State media: Iran launches domestically made destroyer

Since 1992, Iran has been working to build a self-sufficient military. (File/AFP)
Updated 01 December 2018
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State media: Iran launches domestically made destroyer

  • State TV on Saturday reported it took six years to build the 1,300-ton vessel named Sahand after a mountain in northern Iran
  • The Sahand has a helicopter landing pad, is 96 meters long and can cruise at 25 knots

DUBAI: Iran's navy on Saturday launched a domestically made destroyer, which state media said has radar-evading stealth properties, as tensions rise with arch-enemy, the United States.
In a ceremony carried live on state television, the Sahand destroyer -- which can sustain voyages lasting five months without resupply -- joined Iran's regular navy at a base in Bandar Abbas on the Gulf.
The Sahand has a flight deck for helicopters, torpedo launchers, anti-aircraft and anti-ship guns, surface-to-surface and surface-to-air missiles and electronic warfare capabilities, state television reported.
US President Donald Trump pulled out of an international agreement on Iran's nuclear programme in May and reimposed sanctions on Tehran. He said the deal was flawed because it did not include curbs on Iran's development of ballistic missiles or its support for proxies in Syria, Yemen, Lebanon and Iraq.
The United States has said its goal is to reduce Iran's oil exports to zero. Senior Iranian officials have said that if Iran is not allowed to export then no other countries will be allowed to export oil through the Strait of Hormuz at the mouth of the Gulf.
"This vessel is the result of daring and creative design relying on the local technical knowledge of the Iranian Navy... and has been built with stealth capabilities," Rear-Admiral Alireza Sheikhi, head of the navy shipyards that built the destroyer, told the state news agency IRNA.
Iran launched its first locally made destroyer in 2010 as part of a programme to revamp its navy equipment which dates from before the 1979 Islamic revolution and is mostly US-made.
Iran has developed a large domestic arms industry in the face of international sanctions and embargoes that have barred it from importing many weapons.
Separately, a naval commander said Sahand may be among warships that Iran plans to send on a mission to Venezuela soon.
"Among our plans in the near future is to send two or three vessels with special helicopters to Venezuela in South America on a mission that could last five months," Iran's deputy navy commander, Rear-Admiral Touraj Hassani Moqaddam, told the semi-official news agency Mehr.
Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said last week Iran should increase its military capability and readiness to ward off enemies, in a meeting with Iranian navy commanders.
Iran's navy has extended its reach in recent years, launching vessels in the Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Aden to protect Iranian ships from Somali pirates operating in the area.
The chief of staff of the Iranian armed forces said in 2016 that Iran may seek to set up naval bases in Yemen or Syria in the future, raising the prospect of distant footholds perhaps being more valuable militarily to Tehran than nuclear technology.


UN envoy to Yemen says agreement on de-escalation in Taiz and Hodeidah ‘not there yet’

Updated 54 min 48 sec ago
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UN envoy to Yemen says agreement on de-escalation in Taiz and Hodeidah ‘not there yet’

LONDON: United Nations Envoy to Yemen, Martin Griffiths, said on Monday that agreement on the de-escalation in Taiz and Hodeidah are ‘not there yet’.
Speaking at a press conference in Stockholm, following the first round of the UN sponsored peace talks between the legitimate Yemeni government and the Iranian-backed Houthi militia, Griffiths told reporters that they will continue to discuss Hodeidah and Taiz.
He also said they are still working to find a common ground for the reopening of Sanaa airport.
During the talks, the two sides discussed a broad prisoner swap, however, Griffiths said the numbers of prisoners to be released by the warring parties will be announced soon.
The UN envoy said he expects to present a detailed plan for the next round of talks and hopes for an agreement from warring factions to hold the next round of talks early next year.