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Iran Navy takes delivery of 'faster, more agile' destroyer

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TEHRAN (AFP): Iran's Navy on Monday took delivery of what a top admiral said was a "faster and more agile" domestically produced destroyer which will be used in the Caspian Sea.

The ship, named Damavand after the country's highest mountain, is 90 metres long, weighs 1,300 tonnes and is armed with cruise missile systems, torpedos and electronic warfare equipment.

As state television showed pictures of the ship, Defence Minister Hossein Dehghan said it would be used to aid anti- drugs smuggling operations and counter-terrorism.

The Caspian, the largest enclosed sea in the world, is bordered by Iran, Russia, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan but there is as yet no definitive legal regime governing its waters.

Admiral Habibollah Sayyari, commander of Iran's Navy, said the Damavand was "faster and more agile than the Jamaran," referring to Iran's other new class destroyer, a slightly bigger vessel deployed in Gulf waters.

The Damavand was originally due into service by August 2013 but no explanation was given for the delay in delivery.

Much of Iran's naval equipment dates from before the Islamic revolution of 1979.

Three other destroyers of the same type as the Damavand are currently under construction in the south, according to Iranian media.

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