BY ELIZABETH ARROTT —Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is hailing the country’s first domestically built drone bomber. The unmanned aircraft, unveiled Sunday, is the latest in a series of Iranian announcements of military advances.
The Iranian military displayed the drone, dubbed the Karrar – or “striker” – at a ceremony attended by top officials. State media say it can carry out long-range attacks up to 1,000 kilometers carrying a 200-kilogram bomb.
President Ahmadinejad called the Karrar a symbol of death to Iran’s enemies.
But he also argued the drone serves as “a messenger of salvation and dignity for humanity”. The Iranian leader said it is aimed at deterring any act of foreign aggression.
As tensions continue to rise over Iran’s disputed nuclear program, so too have discussions of a possible military action by Israel to disrupt it. Israel has not ruled out a strike, in the face of Iranian officials’ repeated vows to destroy what it refers to as the Zionist entity.
On Saturday, Iran began loading its long-delayed Bushehr nuclear power plant with fuel. Inspectors with the International Atomic Energy Agency were on hand to witness the launch of the Russian-built reactor.
Tehran says its nuclear program is solely for peaceful, civilian use. But its failure to answer IAEA concerns about its activities and past attempts to conceal nuclear sites have led to four rounds of U.N. sanctions. Western intelligence agencies have given varying estimates of when they think Iran could possibly produce a nuclear weapon, with some giving a timeline of about a year.
Iranian authorities have argued the country can persevere, despite the sanctions and point to such achievements as the opening of the Bushehr reactor as well as military advances, including Friday’s test-firing of a new surface-to-surface missile. Earlier this month, the Iranian military launched four new Iranian-built submarines.
At Sunday’s ceremony, President Ahmadinejad said Iran should be able to reach a point where it will be a defense umbrella for other nations against what he called “world aggressors.”
He added that Iran does not want to attack anywhere, but the country could not sit idly by in the face of tyranny.
Independent analysts have not verified the effectiveness of any of the latest Iranian military achievements.
Source: VOA News