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Iran unveils nation's first unmanned bomber

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Photo released by Iranian Defense Ministry claims to show launch of the Karrar unmanned bomber.

TEHRAN (AP): Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad Sunday inaugurated the country's first domestically built unmanned bomber aircraft, calling it an "ambassador of death" to Iran's enemies.

The 4-meter-long drone aircraft can carry up to four cruise missiles and will have a range of 1000 kilometres, according to a state TV report -- not far enough to reach archenemy Israel.

"The jet, as well as being an ambassador of death for the enemies of humanity, has a main message of peace and friendship," said Ahmadinejad at the inauguration ceremony, which fell on the country's national day for its defence industries.

The goal of the aircraft, named Karrar or striker, is to "keep the enemy paralysed in its bases", he said, adding that the aircraft is for deterrence and defensive purposes.

The president championed the country's military self-sufficiency programme, and said it will continue "until the enemies of humanity lose hope of ever attacking the Iranian nation."

Iran launched an arms development program during its 1980-88 war with Iraq to compensate for a US weapons embargo and now produces its own tanks, armoured personnel carriers, missiles and even a fighter aircraft.

Iran frequently makes announcements about new advances in military technology that cannot be independently verified.

State TV later showed video footage of the plane taking off from a launching pad and reported that the craft travelled at speeds of 900 kilometers per hour and could alternatively be armed with two 250-pound bombs or a 450-pound guided bomb.

Iran has been producing its own light, unmanned surveillance aircraft since the late 1980s.

The ceremony came a day after Iran began to fuel its first nuclear power reactor, with the help of Russia, amid international concerns over the possibility of a military dimension to its nuclear program.

Iran insists it is only interested in generating electricity.

Referring to Israel's occasional threats against Iran's nuclear facilities, Ahmadinejad called any attack unlikely, but he said if Israel did, the reaction would be overwhelming.

"The scope of Iran's reaction will include the entire the earth," said Ahmadinejad. "We also tell you -- the West -- that all options are on the table."

Ahmadinejad appeared to be consciously echoing the terminology used by the US and Israel in their statements not ruling out a military option against Iran's nuclear facilities.

On Friday, Iran also test-fired a new liquid fuel surface-to-surface missile, the Qiam-1, with advanced guidance systems.

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Iran  drone  UAV  Bomber  
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