Iran tests ‘smart’ missile with 300-kilometer range

Top military officer says weapon can work in any weather conditions; deputy army chief reveals joint naval exercise with Russia planned soon for Indian Ocean

Illustrative: A missile is launched in a drill in Iran, January 15, 2021. (Iranian Revolutionary Guard/ Sepahnews via AP)
Illustrative: A missile is launched in a drill in Iran, January 15, 2021. (Iranian Revolutionary Guard/ Sepahnews via AP)

TEHRAN, Iran — Iran’s army test-fired a sophisticated short-range missile on Sunday, state media reported.

The report by the official IRNA news agency quoted the chief of the army’s ground forces, Gen. Kioumars Heidari, as saying that the missile’s range was 300 kilometers (186 miles).

Gen. Heidari said the “smart” missile is capable to work under “any weather condition.” He did not say where the test took place.

Iran’s national army controls short-range missiles, although longer-range ones capable of traveling up to 2,000 kilometers (1,250 miles) — far enough to reach archenemy Israel and US military bases — are controlled by the paramilitary Revolutionary Guard.

In a parallel development, deputy chief of the army Adm. Habibollah Sayyari told IRNA that Iran and Russia would hold a joint naval drill in the northern part of the Indian Ocean in the “near future.”

Adm. Sayyari said the drill was aimed at “reinforcing security” in the region. This is the second such drill since 2019, when the two nations held a four-day exercise alongside China’s navy.

Tehran has been seeking to step up military cooperation with Beijing and Moscow, while under U.-led sanctions. Visits to Iran by Russian and Chinese naval representatives have also increased in recent years.

In recent months, Iran has increased its military drills as the country tries to pressure President Joe Biden to reenter a previous nuclear accord that his predecessor Donald Trump abandoned. Biden has said America could reenter the deal.

On Thursday, the Guard conducted a drill near the Iraqi border using drones, helicopters, and tanks.

Trump in 2018 unilaterally withdrew the US from the Iranian nuclear accord, in which Tehran had agreed to limit its uranium enrichment in exchange for the lifting of economic sanctions.

When the US then increased sanctions, Iran gradually and publicly abandoned the deal’s limits on its nuclear development.

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