Tehran, Iran (AFP):
Iran’s defence ministry has unveiled a new ballistic missile with a range of 2,000 kilometres and a capacity to carry warheads weighing over a tonne.
The Kheibar missile — the latest version of the Khorramshahr which is Iran’s longest-range missile to date — was unveiled alongside a replica of the Al-Aqsa mosque in east Jerusalem, in a live broadcast on state television.
Iran’s Defence Minister Mohammad-Reza Ashtiani said the missile was unveiled as part of moves to “provide comprehensive support to our friends and countries that are on the path of fighting against the domination system”.
State news agency IRNA said the Kheibar is “a liquid fuel missile with a range of 2,000 kilometres and a 1,500 kilogrammes warhead”.
Its name references the ancient town of Khaybar — located in modern-day Saudi Arabia — known for a decisive seventh-century battle in which the army of Prophet Mohammed Peace Be Upon Him defeated its residents.
According to state media, the speed of the high-mobility tactical missile “can reach Mach 16 outside the atmosphere and Mach 8 inside the atmosphere”.
Days after the Khorramshahr was unveiled in 2017, then US president Donald Trump issued a stark warning against Tehran, casting growing uncertainty over whether a nuclear deal clinched with Iran would survive.
The 2015 deal formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA, gave Iran relief from international sanctions in return for curbs on its nuclear programme.
But the deal collapsed in 2018 after the United States unilaterally withdrew from it and reimposed sanctions against Iran.