Iran’s Ahmadinejad unveils new ‘bomber’

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad unveiled on Sunday a new long-range drone, dubbed Karar, that reportedly can bomb targets at high speed, state television reported.

Television footage showed the president applauding as a blue cloth that had been covering the drone was pulled back to reveal a short aircraft painted in military-green with the words “bomber jet” written on its side.

Images were then broadcast on television showing the aircraft flying. Ahmadinejad made a speech at the ceremony, held in a hall of Tehran’s Malek Ashtar University, but did not mention the drone.

The unveiling of the aircraft comes as Iran marks on Sunday its annual Defence Industries Day.

The state television’s website reported that the drone has “different capabilities, including carrying bombs to destroy targets”. It said the plane can fly for a “long range at high speed”.

The website cited Defence Minister Ahmad Vahidi as saying the Karar is a “symbol of the versatility and advancement of Iran’s defence industries”.

The unveiling of Karar, the nickname of Imam Ali, the first Shi’ite imam, comes two days after Iran test-fired a domestically built surface-to-surface missile, Qiam (Rising).

Over the next few days Iran is expected to make series of further military announcements as the nation marks the annual government week, a period used by Tehran to tout its achievements.

In this period Iran is also expected to test-fire a third generation Fateh 110 (Conqueror) missile. Iran has previously paraded a version of Fateh 110, which has a travel range of 150 to 200 kilometres.

Also during government week, the production lines of two missile-carrying speedboats, Seraj (Lamp) and Zolfaqar (named after Imam Ali’s sword) are due to be inaugurated.

The unveiling of Karar comes days after Iran took delivery of four new mini-submarines of the home-produced Ghadir class. Weighing 120 tonnes, the “stealth” submarines are aimed at operations in shallow waters, notably in the Gulf.

Iranian officials regularly boast about Tehran’s military capabilities and the latest declarations coincide with warnings by local officials against any attack on the Islamic republic.

Iran’s arch-foes the United States and Israel have not ruled out a military strike against Tehran to stop its controversial uranium enrichment program.

Meanwhile, Iran on Saturday began loading nuclear fuel in its Russian-built first nuclear power plant located in the southern port of Bushehr.

The plant, which is not targeted by UN sanctions, eventually aims to generate 1000 megawatts of electricity
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Associated Press Video: Iran Unveils Domestically-built Unmanned Bomber