New missile likely to heighten tensions between Iran and Israel
Iran’s Revolutionary Guard on Wednesday unveiled a new strategic missile as part of celebrations to mark the 43rd anniversary of the 1979 revolution.
At a ceremony attended by top military figures, including the chief of staff of Iran’s armed forces, Gen. Mohammad Baqeri, the “Khyber Shikan” missile with a range of 1,450 km was displayed for the first time by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).
The missile, according to military officials, comes with special features, unlike other high-precision missiles that Iran’s military and IRGC have developed in recent years.
According to experts, the Khyber Shikan missile boasts high speed and accuracy in hitting targets within a range of 1,450 km (900 miles).
It also has comparatively low weight (one-third of other samples), faster preparation time (one-sixth of other samples), and greater speed to penetrate defense shields.
The third-generation missile in IRGC’s armory, Khyber Shikan has a “solid fuel” and boasts of “high maneuverability” to pass through a missile shield, according to Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh, who heads IRGC’s aerospace division.
The unveiling of the new IRGC missile came a day after Iran and other signatories to the 2015 nuclear deal reassembled in Vienna to resume the 8th round of talks aimed at salvaging the accord.
While Iran seeks the lifting of sanctions in the talks that began last April, it has declared its missile program “non-negotiable”, despite persistent calls from the Western parties to include it in multilateral discussions.
The unveiling of the Khyber Shikan missile, according to regional observers, is likely to heighten tensions between Iran and Israel, and provoke a reaction from US officials too.
The IRGC have in recent years made steady progress in developing high-precision ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, and a range of drones as well.
In December last year, more than a dozen ballistic missiles and drones were showcased during a military drill, which targeted a mock-up model of Israel’s Dimona nuclear facility.