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Iran Shows Off New Ballistic Missile At Military Parade

Iran's military says its Khorramshahr missile has a range of 2,000 kilometers and can carry multiple warheads.

Iran unveiled a new ballistic missile Friday, showing off the weapon during a military parade in Tehran. "When it comes to defending our country, we will ask nobody for their permission," President Hassan Rouhani said.

The Khorramshahr missile "has a range of 2,000 kilometers [1,243 miles] with ability to carry multiple independently targetable reentry vehicle (MIRV) within a range of 1,800 kilometers," according to the Tasnim news agency, which is seen as having close ties to Iran's Revolutionary Guards.

Friday's military parade was to mark the anniversary of the start of the Iran-Iraq War in 1988; as Tasnim reports, the missile is named for a city in Iran's southwest that was attacked in that conflict.

"We are going to strengthen our military capabilities which are necessary for deterrence," Rouhani said at the event, in remarks relayed by the semi-official FARS news agency. "We will strengthen not only our missiles but also our air, land and sea forces."

Iran says it designed, developed and built the missile internally. The country had previously been known to have a missile of similar range, the Shahab-3, which was based on a North Korean missile.

Iranian media outlets are calling the new missile "long-range" — but by most standards, it would be considered a medium-range ballistic missile.

To put the missile's range in perspective, consider that the minimum range of an intercontinental ballistic missile is generally considered to be 5,500 kilometers (3,400 miles), while a medium-range missile can fly between 1,000 and 3,000 kilometers.

Friday's parade and missile display comes days after Iran was called out in a speech by President Trump at the United Nations General Assembly, in which he called the nuclear deal with Iran "one of the worst and one-sided transactions" the U.S. has ever conducted.

Trump has repeatedly vowed to pull U.S. backing from the deal; he has also called for including Iran's missile program.

The report by the FARS agency says that as "one of the 24 founding members of the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space," Iran is "entitled to master the technology of launching satellites into orbit."

The news report cites that detail as being "much to the chagrin of President Trump and company" — but 2017 isn't the first time the U.S. has aired its concerns over Iran's rocket and missile research. The country's successful launch of its first satellite back in 2005 prompted a federal case against Nader Modanlo, a naturalized U.S. citizen who was accused of helping Iran accomplish the feat.

Modanlo was released from federal prison in January of 2016, as part of the U.S.-Iran prisoner swap that included Washington Post journalist Jason Rezaian.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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