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Iran on brink of self-sufficiency in missile industry: Official

Iran has taken fundamental steps for self-sufficiency in its nascent missile industry with the domestication of much of the technology used in projectiles, the head of the country's aerospace organization said in Tehran on Tuesday, IRNA reported.

Brigadier Ahmad Vahid recalled the hardship which dogged Iran throughout the war imposed by Iraq between 1980-1988, when the country bore the brunt of stinging economic and military sanctions.

"Logistic needs of the imposed war on one side and stringent sanctions slapped on the Islamic Republic of Iran on the other forced the country to found its missile industry.

"Thus, the industry started its rapid growth while none of the superior powers of the world were ready to cooperate with Iran in this field and everything took shape with belief in God and dependence on domestic knowledge and experience," he added.

Vahid cited achievements of Iran's Aerospace Industries Organization and its products, including production of anti-tank rockets as well as surface-to-surface Shahab missiles.

"There exist bright prospects for the organization in being a national front runner in the area of (access to) modern technologies and launch of light satellites and design of various products," he added.

Defense Minister Ali Shamkhani said last month that Iran will launch its locally-built satellite within one and half years, making the country the first in the Islamic world to capture outer space.

The country later unveiled a new type of naval Ra'd missile, designed to be fired from ships or coastal batteries as well as a radar guidance system for homing Nur rockets into their targets.

Shamkhani has hailed Iran's aerospace achievements, saying the aerospace capacity of the Islamic Republic is among the most genuine areas for bolstering of the country's deterrence force through the cooperation of the defense industries and universities.

"There was a time when the Persian Gulf was regarded as a launch pad of threats against the Islamic Republic, but today with the power Iran has acquired, this region cannot be used by any non-regional power against us," he said last month.

Iran' state telecommunications company had for long been seeking a foreign contractor to construct the country's first independent satellite.

Several entities, including from China, India, France and Russia had submitted proposals for the project, dubbed 'Zohreh' which the press had cited once worth 300 million dollars, but none of them were ever pushed through.

The project had been in the air since the 1980s. Iran, with a population of more than 65 million spread out on a territory of 1.6 million kilometers, is seeking to improve its communications system.

... Payvand News - 2/3/04 ... --

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