A top Iranian military leader announced late Tuesday that Iran has developed “indigenous” ballistic missile technology, which could eventually allow it to fire a nuclear payload over great distances.
Brigadier General Hossein Salami, the lieutenant commander of Iran’s elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), made the critical weapons announcement just days after Iran and the West signed a deal aimed at curbing the country’s nuclear activities.
Salami claimed that “Iran is among the only three world countries enjoying an indigenous ballistic missile technology,” according to the state-run Fars News Agency.
“Many countries may have access to cruise missiles technology, but when it comes to ballistic missiles, I am confident that only the U.S. and the [former] Soviet Union could master this technology, and now we can announce that we own this technology as well,” Salami told Fars.
The IRGC leader said that Iran is quickly developing advanced military know-how.
“While we did not have any knowledge about drones, we have developed and acquired drones that travel 2,000 kilometers, conduct their operations, and then land in our desirable regions,” he was quoted as saying.
Iran’s claim to ballistic missiles would be a major development for a country known to use its military machinery as a means of intimidating its regional neighbors.
Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton said Iran’s ballistic missile announcement is no surprise.
“Iran’s ballistic missile program has always been to provide the delivery vehicles nor nuclear warheads,” Bolton said. “The timing of the IRGC announcement is no coincidence.”
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