Iran has announced the launch of a new missile production line, according to its state media, against a backdrop of tension between the United States and Tehran.
The Sayyad 3 missile can reach an altitude of 27km and travel up to 120km, Iran’s Defence Minister Hossein Dehghan said at an undisclosed location of an inauguration ceremony on Saturday.
The missile can target radar evasive fighter planes, unmanned aerial vehicles, cruise missiles and helicopters, he said.
Dehghan also said that the recent $110bn military deal between the US and Saudi Arabia was intended as a threat to Iran.
“We recently witnessed an immense purchase that some countries in the region paid as a ransom to America and they intend to bring weapons into the region, and this purchase was done with the goal of threatening Islamic Iran,” Dehghan said according to the website for state TV.
Last week, the US imposed new economic sanctionsagainst Iran over its ballistic missile programme, and said Tehran’s “malign activities” in the Middle East undercut any “positive contributions” coming from a 2015 Iran nuclear accord.
The measures signalled that the administration of US President Donald Trump was seeking to put more pressure on Iran while keeping in place the agreement between Tehran and six world powers to curb its nuclear programme in return for lifting international oil and financial sanctions.
The US government said it was targeting 18 entities and people for supporting what it said were “illicit Iranian actors or transnational criminal activity”.
Those sanctioned had backed Iran’s military or the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps by developing drones and military equipment, producing and maintaining boats, and procuring electronic components, it said.
Others had “orchestrated the theft” of US and Western software programmes sold to Iran’s government, the Treasury Department said.
On Monday, the Trump administration said Iran was complying with the nuclear agreement but that it was in default of the spirit of the accord.
It was the second time Trump has certified Iranian compliance with the agreement since he took office in January, despite having described it as “the worst deal ever” during his 2016 presidential campaign, criticising then-President Barack Obama, whose administration negotiated the accord.