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Report: Iran opens two missile plants

Defense minister Ahmad Vahidi, pictured last September, says one of the missile systems can destroy tanks.
Defense minister Ahmad Vahidi, pictured last September, says one of the missile systems can destroy tanks.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The West says it suspects Iran is trying to build nuclear bombs
  • Earlier this week Washington called Iranian rocket test-launch a "provocative act"
  • Iran says that its program is for peaceful power generation
  • Iranian FM said Friday a solution will be found over uranium enrichment issue

(CNN) -- Two new missile production plants opened in Iran on Saturday.

The inauguration of the production lines for the anti-helicopter Qaem missile, and the anti-armor Toofan-5 (Hurricane) missile, came three days after Iran test-launched a rocket capable of carrying a satellite, a launch deemed a "provocative act" by Washington.

The Defense Ministry told Iran's semi-official Fars News Agency that both missiles have "high penetration and destructive powers."

By mass producing and delivering these modern arms, Iran's department of defense aims to increase its ground and air defenses, the semi-official Fars news agency reported.

The announcement of new missile production coincided with a 10-day period marking the 31st anniversary of the 1979 Islamic revolution that toppled the U.S.-backed shah.

"Toofan 5 is one of the most advanced missiles. It has two warheads which can destroy tanks and other armored vehicles," Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi told Fars.

The Qaem is a "missile which can destroy targets in the air traveling at low speed and at low altitude, especially assault helicopters," Vahidi added.

The laser guided anti-helicopter Qaem rocket is designed to resist enemy actions in electronic warfare.

Video: Fears of a nuclear Iran
RELATED TOPICS
  • Iran
  • Military Weapons
  • Diplomacy

Iran is embroiled in a dispute with the West over its nuclear program and often makes announcements of progress in its military capabilities.

The West suspects Iran of trying to build nuclear bombs, but Iran says its program is for peaceful power generation.

On Friday, Iran's foreign minister said he believes a solution will be reached over a proposed deal to export uranium for enrichment abroad, a demand of Western nations that worry that Tehran plans to use its program to build nuclear weapons.

"The amount of uranium [for export] is negotiable. But I am confident that a solution can be found," Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference in Germany, Iran's state-run Press TV reported.

Earlier this week, Iran's atomic energy chief said no deal had been struck to export uranium for enrichment.

"The discussions are still being conducted, and we will inform the nation of any final agreements," said Ali Akbar Salehi, director of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, on Wednesday according to the state-run Iranian Labour News Agency.

Asked what countries in addition to France and Brazil were under consideration, he said it was an Asian country but would not name it.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has told Press TV that Iran would have "no problem" turning over most of its low-enriched uranium to the West for further enrichment. Iranian diplomats had initially accepted the idea, which was proposed by the West, but then rejected a plan put forth by the International Atomic Energy Agency, the atomic watchdog of the United Nations.

"In our opinion, there are no issues with the exchange" of 3 percent to 5 percent enriched uranium for 20 percent enriched uranium, Ahmadinejad said.

He added that, if the West were to refuse to return the enriched fuel, world opinion would shift.

"If they don't live up to their agreement, the international atmosphere will change in our favor," he said.

"They [Western countries] can come and build 20 nuclear power plants for us; Russia, France and the United States can come and sign contracts and build the power plants. It serves our interests as well as theirs. Of course if they don't come to do this, we will reach a point to build our own power plants."

Mottaki on Friday said Ahmadinejad's comments show that the Islamic republic is "eager" to discuss the proposal.

Iran insists its nuclear program is intended solely for peaceful purposes.

 
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