Iran has test fired a new ballistic missile, which it claims can be controlled up to the moment it hits the target. A report by Fars news agency didn't specify the precise range of the missile or any further detail about the test firing.
State TV showed what appeared to be a successful launch of the new missile, named Emad. It will be Iran's first precision-guided weapon with long-distance range. "The Emad missile is able to strike targets with a high level of precision and completely destroy them... This greatly increases Iran's strategic deterrence capability," iran's Defence Minister Hossein Dehghan said at a televised news conference.
The revelation of the Emad could stir up concerns from Israel as the two countries have accused each other of being a major destabilising force in the Middle East. Israeli Ambassador Alon Roth-Snir told the United Nations' First Committee on 9 October that "Iran remains the most significant threat to the security of the Middle East and beyond."
Dehghan denied that Iran has aggressive intentions towards other countries during the news conference. "Our leadership and armed forces are determined to increase our power and this is to promote peace and stability in the region. There is no intention of aggression or threats in this action," he said.
Dehghan added that the Emad system will be added to missile units in the "near future" and that it would be mass produced and delivered to missile units of the Iranian Armed Forces to significantly enhance their tactical and operational power.
Anthony Cordesman, a researcher at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, reported that the Emad would have a range of 1,700km (1,060 miles), be accurate to within 500m (1,650ft) and carry a 750kg (1,653lb) payload. It is a variant of the Shahab-3 missile, which has been in Iran's service since 2003 and has a similar range, but is only accurate only to within 2km.
Israeli missile expert Uzi Rubin told Reuters: "The Emad represents a major leap in terms of accuracy. It has an advanced guidance and control system in its nose cone."
Iran has one of the largest missile programmes in the Middle East, despite a United Nations arms embargo. The country has a record of military production industry, including missiles, tanks and light submarines since 1992. However, the government often announces military advances but they cannot be independently verified, according to the Associated Press.