Iran says new cruise missile successfully fired on revolution’s 40th anniversary

Iran says new cruise missile successfully fired on revolution’s 40th anniversary

Video shows test of ‘Hoveyzeh,’ allegedly a high-precision weapon capable of carrying a large payload for up to 1,200 kilometers

Iran says it successfully tested the Hoveizeh cruise missile on February 2, 2019 (Screen grab via Tasnim)
Iran says it successfully tested the Hoveizeh cruise missile on February 2, 2019 (Screen grab via Tasnim)

Iran on Saturday said it had successful fired a new long-range cruise missile, amid events marking 40 years since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

The missile, dubbed Hoveyzeh, was described as a high-precision weapon capable of flying at low altitudes and able to carry a significant payload.

“The test of the Hoveizeh cruise missile was carried out successfully at a range of 1,200 kilometers (840 miles) and accurately hit the set target,” Defense Minister Amir Hatami said, quoted on state television which broadcast footage of its launch.

“It can be ready in the shortest possible time and flies at a very low altitude,” he said.

Iran has been known to exaggerate the capabilities of its weaponry, and there was no independent confirmation of Tehran’s claims.

Hatami described the Hoveizeh as the “long arm of the Islamic Republic of Iran” in defending itself.

“The Hoveyzeh missile is the symbol of self-belief and an important defense achievement based on today’s technological progress in the world,” Hatami said.

It shows “no obstacle can hinder the Iranian nation’s determination and will in the defense field,” he said, noting statements by Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei that the nation “will decisively respond to any kind of threat at the same level.”

In the 37-second video, the launch was shown from different angles with the projectile finally hitting somewhere in the desert.

Iran’s ballistic missiles program (cruise missiles are in a different category) has been met with mounting concern in the West. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo recently accused Iran of testing a medium-range ballistic missile capable of “carrying multiple warheads,” which he said could strike “anywhere” in the Middle East and even parts of Europe.

Hoveizeh, Iran’s new cruise missile, is seen during an exhibition in the capital Tehran on February 2, 2019.(Atta Kenare/AFP)

The program was among the reasons cited by US President Donald Trump for leaving the 2015 nuclear deal last year and reimposing crippling sanctions.

As Iranians marked the anniversary of the revolution, the US on Saturday lashed out at the country’s leadership, insisting it had failed to make good on pledges to improve the lives of ordinary people.

“When he returned to Iran in 1979, Ayatollah Khomeini made lots of promises to the Iranian people, including justice, freedom, and prosperity,” the US State Department said on Twitter. “40 years later, Iran’s ruling regime has broken all those promises.”

The deputy commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps said Thursday his country has developed a “strategic capacity” to destroy Israel. On Tuesday, Ali Shamkhani, the secretary of Iran’s National Security Council, warned that terror groups Hamas and Hezbollah were prepared to unleash an “inferno” on the Jewish State.

Speaking at a space tech conference, Shamkhani spoke of “hundreds of kilometers of tunnels dug underneath [Israelis’] feet, and the resistance forces in Gaza and Lebanon have missiles with pinpoint accuracy and are ready to respond to any foolish Israeli behavior with an inferno.”

Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani in Tehran, Iran, January 17, 2017. (Ebrahim Noroozi/AP)

The comments followed a series of reciprocal taunts by Israeli and Iranian leaders in recent weeks amid rising tensions on the Israeli-Syrian border between IDF and Iranian forces.

On Wednesday Iran announced that it is producing large amounts of yellowcake, a precursor to enriched uranium, and has shipped two batches of the material to a uranium conversion facility.

Ali Akbar Salehi, head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, said the Islamic Republic was ready to increase its production of yellowcake to 300 tons per year over the next five to six years, and had shipped 30 tons of yellowcake from the Shahid Rezaeinzhad Industrial Complex in the central province of Yazd to a conversion facility in Isfahan province, according to Iranian media reports.

Salehi said that the new facility was at full capacity, that Iran was extracting uranium from a mine in Yazd province and other still-unidentified mines, and had discovered large amounts of the material in the country through aerial surveys.

Yellowcake is a uranium concentrate in powder form and an early step in uranium processing. It is produced by mining uranium ore from rocks and separating the uranium from the rocks by bathing them in acid. The yellowcake can then be converted, enriched to raise its purity, and then used for weapons or energy production.

US President Donald Trump pulled out of the nuclear deal in May last year but the other signatories — Britain, France, Germany, Russia, China and Iran — have all agreed to try to keep the pact alive on their own. Trump insists the original agreement did not go far enough in curbing Iran’s nuclear weapons ambitions and wants to renegotiate the JCPOA with stricter terms. In the meantime Washington has imposed heavy sanctions on Iran that could weaken the ability of the remaining parties to maintain the deal.

Agencies contributed to this report.

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