Iran to unveil new fighter jet, upgrade missile defences

Iran to unveil new fighter jet, upgrade missile defences
Iran's defence minister said Tehran is preparing its defences against possible attacks from Israel or the United States.
2 min read
19 August, 2018
The new jet will be displayed on Iran's National Defence Industry Day [AFP]

Iran is set to unveil a new fighter jet and upgrade its missile defences to meet threats from Israel and the US, the country's defence minister has said.

"Our first priority is our missile capability and we must enhance it... given the enemy's efforts in missile defence," Defence Minister Amir Hatami was quoted by the Tasnim news agency as saying.

He added that a new fighter jet "will fly on National Defence Industry Day", which falls on Wednesday.

Hatami said the defence programme was motivated by memories of the missile attacks Iran suffered during its eight-year war with Iraq in the 1980s, and by repeated threats from Israel and the United States that "all options are on the table" in dealing with the Islamic republic.

"We have learned in the (Iran-Iraq) war that we cannot rely on anyone but ourselves. We saw that wherever we are not capable, no one will have mercy on us," he said.

"Our resources are limited and we are committed to establishing security at a minimum cost.

"We upgrade our missiles according to our enemies' threats and actions, as a deterrent and to give a crushing response to the enemy," he added.

Hatami added that regional rival Saudi Arabia "has the largest military budget in the world after America and China... while our defence budget is limited".

"What would any nation with such a situation and past do in our place?" he said.

Iran is currently facing off increased pressure from Washington, following the reimposition of sanctions by the US earlier this month.

US President Donald Trump has said a new round of sanctions will be imposed in November, targeting Iranian oil sales.

Iran's rial currency has lost about half of its value since April, driven mainly by heavy demand for dollars among ordinary Iranians trying to protect their savings. 

Agencies contributed to this report.