Iran’s Defence Minister Amir Hatami has revealed that one of the main objectives of his country's domestic military industry is to increase the effective range of air-launched cruise missiles. At the moment, most of Iran's missiles have a range slightly above 1,000 kilometres, with ground-launched cruise missiles having an effective range of up to 1,400 kilometres. However, their air-based missiles have underperformed so far, hitting targets less than 1,000 kilometres away.
The Islamic Republic now aims to extend their range by boosting the engine output capacity and placing air-launched cruise missiles on par with other types. At the same time, Iran does not seek to increase the range of any of its cruise missiles, air-, ground- or sea-launched, beyond 2,000 kilometres, as the country has no need for very long-range weapons, the minister said.
Hatami lauded Iran's defence industry as being well-developed and capable of handling the planned missile modernisation. He noted that domestic military companies currently satisfy 90% of Tehran's defence needs, but admitted that after the UN lifts the embargo against Iran on conventional weapons sales, the Islamic Republic could start working with foreign countries to procure and sell weapons.
The lifting of the embargo is set to happen under the conditions of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), signed in 2015, but is strongly opposed by the US, which has vowed to block the move in the UN Security Council. Washington accuses Tehran of violating the JCPOA and has tried to initiate the snapback sanctions mechanism, but without success. Other signatories to the nuclear deal in the Security Council turned down the American initiative, citing the US' withdrawal from the accord in 2018 and its subsequent loss of authority to impose the mechanisms created as part of the JCPOA. Washington then vowed to impose unilateral sanctions against Iran, even if its European partners and other parties to the nuclear deal do not support them.