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Iran ‘first’ defense power in West Asia: Military official

The file photo shows surface-to-surface Iranian ballistic missiles.

A senior Iranian military official has highlighted the country’s great defense capabilities and combat readiness in West Asia, saying the Islamic Republic is the "first" defense power in the strategic region.

Brigadier General Reza Talaei-Nik, the spokesman for Iran's Defense Ministry, made the statement in a ceremony held to commemorate the martyrs of the 1980s Iraqi imposed war on Iran in the western province of Hamedan on Sunday.

“Today, Iran is the region's prime power in defense,” Talaei-Nik said. “We were all by ourselves before the war, but today they say no equation in the region can be balanced without Iran; this is the defensive power that has been achieved.”

Pointing to various threats posed against the Islamic Republic, the Defense Ministry spokesperson said Iran is in possession of precision strike missiles that are named after top anti-terror commander Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani, who was martyred by the US military in January 2020, and capable of hitting Israel.

“Today, we have missiles at our disposal that we have named ‘Israel-striker’ missiles,” Talaei-Nik said. “We have Israel-striker missiles; Martyr Haj Qassem missile is a missile capable of striking Israel.”

The Iranian Defense Ministry previously announced that Martyr Haj Qassem missile is a surface-to-surface ballistic missile with a range of 1,400 kilometers. The sophisticated missile weighs more than seven tons and is 11 meters long, with a 500-kg warhead.

“With a speed 12 times greater than that of sound while entering the atmosphere, the missile is able to pass through any missile defense system and destroy the target owing to its high accuracy and powerful warhead,” the Defense Ministry said.

In a recent interview, Talaei-Nik said Iran is among the top 10 countries in the world in terms of defense industry technology.

The Defense Ministry spokesman added that Iran was able, in 45 years, to "transform from an importer of weapons to a country that manufactures about 90% of its military needs."

Iranian military experts and engineers have in recent years made remarkable breakthroughs in manufacturing a broad range of indigenous equipment, making the armed forces self-sufficient.

Iranian officials have repeatedly underscored that the country will not hesitate to strengthen its military capabilities, including its missile power, which are entirely meant for defense, and that Iran’s defense capabilities will be never subject to negotiations.

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