Iran unveils new ground-launched cruise missile

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Tehran's policy is aimed at maintaining a certain cap on the range of the missiles based on its own defensive strategy.

The test firing was 40 years after 1979 Islamic Revolution in which the monarch was overthrown.

Later on February 2, a senior Revolutionary Guard commander suggested that pressure by European countries for talks on curbing Iran's ballistic missiles development could prompt Tehran to expand it beyond current limits.

France, one of the remaining parties in the Iran deal, condemned the attempted satellite launch and urged Iran to discontinue all ballistic missile tests, which violate United Nations resolutions.

Tehran says the programme is purely defensive.

US President Donald Trump quit the deal previous year and reimposed sanctions on Iran that had been lifted under the pact. Khashan thinks the new missile is simply a "negotiating ploy".

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Until very recently, Guaido, an industrial engineer and former student leader, was nearly virtually unknown on the global stage. Guaido said in the interview that the operation would be a "new test" of the military's loyalty toward the government.

Amirali Hajizadeh, head of the Revolutionary Guard aerospace division, said Iran had overcome initial problems in producing jet engines for cruise missiles and could now manufacture a full range of the weapons.

Hilal Khashan, who teaches political science at the American University of Beirut, tells VOA that the just-announced Iranian missile launch comes in the wake of a European announcement to put together a mechanism to circumvent US economic sanctions on Iran, which went into effect on November 4. While Iran says it has no plans to increase the range of its missiles - now claimed to be at around 2,000 km or far enough to hit the very edges of Europe from Iran - the latest statement is seen as a warning that this could change.

The resolution - which was in Iran's nuclear deal - called upon the country to not develop ballistic missiles created to deliver nuclear weapons for eight years. The carrier vehicle for the satellite uses similar technology to an intercontinental ballistic missile, triggering concerns that Tehran is developing weapons that can reach the United States and Europe.

Salami noted that Iran does not have technical limits to expand the missile range, the destructive power and the propulsion system.

That puts it in range of one of its biggest enemies, Israel.

Iran says its missile tests are not in violation of the resolution and denies its missiles are capable of carrying nuclear warheads. "We will continue to take action against Iran with all the tools at our disposal in order to ensure the security and future of Israel", the prime minister said at a cabinet meeting, as quoted by his press service.