TEHRAN, Iran – Iran on Tuesday officially launched production of its first locally built submarine, a craft that can fire missiles and torpedoes at the same time, state-run television reported.
Defense Ministry spokesman Mohammad Imani (search) was quoted as saying "the enemy would not be able to detect the submarine." He did not elaborate.
One submarine has apparently already been built and was shown on television Tuesday, cruising at sea level. The Defense Ministry has commissioned an unspecified number of the craft that's been dubbed "Ghadir." Ghadir (search) is a site in the Arabian Peninsula holy to Shiite Muslims, the overwhelming majority of Iran's 69 million people.
The submarine is capable of operating in the Persian Gulf (search) and Oman sea waters, according to the report, which did not specify the range of its projectiles.
In December, Iran announced the production of a line of stealth torpedoes that could be launched from helicopters, ships or submarines.
Iranian officials have repeatedly said the Islamic Republic will defend itself should the United States or Israel initiate any aggression. Pressure has mounted on Iran recently with suspicion over its nuclear program, which Washington suspects is aimed at building unconventional weapons — a charge Iranian officials vehemently deny.
President Bush has accused Iran of being "the world's primary state sponsor of terror" and Israel recently warned that it may consider a pre-emptive strike against Iranian nuclear installations.
Iran already mass produces the Shahab-3 missile, capable of reaching Israel and U.S. forces stationed in Saudi Arabia and Turkey. Since 1992, it also has produced its own tanks, armored personnel carriers, missiles and a fighter plane.