Iran has announced the launch of a new missile production line, according to its state media, against a backdrop of tension between the United States and Tehran.
The Sayyad 3 missile can reach an altitude of 27km and travel up to 120km, Iran’s Defence Minister Hossein Dehghan said at an undisclosed location of an inauguration ceremony.
The missile can target fighter planes, unmanned aerial vehicles, cruise missiles and helicopters, Dehghan said.
Last week, the United States slapped new economic sanctions on Iran over its ballistic missile program, and said Tehran’s “malign activities” in the Middle East undercut any “positive contributions” coming from a 2015 Iran nuclear accord.
The U.S. government said it was targeting 18 entities and people for supporting what it said were “illicit Iranian actors or transnational criminal activity”.
Those sanctioned had backed Iran’s military or the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps by developing drones and military equipment, producing and maintaining boats, and procuring electronic components, it said. Others had “orchestrated the theft of U.S. and Western software programs” sold to Iran’s government, the Treasury Department said.
On Monday, the Trump administration said Iran was complying with the nuclear agreement but that it was in default of the spirit of the accord.
NATO considers the missiles system to be one of the most advanced in the world. Israeli Air force commander Major General Amir Eshel said the S-300 could pose a ‘significant but not insurmountable challenge’.
Iran has long been preoccupied with potentially having to defend its nuclear weapons programme from Israeli or American fighters.
In 2016 it agreed to dismantle major parts of its nuclear programme in return for the lifting of sanctions, however tensions remain.