Iran has paraded its military hardware including ‘the longest-range drone in the world’ along with ballistic and hypersonic missiles.
Last Friday, to mark the anniversary of the start of the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s, the Iranian military held parades throughout the country and in the waters of the Persian Gulf.
In Tehran on Friday morning, President Ebrahim Raeisi and top military and government officials oversaw a parade at the mausoleum of Imam Khomeini, the late founder of the Islamic Republic marking the initiation of the war by ex-Iraqi President Saddam Hussein against Iran 43 years ago.
Similar parades were conducted in various provinces throughout the country, involving the Iranian Army, Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), Police, Border Guards, and Basij forces.
The latest military products, including various missiles and drones, are usually put on display at the annual parade. However, one of the highlights of Friday’s parade in Tehran was the unveiling of two key Iranian missiles, the Fattah and the Paveh.
Fattah, literally meaning ‘the opener’, is a precision-guided two-stage solid-fuelled rocket with a range of 1,400 kilometres and terminal speed of Mach 13 to 15.
The speed, along with movable nozzles that allow the missile to manoeuvre in all directions both in and out of the Earth’s atmosphere, makes it immune to interception by all existing anti-missile systems.
Paveh is a new long-range cruise missile that can travel 1,025 miles.
The parade also included the unveiling of ‘the longest-range drone in the world’ along with Mohajer, Shahed and Arash unmanned aerial vehicles on display.
The Islamic Republic said last month that it had built an advanced drone named Mohajer-10 with an enhanced flight range and duration as well as a larger payload.
It has an operational range of 1,240 miles and can fly for up to 24 hours, Iranian media reported then, adding that its payload could reach 300 kilos , double the capacity of the Mohajer-6 drone.
Meanwhile, Iran’s chief negotiator Ali Bagheri Kani has said that he’d held ‘frank’ talks with the European Union’s coordinator Enrique Mora, amid efforts to revive the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) deal that the United States walked out of five years ago.
Bagheri Kani, who is also deputy foreign minister for political affairs, said the talks took place on the sidelines of the 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York last Thursday.
During the meeting, Bagheri Kani and Mora, who is also the EU’s deputy foreign policy chief, discussed relations between Tehran and the bloc as well as the latest developments concerning talks aimed at removing anti-Iran sanctions and reviving the 2015 JCPOA.
Bagheri Kani wrote on social media: ‘We had frank discussions on many areas of Iran-EU relationship, including developments on sanctions-lifting negotiations. Consultations will be continued in future.’
He has already held talks with political representatives of the three European parties to the 2015 JCPOA nuclear agreement – Germany, France, and the United Kingdom – on the sidelines of the 78th UNGA.
Bagheri Kani’s meeting with Mora came a day after Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian and the EU foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, discussed ways to continue the JCPOA revival talks.
In a meeting in New York last Wednesday, Abdollahian and Borrell ‘stressed the importance of continuation of dialogue and full implementation of commitments by all parties to the JCPOA’, Iran’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
Abdollahian said: ‘The parties showed interest in taking concrete actions based on an agreed framework and to establish as much mutual understanding as possible.’
JCPOA talks have been on hold since August last year, with Iran blaming a lack of political will on the part of US President Joe Biden’s administration to undo the damage caused to the multilateral nuclear deal by the previous US administration of ex-President Donald Trump.
Trump pulled Washington out of the UN-endorsed agreement in May 2018, imposing severe economic sanctions against Tehran while Iran was adhering to its commitments under the deal and even continued to do so for a year after the US withdrawal.
Tehran then scaled back its commitments to the JCPOA in a series of pre-announced and clear steps.
Some observers see the exchange of five prisoners between Iran and the US last Monday as a possible gate to a broader agreement between the two countries. The Iranian Foreign Ministry said that Borrell had expressed his satisfaction with the prisoner swap in the meeting.
Elsewhere, Spokesman for the Iranian Foreign Ministry, Nasser Kan’ani, described last Wednesday’s meeting between Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian and his Egyptian counterpart Sameh Shoukry on the sidelines of the 78th session of the UN General Assembly in New York as a ‘turning point’ in Tehran-Cairo relations and a positive step within the framework of Iran’s ties with regional countries.
‘The two sides exchanged viewpoints on issues of common interest, evaluated the current state of bilateral relations, and looked forward to their improvement. The talks opened up a new horizon on the path of mutual ties between the two countries,’ Kan’ani said.
He also expressed hope for ‘positive steps’ towards a new era of relations between Iran and Egypt.
Last month, Chairman of the Egyptian Council for Foreign Affairs, Mohamed el-Orabi, said that talks between Cairo and Tehran were still ongoing.
‘The issue is very simple and should not become complicated. Restoration of full relations with Tehran will happen eventually, but Egypt has its reservations,’ Orabi said.
He noted that diplomatic interactions between Egypt and Iran already exist, and have not been severed, nevertheless, ‘determining factors’ that are ‘unique in essence’ should be taken into account when it comes to the re-establishment of ties.
Egypt severed its diplomatic relations with Iran in 1980 after the Egyptian regime welcomed the deposed Shah of Iran and also recognised the apartheid Israeli regime.
Meanwhile in a separate development, Iranian and Djiboutian foreign ministers have met and agreed to re-establish diplomatic relations between their respective countries in line with the interests and ideals of their nations.
The two top diplomats, who met last Thursday on the sidelines of the 78th session of the UN General Assembly, reached an agreement to forge friendly relations between Tehran and Djibouti City anchored in ‘mutual respect for sovereignty, equality, mutual benefit and peaceful coexistence’.
The two sides also decided to strengthen cooperation in various fields, including investment, trade, science and technological innovations.
Abdollahian said: ‘Relations between Iran and Djibouti witnessed a very good trend in the past. There exist various spheres for bilateral cooperation.
‘We consider Djibouti as a friendly and brotherly country. Iran attaches significance to expansion of relations with Djibouti as an important Muslim country in the Horn of Africa.
‘We can establish strong relations and develop cooperation in all areas,’ he noted.