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Two new missile plants of Iran became operational

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A file photo of Iran Defence Minister Ahmad Vahidi.

TEHRAN (AFP): Defence Minister Ahmad Vahidi opened two new missile production plants on Saturday, just three days after Iran fired a rocket carrying live animals into space, state television reported.

The plants will produce a ground-to-air missile dubbed the Qaem (Rising) and a surface-to-surface missile dubbed Toofan 5 (Storm), state television reported.

The Qaem is designed to target helicopters at low and medium altitudes, it added.

Iran unveiled the new plants as part of its celebrations for the 31st anniversary of the Islamic revolution later this month.

On Wednesday, Iran launched a capsule carrying turtles, rats and worms aboard its Kavoshgar 3 (Explorer) rocket in its first experiment in sending living creatures into space.

Iran's missile and space programmes have sparked mounting alarm in the West amid fears that a command of advanced ballistics technologies combined with the nuclear know-how acquired from its declared civilian programme may enable it to produce an atomic weapon.

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