September 24, 2012 / 3:01 PM / 6 years ago

Iran tests home-built anti-aircraft system: report

DUBAI (Reuters) - Iran successfully test-fired a domestically made anti-aircraft system, the country’s English-language Press TV reported on Monday.

“The mid-range system ... is capable of intercepting targets at a range of 50 kilometers (30 miles) and can fly at an altitude of 75,000 feet,” the report on Press TV’s website said.

As Israel makes increasing hints it may launch air strikes on Iran’s nuclear sites, the weapons test is designed to show Iran is ready for any such Israeli or U.S. attack.

An Iranian Revolutionary Guards commander, Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh, said at a military parade displaying the weapons last Friday that: “The system has been manufactured with the aim of confronting (hostile) U.S. aircraft.”

“The Ra’d air defence system is the first completely indigenous system of the Sepah (Revolutionary Guards), which has been designed and manufactured by committed Iranian technicians in the struggle for self-sufficiency,” Hajizadeh was quoted as saying by the Mehr news agency.

Hajizadeh, head of the Revolutionary Guards’ aerospace arm, was quoted on Sunday as saying Iran might launch a pre-emptive strike on the Jewish state if it was sure Israel was about to attack.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has criticized U.S. President Barack Obama’s position that sanctions and diplomacy should be given more time to stop Iran’s nuclear program, increasing speculation of Israeli military action ahead of U.S. elections in November.

Tehran denies it is seeking nuclear weapons and says its atomic work is peaceful.

Writing by Zahra Hosseinian; Editing by Robin Pomeroy

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