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Iran Unveils Homegrown Ballistic, Cruise Missiles Ahead Of US Move At UN


IRAN -- The "Martyr Hajj Qassem" missile is seen at an undisclosed location in Iran, August 20, 2020

Iran unveiled on Thursday two new homegrown ballistic and cruise missiles, amid tension with the United States over the U.S. move to reimpose U.N. sanctions and restore the arms embargo against the country.

The missiles were presented in a ceremony virtually attended by President Hassan Rouhani and Defense Minister Brigadier-General Ali Hatami to celebrate Defense Industries Day.

The surface-to-surface ballistic missile has a range of 1,400 kilometers, according to Iranian authorities, and has been named after Iran's slain Qods Force Commander Qassem Soleimani who was killed in a U.S. attack in Baghdad on January 3.

The cruise missile, named after the Iraqi militia leader Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis who was killed in the same targeted attack in Baghdad against Soleimani's convoy, has a range of 1,000 kilometers.

President Rouhani said in a speech that missiles, and particularly cruise missiles, are very important to Iran. "The fact that we have increased the range from 300 to 1,000 in less than two years is a great achievement," he said.

Iran's unveiling of the missiles defies U.S. demands for the country to halt its missile program. Tensions are running high between Iran and the U.S., with President Donald Trump saying on Wednesday that he ordered the commencement of the "snapback" provision of the 2015 nuclear agreement with Iran, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who will officially invoke the provision which allows any one of the six signatories of the nuclear agreement to bring back all U.N. sanctions on Iran known as the "trigger mechanism,” has threatened Russia and China with sanctions if they refuse to endorse the move.

According to Reuters, diplomats say Russia, China and other countries are likely to ignore the U.S. move.

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