Iran on Sunday showed off its first domestically built semi-heavy submarine capable of firing cruise missiles, in the latest show of military might amid tensions with the United States.
The Fateh "Conqueror" submarine weighs 600 metric tons, according to Iran's state-run Press TV, and is capable of carrying an array of state-of-the-art weaponry. Its potential arsenal includes torpedoes and naval mines, as well as cruise missiles "that could be launched from a submerged position."
The ceremony took place in the southern port of Bandar Lengeh. Press TV tweeted images of the submarine ahead of the event.
Since 1992, Iran has developed a strong homegrown defense industry, producing light and heavy weapons including tanks and submarines. Earlier this month, Iran tested a new cruise missile.
Domestic arms production was stepped up in the face of embargoes that have prevented Tehran from importing many weapons.
Last year, the country launched its own locally built naval destroyer, which it touts as having radar-evading stealth capabilities.
"Our defense power is solely defensive ... Our enemy's pressure and sanctions imposed on Iran have instigated our progress," Rouhani said at the launch of the Fateh.
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The move is likely to exacerbate tensions with the United States, after US President Donald Trump pulled out of a 2015 nuclear agreement with Iran and several other world powers last May. Trump said the deal was flawed because it did not include restrictions on Iran's development of ballistic missiles or its support for armed proxies in Iraq, Lebanon, Syria and Yemen.
Iran on Sunday accused the US of a "pathological obsession" after US Vice President Mike Pence said the country was seeking "another Holocaust” in an address to the Munich Security Conference a day earlier.
The launch comes after Iran held more than a week of celebrations for the 40th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution, which toppled the country's US-backed ruling shah in 1979.
cw,rc/jm (AP, Reuters)