Iran unveils new cruise missile after US deploys warships to Persian Gulf

Iran unveils new cruise missile after US deploys warships to Persian Gulf

Tensions between Tehran, Washington increased after recent incidents in Persian Gulf

By Syed Zafar Mehdi

TEHRAN (AA) – Iran on Tuesday unveiled a new cruise missile named after a slain Iraqi military commander after the US announced the deployment of additional warships to the Persian Gulf.

The indigenously-built Abu Mahdi missile was formally delivered to the Iranian Navy and the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) in the presence of Defense Minister Mohammad-Reza Ashtiani and senior military officials.

The long-range missile with a range of 1,000 kilometers (621 miles) that uses artificial intelligence has been built by experts at the Aerospace Industries Organization (AIO), a division of Iran's Defense Ministry.

Iran's state media, citing military officials, said the missile that carries a highly explosive warhead is capable of passing through air defense systems and striking targets.

Speaking at the unveiling ceremony, IRGC navy commander Alireza Tangsiri said the "enemy vessels" will have to be thousands of kilometers away to avoid being hit by the missile.

Describing it as "one of the best missiles of its class in the world," Tangsiri said it has a "dual seeker" and has been designed to perform in electronic warfare while keeping a low flight ceiling to avoid tracking.

It comes less than a week after Pentagon announced the deployment of additional amphibious warships and a Marine expeditionary group to the Persian Gulf amid rising tensions with Iran.

The amphibious warship USS Bataan and USS Carter Hall and members of the 26th Marien Expeditionary Unit were sent to the US Central Command on the instructions of US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin last week.

“Through these actions, the United States is demonstrating a commitment to ensuring freedom of navigation and deterring Iranian destabilization activities in the region,” said a statement by the Defense Department.

It came after the Pentagon announced the deployment of F-16 fighter jets and A-10 ground attack aircraft to the Persian Gulf.

Pertinently, there have been a series of incidents of tanker seizures in the strategic water body in recent months by Iranian naval forces.

In response to the announcement of additional military deployment, Iran's top military commander Abdolrahim Mousavi on Monday said Iran "reserves the right to make the necessary deterrent arrangements in compliance with the rules and regulations of international law."

Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Kanaani also said the country's military is "monitoring with sensitivity any illegal and unconstructive act that affects the security of the region."

The heightened tensions come as Tehran and Washington have been recently engaged in indirect talks mediated by Oman and Qatar to revive the 2015 nuclear deal and exchange prisoners.

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