TEHRAN: Iran's powerful Revolutionary Guard on Wednesday said it had acquired missiles with multiple warheads, the latest armaments advance to be claimed by the Islamic Republic.
At a ceremony Wednesday, Defense Minister Hossein Dehghan presented a delivery of four types of ballistic missiles - named Qiam, Qadr H1, Fateh-110 and Persian Gulf. The Qadr H1 and Qiam, he said, are equipped with multiple warheads, greatly boosting their destructive power.
"These missiles are able to hit and destroy enemy targets with precision, and they meet a variety of the armed forces' needs," Dehghan said. "The weapons have strengthened Iran's deterrence power and military might," he added, in comments were posted on the Guard's website.
Iran regularly announces breakthroughs in military technology that are impossible to independently verify. But the Pentagon released a rare public report in 2012 noting significant advances in Iranian missile technology, acknowledging that Tehran has improved their accuracy and firing capabilities.
Dehghan said Western sanctions have not stopped Iran from boosting its ability to deter its enemies, a reference to Israel and the U.S.
"Comprehensive sanctions enforced strictly by enemies ... didn't cause the slightest crack in our determination and will," he said.
Many of Iran's missiles use solid fuel, or a combination of both solid and liquid fuel, improving the accuracy of the weapons.
Iran has a variety of missiles, some with a reported range of 2,000 kilometers (1,200 miles), enough to reach much of the Middle East. Military commanders have described them as a strategic asset and a strong deterrent, capable of hitting U.S. bases or Israel in the event of a strike on Iran.
Semiofficial Fars news agency provided details on the medium-range Qiam missile for the first time, saying it was the latest missile developed by Gen. Hassan Tehrani Moghaddam, the father of Iran's missile program who died in a testing accident in 2011.
Qiam, Fars said, was specifically built to target U.S. bases in the region, which he said have encircled Iran. With a range of 800 kilometers, the 6-ton missile has been described in Iranian media as ushering in a new era of ballistic missile production for the country.
"It sums up the country's 25-year defense industry experience in aerospace. Qiam's wingless design is one of the characteristics that gives it greater speed and the capability to be launched from various launchers," Fars said.
The liquid-fuel Qiam is 16 meters long and its warhead has a weight of 746 kilograms, Fars added.