TEHRAN (REUTERS, AFP) - Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Sunday (Feb 17) inaugurated a new domestically-built submarine armed with cruise missiles at a time of rising tensions with its arch-enemy the United States.
The ceremony took place in the southern port city of Bandar Lengeh.
“Today, the Islamic Republic of Iran is fully self-reliant on land, air and sea,” Mr Rouhani said.
“Our defensive power is meant to defend our interests and we have never sought to attack any country,” he added.
Named the Fateh (Farsi for ‘Conqueror’), Fars news agency said the new submarine is Iran’s first in the semi-heavy category, filling a gap between the light Ghadir class and the heavy Kilo class submarines that the country possesses.
"It weighs 600 tonnes and enjoys state-of-the-art weaponry, including torpedoes, naval mines and cruise missiles that could be launched from a submerged position," the government's English-language Press TV said.
It can also operate more than 200m below sea level for up to 35 days.
United States President Donald Trump pulled out of a 2015 nuclear agreement between Iran and six powers last May and reimposed sanctions on Tehran.
He said the deal was flawed because it did not include curbs on Iran's development of ballistic missiles or its support for proxies in Syria, Yemen, Lebanon and Iraq.
Iran has developed a large domestic arms industry in the face of international pressure and embargoes that have barred it from importing many weapons.
Last year, Iran's navy launched a domestically built destroyer, which state media said has radar-evading stealth properties.
On Feb 7, Iran’s Revolutionary Guards unveiled a new ballistic missile with a range of 1,000km, according to the elite unit’s official media agency Sepah News.
The surface-to-surface missile – called Dezful – is an upgrade on the older Zolfaghar model that had a range of 700km, aerospace commander Brigadier General Amirali Hajizadeh said.
Mr Rouhani said on Sunday that “pressure by enemies, the (Iran-Iraq) war and sanctions” were incentives for Tehran to be self-reliant in its defence industry.
“Maybe we would not have this motivation to industrialise our defence sector,” he said, if Iran could just buy the weaponry it needed.