Iran has showcased its latest locally-developed anti-aircraft missiles together with S-300 air defense systems at an annual Army Day parade. Some of the trucks carrying the weapons were decorated with banners featuring anti-Israeli slogans.
The Army Day parade was held in the Iranian capital, Tehran, on Tuesday, with troops from all branches of the armed forces taking part. The ceremony also included tanks, armored vehicles, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), fighter jets, radar systems and air defense systems.
Certain parts of the parade drew particular attention, including anti-Israeli banners that read ‘Death to Israel’ in Persian and showed a fist punching through the Jewish Star of David.
Attending the massive military parade was President Hassan Rouhani, who said in his address that Iranians “should always maintain our alertness against conspiracies by others and should enhance our deterrent power day by day,” as cited by Press TV.
Rouhani said that Iranian forces defend the whole of the “important and sensitive” region of the Middle East, and promised a “vigorous and determined” response to potential aggressors. He also accused “some of the world’s armies” of spearheading “intervention in other countries’ internal affairs, genocide, terrorism sponsorship, coups d’état, and lack of regard for the people’s opinion and law.”
According to Fars news agency, Iranian-made Sayyad (Hunter) 3 anti-aircraft missiles were showcased during the parade for the first time, accompanying Russian-made S-300s.
Brigadier General Farzad Esmayeeli, commander of Iran’s Air Defense Forces, told the outlet that the new missile would be mounted on the Soviet-built S-200 systems still operated by the Iranian military.
The Sayyad 3 can also be mounted on the Bavar 373, Iran’s locally-developed long-range air defense system. The development of the Bavar 373 was announced in September 2011, shortly after Russia canceled a contract to supply Iran with S-300 systems, according to UK military think tank Jane’s.
Though Russia reversed the decision in 2015 and began delivery of S-300s in 2016, the Bavar program continued.
Israel’s relations with Iran have been strained for decades. Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli firebrand leader, vehemently opposes the landmark 2015 nuclear deal that imposed limits on Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for the lifting of sanctions.
In previous public statements, the Israeli PM repeatedly claimed Tehran is seeking to annihilate Israel and poses a threat to Europe and the West.
Earlier this week, US President Donald Trump, who previously referred to Iran as the “number one terrorist state,” ordered a review of the nuclear deal. Russia earlier voiced concern over Washington’s policy towards Iran, saying it disagrees over labelling it a “terrorist state.”