An intermediate-range ballistic missile launched by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards on Tuesday is capable of traveling at 15 times the speed of sound, state television reported.
President Ibrahim Raisi praised the new missile’s hypersonic capabilities, saying it would increase Iran’s “deterrent power” and “bring peace and stability to countries in the region.”
The official news agency IRNA published photos of the ceremony in a closed location they did not identify. Several top military commanders were present, including Guards Chief General Hussain Salami.
“The range of the Fatah missile is 1,400 kilometers (870 miles) and the speed before hitting the target” is between 13 and 15 times the speed of sound, IRNA said.
Like slow ballistic missiles, hypersonic missiles can carry nuclear warheads, and the announcement in November that Iran would build them prompted International Atomic Energy Agency chief Rafael Grossi to express concern.
But Grossi added that he did not see the new missile having any impact on negotiations with Iran over its nuclear activities.
Talks between Tehran and major powers are currently stalled on reviving the 2015 nuclear deal, which collapsed in 2018 when Washington unilaterally abandoned it and imposed new sanctions.
Iran has suspended enforcement of agreed strict limits on its nuclear activities and restricted IAEA monitoring of the policy.
Unlike conventional ballistic missiles, hypersonic missiles fly on a trajectory low in the atmosphere, which allows them to reach their targets faster and is less likely to be intercepted by modern air defenses.
When the program was announced last year, Guards Aerospace Chief General Amirali Hajizadeh said the system was developed “to counter air defense shields,” which he believed would take decades to develop a system capable of intercepting.
Iran’s arch-enemy Israel, which is widely believed to have its own undeclared nuclear arsenal, has multiple air defense systems to counter subsonic and supersonic missiles.
North Korea’s hypersonic missile test last year raised concerns about the race to acquire the technology, currently led by Russia, China and the United States.
Since March last year, Russia’s Kinsale hypersonic missile has been used several times in the war against Ukraine.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)