Iran launches ′radar-evading′ warship | News | DW | 01.12.2018
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Iran launches 'radar-evading' warship

Iran has unveiled its latest domestically developed warship, which state media claims has stealth properties. Tehran has developed a large domestic arms industry in the face of international sanctions.

Iran's navy unveiled its latest warship in the port city of Bandar Abbas on Saturday, amid rising tensions over the recent reimposition of US sanctions.

The Sahand destroyer joined the rest of the fleet at the mouth of the strategic Strait of Hormuz, in a ceremony carried live on state television.

The domestically produced vessel, which has a flight deck for helicopters, can evade radar detection and sustain voyages lasting five months without resupply.

The IRNA news agency cited Admiral Alireza Sheikhi, commander of the navy's factories, as hailing advances in domestic technical knowledge that helped to equip the Sahand with stealth technology.

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Compared with the Jamaran, Iran's first domestically produced warship, which was unveiled in 2010, the new vessel has more up-to-date torpedo launchers, anti-aircraft and anti-surface guns, surface-to-surface and air-to-surface missile systems, and anti-submarine systems, Sheikhi said.

The Sahand is also powered by four robust engines, as opposed to two in the Jamaran, IRNA said.

Iran develops own technology

The two vessels mark a substantial technological leap for Iran, which established a large domestic arms industry after being banned from importing many weapons in a dispute with the West over its nuclear program. Many of the sanctions imposed on Tehran ended following a landmark agreement between six world powers, signed in 2016.

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However, US President Donald Trump decided in May to pull the US out of the deal, forcing relations between Tehran and Washington to new lows.

The US ordered the resumption of sanctions and said its goal was to reduce Iran's oil exports to zero. In response, Tehran threatened to blockade a major Middle East oil artery, the Strait of Hormuz.

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Saturday's unveiling took place days after Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said the country should increase its military capability and readiness to ward off enemies.

Iran's navy has extended its reach in recent years, launching vessels in the Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Aden to protect Iranian ships from Somali pirates operating in the area.

Iran said in 2016 that it might seek to set up naval bases in Yemen or Syria in the future.

A naval commander said separately on Saturday that the Sahand might be among warships that Iran plans to send on a mission to Venezuela soon.

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