Iran unveils new underground missile depot

DUBAI • Iran unveiled a new underground missile depot yesterday with state television showing Emad precision-guided missiles in store which the US says can take a nuclear warhead and violate a 2010 UN Security Council resolution.

Teheran's defiant move to publicise its missile programme seemed certain to irk Washington as it plans to dismantle nearly all sanctions on Iran under a breakthrough nuclear agreement last year.

Tasnim news agency and the state television said the underground facility, situated in mountains and run by Iran's Revolutionary Guards, was inaugurated by the Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani. The release of a one-minute video followed footage of another underground missile depot last October.

The US says the Emad, which Iran tested in October, would be capable of carrying a nuclear warhead and Washington is expected to respond to the Emad tests with fresh sanctions against Iranian individuals and businesses linked to the programme.

Iran's boasting about its missile capabilities is a challenge for US President Barack Obama's administration as the United States and European Union plan to dismantle nearly all international sanctions against Teheran under their nuclear deal reached in July.

Iran has abided by the main terms of the nuclear deal, which require it to give up material that world powers feared could be used to make an atomic weapon and accept other restrictions on its nuclear programme.

But President Hassan Rouhani last week ordered his defence minister to expand the missile programme.

The Iranian missiles under development boast much-improved accuracy over the current generation, which experts say is likely to boost their effectiveness with conventional warheads.

The Revolutionary Guards' second-in-command, Brigadier-General Hossein Salami, said last Friday that Iran's depots and underground facilities are so full that they do not know how to store their new missiles.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 06, 2016, with the headline 'Iran unveils new underground missile depot'. Print Edition | Subscribe