World Bulletin / News Desk
Iran unveiled new missile and artillery systems on Tuesday, Iranian media reported, on the second day of large-scale military exercises which officials said were aimed at sending a warning to those threatening the Islamic Republic.
Played out against a backdrop of high tension between Iran and the West over Tehran's nuclear programme, the "Velayat 4" manoeuvres across a vast swathe of the eastern half of the country have focused on air defences.
Israel has threatened to strike Iran's nuclear sites if diplomacy and Western sanctions fail to stop the country's atomic programme, which the United States and its allies believe is aimed at developing an atomic bomb, a charge Tehran denies.
The three domestically-built missile and artillery systems would be a significant boost to Iran's military defences, said Farzad Esmaili, head of Iran's air defence headquarters.
"The low-altitude missile system 'Ya Zahra 3' is completely indigenous and Iranian and has been designed and produced to suit internal needs," Esmaili was quoted as saying by the Iranian Students' News Agency (ISNA).
He said the second missile system named 'Qader' was highly mobile and could be deployed in less than 30 minutes, while a new artillery system named 'Safat' could escape detection by enemy surveillance.
"Today and tomorrow, the most significant firing of missiles in the ... exercises will take place," Esmaili said, according to state television.
Western experts say Iran often exaggerates its weapons capabilities, although there are concerns about its longer-range missiles.
The military drills come less than a week after the U.S. Pentagon said Iranian planes opened fire on an unarmed U.S. drone over international waters on Nov. 1.
Iran said it had repelled "an enemy's unmanned aircraft" violating its airspace.
Iranian officials have threatened to strike U.S. military bases in the region and target Israel if its nuclear sites are attacked. Tehran frequently says it has carried out successful missile tests.
In August, it said it test-fired a short-range missile called the Fateh-110, which it said was capable of striking land and sea targets at a range of around 300 km (180 miles).
In July, Iran said it had successfully test-fired medium-range missiles capable of hitting Israel, and tested dozens of missiles aimed at simulated air bases.
Last Mod: 13 Kasım 2012, 15:29