Iran builds, fires air-to-air missile

Iran test-fires a newly-designed air-to-air infrared-guided missile, as Israeli military threats against the country take a leap.

“[The missile] was tested successfully today,” a spokesman for the Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force, Ali Khodabakhshi, told Press TV without disclosing where the Monday test took place.

Chief Air Force commander Brigadier General Hassan Shah-Safi told reporters the missile pursued and successfully took out a dummy target released from a second fighter jet.

The general said the missile has a range of 40 kilometers, adding that the Defense Ministry will produce the missile in bulk.

Iran had mostly acquired its military needs from the United States up until the 1979 Islamic Revolution, when a US-backed regime was toppled in Tehran.

In 1984, as the Iraqi invasion of Iran headed toward a stalemate, the White House required its allies to follow suit and prohibit weapons sales to the Iranian government.

The new within-visual-range missile marks a new Iranian achievement in domestically upgrading its aerial short-range missiles.

Brig. Gen. Shah-Safi added that the air force is also developing a project to manufacture a new version of the air-to-air missile which would have a range of over 100 kilometers.

The announcement comes at a time when Israel has stepped up its military threats against Iran and its nuclear program.

Tel Aviv accuses Tehran, a signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), of having “plans to build a nuclear weapon.”

Under the allegation, Tel Aviv officials and army brass argue that taking out Iran’s nuclear infrastructure militarily is a legitimate option.

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said last week that Tel Aviv is free to take any action it deems “necessary” against Iran. In a recent demonstration in the Negev Desert, the Israeli Air Force (IAF) displayed air power that could be sent to strike the Iranian nuclear infrastructure.