Tehran: Iran on Saturday claimed it has successfully test-fired an upgraded version of a short-range ballistic missile with improved accuracy, increasing the Islamic Republic`s capability to strike both land and naval targets.
Defence Minister General Ahmad Vahidi said the solid-fuelled Fateh-110 has a range of 300 kilometres. He claimed the weapon could strike with pin-point precision, making it the most accurate weapon of its kind in Iran`s arsenal.
"By reaching this generation of the Fateh-110, a new capability has been added to our armed forces in striking sea and land targets," state TV quoted Vahidi as saying. "Few countries in the world possess the technology to build such missiles."
Iran`s military leaders have said they believe future wars will be air- and sea-based and Tehran has sought to upgrade its air defence systems and naval power in anticipation of such a possibility.
Iran has also been pushing to upgrade its missiles, which already can target Israel and US bases in the Middle East.
The Pentagon released a report in June noting significant advances in Iranian missile technology, acknowledging that the Islamic Republic has improved the accuracy and firing capabilities of its missiles.
The Fateh-110, or Conqueror, is a single-stage solid-propellant, surface-to-surface missile put into service in 2002.
The earlier version of the domestically-produced missile had a range of 200 kilometres (120 miles).
The weapon was developed by Iran`s Aerospace Industries Organisation. Iran also has a variety of longer-range missiles including a Shahab-3 variant with a range of 2,000 kilometres (1,200 miles) that can reach Israel and southern Europe. Many of its missiles could in theory carry a nuclear warhead.
Iran considers both the United States and Israel as potential adversaries. Neither country has ruled out a military strike against Iran`s nuclear program, which they claim is aimed at developing nuclear technology. Iran says its program is for peaceful purposes.
Israel is about 1,000 kilometres (600 miles) away from Iran`s western borders, while the US Navy`s Fifth Fleet is based in Bahrain, some 200 kilometres (120 miles) from Iranian shores in the Persian Gulf.