An Iranian general claimed Thursday that the Islamic republic has developed a hypersonic missile capable of penetrating all defence systems, raising concerns from the UN nuclear watchdog.
“This hypersonic ballistic missile was developed to counter air defence shields,” General Amirali Hajizadeh, the commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps aerospace unit, was quoted as saying by the official Fars news agency. “It will be able to breach all the systems of anti-missile defence,” he said, adding he believed it would take decades before a system capable of intercepting it is developed.
The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Rafael Grossi expressed concerns about the announcement. “We see that all these announcements increase the attention, increase the concerns, increase the public attention to the Iranian nuclear programme,” Grossi told AFP news agency.
Concerns about Iran’s ballistic missiles did however contribute to a U.S. decision in 2018 under then-President Donald Trump to pull out of the nuclear pact that Tehran signed with world powers on 2015.
Last week, Iran said it tested the Ghaem 100, its first three-stage space launch vehicle, which would be able to place satellites weighing 80 kg (180 pounds) in an orbit 500 km (300 miles) from the earth’s surface, according to state media.
The U.S. has called such actions “destabilising” as it believes space launch vehicles could be used to transport a nuclear warhead. But Iran denies wanting to develop a nuclear weapon