Iran Releases Video of Third-Generation Naval Ballistic Missile, Claims Extended Range

Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps has released a video of its newest naval ballistic missile, which state media claims has doubled the service's strike range at sea.

The state-backed Press TV channel published a video of the third generation Zolfaqar-e Basir missile on Monday, following IRGC commander Major General Hossein Salami's announcement of the weapon on Sunday.

Press TV said the ballistic missile has a range of some 434 miles—more than double that of Iran's previous generation Khalij-e Fars and Hormuz naval ballistic missiles. The strategically important Persian Gulf is around 210 miles wide at its widest point, meaning the Zolfaqar-e Basir will theoretically be able to hit enemy targets anywhere in the seaway.

Salami said Sunday that the missile is proof of Iran's resilient military research and development, which like the rest of the country has been under the pressure of reimposed U.S. sanctions since President Donald Trump withdrew from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action in May 2018.

"We have [well] understood the equations governing independence and esteem, and will never stop manufacturing power," Salami said during the missile inauguration ceremony, according to Press TV.

"The war underway today is one of willpower," Salami added. "The Iranian nation continues down this path with conviction by clearly recognizing its way forward."

Salami also claimed Iran has turned sanctions into "an opportunity for expeditious advancement in the defensive areas," and on Tuesday told the Iranian parliament on Tuesday that the IRGC is fully prepared for a war with the U.S.

The new missile is the naval variant of the surface-to-surface Zolfaqar-e Basir, which also has a range of some 434 miles. This weapon was reportedly among those used in January to attack U.S. troops deployed at the Ain al-Assad air base in Iraq, in retaliation for the assassination of Major General Qassem Soleimani in an American drone strike outside Baghdad airport.

Iran's ballistic missile research is regularly cited by its rivals as a destabilizing and aggressive program. Its ballistic missile activity was not restricted by the JCPOA, which critics of the deal say was one of its main weaknesses.

Trump has said he wants ballistic missile limits included in any future renegotiation of the JCPOA, while Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden has vowed to press Iran on its "destabilizing activities", should he win November's election.

Tehran has so far refused any suggestion of new talks, urging the U.S. and the remaining JCPOA signatories to respect the Obama-era deal. Iran itself is no longer complying with the JCPOA in protest of the American withdrawal and subsequent new sanctions.

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This file photo shows Taer-2 missiles during a street exhibition by Iran's army and IRGC in Baharestan Square in Tehran, Iran on September 26, 2019. STRINGER/AFP via Getty Images/Getty