of Bandar Abbas.

“Today, the Islamic Republic of Iran is fully self-reliant on land, air and sea,” Rouhani said. “Our defensive power is meant to defend our interests and we have never sought to attack any country.”

Named the Fateh (Farsi for “Conqueror”), the new submarine is Iran’s first in the semi-heavy category, the Fars news agency said, and it fills a gap between the light Ghadir class and the heavy, Russian-made Kilo class submarines that the country possesses.

Fars said the near 600-ton underwater vessel is equipped with torpedoes and naval mines, in addition to cruise missiles, and can operate more than 200 meters below sea level for up to 35 days.

The US withdrew from a 2015 multilateral nuclear deal with Iran in May 2018 and re-imposed biting unilateral sanctions later last year.

Ten days ago, Iran’s Revolutionary Guards unveiled a new ballistic missile with a range of 1,000 kilometers (620 miles), the elite unit’s official media agency Sepah News, said.

The surface-to-surface missile — called Dezful — is an upgrade on the older Zolfaghar model that had a range of 700 kilometers, aerospace commander Brigadier General Amirali Hajizadeh said.

Rouhani said at the launch that “pressure by enemies, the (Iran-Iraq) war and sanctions” were incentives for Tehran to be self-reliant in its defense industry.

“Maybe we would not have this motivation to industrialize our defense sector,” he said, if Iran could just buy the weaponry it needed.

Iran’s top military brass and cabinet ministers attended the ceremony.

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