Iran releases images of new missile defense system

Iran releases images of new missile defense system

Iran releases images of new missile defense system

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani (3rd L) and Iranian Defence Minister Hossein Dehghan (2nd L) stand in front of the new air defense missile system Bavar-373, in Tehran, Iran August 21, 2016. REUTERS photo

Iran released images of its first domestically built long-range missile defense system on Aug. 21, a project started when the country was under international sanctions.  

Images released on multiple state news agencies showed Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Minister of Defense Hossein Dehghan standing in front of the new Bavar 373 missile defense system.

The system was designed to intercept cruise missiles, drones, combat aircraft and ballistic missiles, according to earlier statements by Dehghan.

It was intended to match the Russian S-300 system, the delivery of which was suspended in 2010 due to sanctions imposed over Iran’s nuclear program.

“We did not intend to make an Iranian version of the S-300 - we wanted to build an Iranian system, and we built it,” Dehghan told the IRNA news agency on Aug. 20, according to AFP.

Rouhani said in a televised speech that Iran’s military budget had more than doubled compared with last year.  

“If we are able to discuss with world powers around the negotiating table, it is because of our national strength, because of our national unity,” he said.  

In 2015, shortly before the conclusion of an international agreement on the nuclear program, Moscow re-authorized the delivery of the S-300 system in a move criticized by the United States and Israel.  

Iran’s army said in May that it was now equipped with the S-300 system, though further parts are due over the coming months.

Rouhani also unveiled the first Iranian-made fighter jet engine on Aug. 21, saying it was capable of flight at 50,000 feet. 

“The Islamic republic is one of eight countries in the world who have mastered the technology to build these engines,” the president said.