Iran unveils nation's first unmanned bomber

TEHRAN: Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Sunday inaugurated the country's first domestically built unmanned bomber aircraft, calling it an “ambassador of death” to Iran's enemies. The 4-meter-long drone aircraft can carry up to four cruise missilesand will have a range of 620 miles (1,000 kilometers), according to astate TV report -- not far enough to reach archenemy Israel. 
``The jet, as well as being an ambassador of death for the enemies ofhumanity, has a main message of peace and friendship,'' said Ahmadinejad at the inauguration ceremony, which fell on the country's national day for its defense industries.

The goal of the aircraft, named Karrar or striker, is to “keep theenemy paralyzed in its bases,” he said, adding that the aircraft is fordeterrence and defensive purposes.

The president championedthe country's military self-sufficiency program, and said it willcontinue ``until the enemies of humanity lose hope of ever attackingthe Iranian nation.''

Iranlaunched an arms development program during its 1980-88 war with Iraqto compensate for a U.S. weapons embargo and now produces its owntanks, armored personnel carries, missiles and even a fighter plane.

Iran frequently makes announcements about new advances in military technology that cannot be independently verified.

State TV later showed video footage of the plane taking off from alaunching pad and reported that the craft traveled at speeds of 560miles per hour (900 kilometers) and could alternatively be armed withtwo 250-pound bombs or a 450-pound guided bomb.

Iran has been producing its own light, unmanned surveillance aircraft since the late 1980s.

The ceremony came a day after Iran began to fuel its first nuclearpower reactor, with the help of Russia, amid international concernsover the possibility of a military dimension to its nuclear program.

Iran insists it is only interested in generating electricity. Referringto Israel's occasional threats against Iran's nuclear facilities,Ahmadinejad called any attack unlikely, but he said if Israel did, thereaction would be overwhelming.

“The scope of Iran's reactionwill include the entire the earth,'' said Ahmadinejad. “We also tellyou -- the West -- that all options are on the table.”

Ahmadinejad appeared to be consciously echoing the terminology used by the US and Israel in their statements not ruling out a military option against Iran's nuclear facilities.

On Friday, Iran also test-fired a new liquid fuel surface-to-surface missile, the Qiam-1, with advanced guidance systems. 


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