Iran has successfully test-fired a new long-range guided missile, according to state media, apparently in defiance of a UN ban.
The Iranian-built Emad (Pillar) surface-to-surface missile has improved precision targeting, according to Iran’s defence minister Brigadier General Hossein Dehqan.
“The Emad missile is able to strike targets with a high level of precision and completely destroy them,” he said in a televised news conference, according to Reuters.
“This greatly increases Iran’s strategic deterrence capability.”
In July Iran and six world powers reached a widely heralded deal on Iran’s nuclear programme that included curbs on Iranian missile development.
A UN resolution passed in the wake of the deal also prohibits Iran from developing ballistic missiles that could deliver a nuclear weapon.
Iranian officials are opposed to that ban and experts have warned the Vienna agreement is vague on certain details.
“To follow our defence programmes, we don’t ask permission from anyone,” Dehqan said.
The new missile will be in range of Israel, which has made it clear it believes the nuclear deal will be ineffective at preventing Iran from developing nuclear weapons and has threatened to carry out a pre-emptive strike on Iran’s nuclear sites.
Iran maintains that its nuclear activity is peaceful.
Anthony Cordesman, a researcher at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, wrote in January that the Emad missile would have a range of 1,700 km (1,060 miles), 500 meters (1,650 feet) accuracy and a 750 kg (1,650 pound) payload.
It is a variant of the liquid-fuelled Shahab-3 missile, which has been in service since 2003 and has a similar range but is accurate only to within 2,000 meters.
“The Emad represents a major leap in terms of accuracy. It has an advanced guidance and control system in its nose cone,” Israeli missile expert Uzi Rubin said.
But Michael Elleman, senior fellow at the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), said it would probably take Iran “many years… and dozens of flight tests” to master the new guidance technology.