Iran said yesterday it had tested a new air defence system to counter missiles and aircraft during large-scale military exercises throughout the country, state-run television reported.
"The upgraded missiles successfully destroyed the presumed enemies' missiles in low altitude simultaneously in several points," said General Amir Amini, deputy commander of Iran's Air Force.
The television footage showed at least four surface-to-air missiles being fired from mobile launching pads. The report did not say if the missile is equipped with a guidance system.
During maneuvres dubbed "The Blow of Zolfaghar," which began in August 19, Iran test fired short range surface-to-surface and sub-to-surface missiles.
Iran's military test-fired a series of missiles during large-scale war games in the Persian Gulf in March and April, including a missile it claimed was not detectable by radar that can use multiple warheads to hit several targets simultaneously.
After decades of relying on foreign weapons purchases, Iran now says it is increasingly self-sufficient in its military equipment claiming it annually exports more than US$100 million worth of military equipment to more than 50 countries.
Since 1992, Iran has produced its own tanks, armoured personnel carriers, missiles and a fighter plane, the government has said. It announced in early 2005 that it had begun production of torpedoes.
Teheran hails Annan visit
Iran yesterday hailed a visit by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan as positive and accused the United States of sabotaging efforts to resolve its nuclear dispute with the West.
"Our evaluation is that it was good, suitable and positive. In the nuclear field, the discussions were fair. Both sides supported negotiations for achieving a solution," government spokesman Gholam Hossein Elham told a press conference, referring to Annan's visit.
Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad during his talks Sunday with Annan refused Western demands to halt uranium enrichment activities before talks over its nuclear programme.
But the Iranian Government yesterday insisted that a hardline US stance was to blame for the impasse. "There is a good trend over the nuclear issue and some countries and powers like the US want to turn the logical trend into illogical one," Elham said.
German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said yesterday he was sceptical of the chances of success at an upcoming meeting between the European Union's foreign policy chief and Iran's top nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani.
"We must remain sceptical that this will work," Steinmeier said at a meeting of Germany's foreign ambassadors. "If not, the road to the UN Security Council will be unavoidable."
Steinmeier said he was sceptical because Teheran's rejection of the package of economic incentives appeared final.
Source: China Daily