As tensions between Tehran and Washington is growing, Iran announced this Wednesday that it now has the technology to manufacture supersonic cruise missiles.
The story of tensions between the United States and Iran has reached new levels as the latter announced this Wednesday that it now has the ability and the know-how to build supersonic cruise missiles.
The new missiles are now undergoing tests and “will mark the beginning of a new chapter in the defense power of our country”, Iran’s state media, Tasnim news website, reported on Wednesday morning, noting also that the new missiles could “significantly accelerate the Islamic Republic of Iran’s response time in case of any combat, and take away attacking forces’ opportunity for reaction”.
Iran has one of the biggest and most advanced missile programs in the Middle East, with an array of cruise missiles being built inside Iran. However, none of such missiles has so far breached Mach 1, or the speed of sound, which is 343 meters per second (1,125 feet per second). A projectile that could travel at speeds between Mach 1 and Mach 5 is considered supersonic. Iranian officials have also asserted countless times that all the weapons are only the means of defense and have no offensive purpose.
Iran’s military upgrading, a response to US rising threats in the region
The news on Iran’s missile upgrading came as he US Navy said on Monday that more than 3,000 military personnel have arrived in the Red Sea on board two warships to help protect shipping lanes, including those in the strategic Strait of Hormuz, from what the US military described as Iranian “harassment”.
The deployment adds to a growing US military buildup in tense Gulf waterways vital to the global oil trade and led Tehran on Monday to accuse the US of inflaming regional instability. The US military claims that Iran has either seized or attempted to take control of nearly 20 internationally flagged ships in the region over the past two years, allegations that Iran completely denies.
“What is your business here?!” Iranian official says to US
Iran also announced last week that for the very same reason, that is, the US increasing presence in the region, it has equipped its Revolutionary Guard’s navy with drones and 1,000-km (600-mile) range missiles in the Strait of Hormuz. The decision came after the US military said it is planning to deploy armed personnel on commercial ships travelling through the vital strait in what it said aimed to stop Iran’s seizure of several civilian ships.
Referring to the possible presence of US guards, Iranian armed forces spokesperson Brigadier-General Abolfazl Shekarchi said the countries in the region “are fully capable of defending regional waters themselves”, and there is no need for US presence there. “What do the Persian Gulf, the Gulf of Oman and the Indian Ocean have to do with America? What is your business being here?” Shekarchi said last week.
Biden is making the same mistake as Trump did
As tit-for-tat moves between Tehran and Washington see no end in sight, many analysts have warned that continuing US military presence in the Gulf and fortifying it can risk a “dangerous” confrontation with Iran,
Sina Toossi, for example, who is a senior fellow at the Center for International Policy think tank in Washington, DC, believes that US President Joe Biden is doubling down on his predecessor Donald Trump’s “failed policy” of economic warfare and escalation against Iran.
“The track record of this policy – not just in the past five years but for decades – has been that it will lead to a cycle of mutual escalation, where the US will escalate and Iran will counter-escalate. So, this is very dangerous,” Toossi said this Tuesday speaking with Al Jazeera.