DUBAI (Reuters) - Iran’s Revolutionary Guards unveiled a home-built long-range drone capable of reaching most of the Middle East, including the Islamic state’s arch-foe Israel, state television reported on Tuesday.
The reconnaissance drone named Shahed 129 has a range of 2,000 km (1,240 miles) and is capable of carrying bombs and missiles, state television said. It gave no further details.
Israel has threatened action against Iran’s nuclear sites, raising speculation about a possible military strike ahead of the U.S. presidential election in November.
Israel has criticized U.S. President Barack Obama’s position that international sanctions on Iran and diplomacy should be given more time to stop Tehran from acquiring nuclear weapons.
Iran denies seeking nuclear weapons, saying its atomic activity is peaceful, aimed at generating electricity.
The head of the Revolutionary Guards’ aerospace arm Amir Ali Hajizadeh was quoted on Sunday as saying Iran might launch a pre-emptive strike on Israel if it was sure the Jewish state was about to attack.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, speaking in New York on Monday, said Israel had no roots in the Middle East and would be “eliminated”.
Iran has in recent days announced defense and engineering developments, including a domestically made anti-aircraft system, but some analysts are skeptical as to the reliability of the reports.
Israel bombed an Iraqi nuclear reactor in 1981 and launched a similar strike against Syria in 2007. Israel is believed to have the Middle East’s only nuclear arsenal, although it refuses to disclose any capability.
Reporting by Zahra Hosseinian; Editing by Janet Lawrence