Iran producing naval ballistic missiles, says army chief

New weapons can hit mobile naval units and create 'significant security in its waters'

A missile is launched from a boat during a naval drill in the Arabian Gulf. AP
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The head of Iran's army has said it has become one of the three countries to produce ballistic missiles capable of destroying mobile naval units.

Tehran has begun mass producing the missiles, which will create "significant security" in its waters, Maj Gen Mohammed Bagheri told news agency Tasnim, affiliated to Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

The missiles will be able to operate at a distance of 1,000km, he said.

Iran's naval activity is often the source of tension with the US, including in the Gulf of Oman, where Iran attacked an Israeli commercial vessel in November with a Shahed-136 missile. It is the same weapon being used by Russia against Ukraine.

Iran possesses more than 3,000 ballistic missiles, US Central Command official estimated in 2022. Among these are the Hormuz missiles, which have been described by Iranian media as "the destroyer of American ships" and hit floating targets.

Anti-tank missiles seized

The US navy often seizes Iranian weapons shipments heading to Yemen.

Last week, the British navy seized Iranian anti-tank guided missiles in the Gulf of Oman.

It comes as foreign powers renew efforts to reel in Iran's military and nuclear aspirations, with a UN watchdog signing a new deal to step up checks of Iranian nuclear facilities.

The IAEA and Iran seemingly ended a long-standing impasse on Saturday, reaching an agreement to allow monitoring equipment to be reinstalled and the IAEA to gain access to people of interest in an investigation into weapon-grade uranium enrichment.

Iran disconnected surveillance cameras at its nuclear facilities nine months ago after the UN agency asked for answers regarding unexplained traces of uranium at three undeclared sites.

It later said that certain elements — including accessing personnel of interest — were "never raised" during the visit, while IAEA chief Rafael Grossi admitted Iran's concessions under the deal largely depend on the outcome of future technical talks.

A team will be travelling to Iran "very soon" to conduct those talks, Maj Gen Bagheri said.

IAEA experts will not take a long time in determining whether Iran's heightened nuclear enrichment is deliberate or accidental, he said.

Updated: March 07, 2023, 8:43 AM