Iran unveils new ballistic missile named after the general killed in a US drone strike earlier this year

  • Iran unveiled two new missiles on Thursday, including a surface-to-surface ballistic missile named after Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani.
  • Soleimani was killed in a US drone strike in January, along with Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, an Iraqi militia commander who now has a cruise missile named after him.
  • The unveiling of the new missiles comes amid new tensions with the US, as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo moves to force the UN to reinstate crippling sanctions on Iran.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Iran on Thursday unveiled a new intermediate-range ballistic missile named after Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps commander who was killed in a US drone strike earlier this year.

“The surface-to-surface missile, called martyr Qassem Soleimani, has a range of 1,400 km,” Minister of Defence Amir Hatami announced in a televised address, according to Reuters.

He also introduced a cruise missile named after Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, an Iraqi militia commander who was also killed when an US drone targeted Soleimani’s convoy in Baghdad in January.

Soleimani stock photo 1800px Tehran after assassination QassemReutersAn Iranian holds a photograph of Qassem Soleimani after his assassination.

“Missiles and particularly cruise missiles are very important for us,” Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said during the National Defence Industry Day event, adding, “The fact that we have increased the range from 300 to 1,000 in less than two years is a great achievement.”

Iran demonstrated its ballistic-missile capabilities in January in a retaliatory attack following Soleimani’s death.

The IRGC hammered US and coalition forces at Al-Asad Air Base and in Erbil with more than a dozen ballistic missiles, specifically short-range Fateh-313 and Qiam 1 ballistic missiles, as part of Operation Martyr Soleimani.

No US military personnel were killed in the ballistic missile attack, but in the aftermath, more than 100 US service members were diagnosed with mild traumatic brain injuries of varying severity.

Al AsadJohn Davison/ReutersUS soldiers inspect the site where an Iranian missile hit at Ain al-Asad air base in Anbar province, Iraq, January 13, 2020.

The exchange in January brought the US and Iran to the brink of armed conflict, but the fact that there were no casualties in the ballistic-missile attack gave both sides the opportunity to de-escalate. Nonetheless, tensions persist.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will travel to New York on Thursday to inform the UN that the US is invoking the “snapback” mechanism included in the Security Council resolution on the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

Breaking with some allies and partners, the US withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal in 2018.

The snapback mechanism allows for the reinstatement of the crippling international sanctions that were eased in exchange for Iran’s adherence to restrictions placed on its nuclear program.

“The United States intends to restore virtually all of the previously suspended United Nations sanctions on Iran,” President Donald Trump said Wednesday.

The move, which has already drawn criticism from Russia, China, and others, is likely to face significant opposition given that it follows a failure just last week to convince the Security Council to extend an arms embargo on Iran.

The Trump administration has argued that the Iran deal, which Trump has condemned as “the worst deal ever negotiated,” does not adequately prevent Iran’s development of nuclear weapons, hinder its ballistic-missile program, or curb its malign activities in the region.

US withdrawal from the agreement has reignited longstanding tensions with Iran that have on more than one occasion escalated to the exchange of fire.

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