TEHRAN: Iran’s Revolutionary Guard on Friday unveiled its latest ballistic missile capable of reaching much of the Middle East, including Israel, while the country’s president vowed that Tehran would press ahead with its missile programme in defiance of US demands to the contrary.
The unveiling came during a military parade in Tehran that commemorated the 1980s Iraq-Iran war.
The move was a direct challenge to President Donald Trump, who in August signed a bill imposing mandatory penalties on those involved in Iran’s ballistic missile programme and anyone who does business with them.
Though Iran has long boasted of having missiles in the same range in its arsenal, it was the first time that the Khoramshahr, with a range of 2,000 kilometres was displayed in public.
In February, Iran test-fired the same medium-range type of missile, prompting Trump to say that the United States is “putting Iran on notice.”
Trump has vowed repeatedly to take a tougher line toward Iran than his predecessor, threatening at various times to renegotiate or even dismantle the nuclear deal, and shoot Iranian boats out of the water if they provoke US naval vessels in the Gulf.
Friday’s parade also showcased various Iranian army units and Revolutionary Guard forces, as well as the police. Similar parades were held in other Iranian cities.
Rouhani addressed the parade in Tehran, saying that Iran would not halt its missile program but continue to boost military capabilities, despite US demands.
“We will strengthen our defence and military capabilities ... whether you want it or not,” Rouhani said, a direct response to Trump’s speech at the UN General Assembly this week.
Rouhani added that “Iran’s military power lies in its commitment to never invade another country or land.”
He also said Tehran will keep supporting the “oppressed people of Yemen, Syria and Palestine” — a reference to Iran’s role in the wars in Yemen and Syria and its support for Palestinian militant groups such as Hamas.
Not many details are known about Khoramshahr. The state-run Irna news agency quoted chief of the Guard’s airspace division, Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh, as saying that the ballistic missile “can carry several warheads for various uses.” The agency did not provide further information.
Later on Friday, Iranians staged anti-Trump protest to show their anger over the US president’s speech. Thousands of worshippers marched after Friday prayers in Tehran, chanting “Death to America” and “Death to Israel.”
State media said similar protests took place in other Iranian cities and towns.