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Iran begins mass production of two assault boats


A file photo

TEHRAN (AFP): Iran has launched mass production of two high-speed missile-launching assault boats to be deployed along its coastline and around the key Strait of Hormuz shipping route.

The inauguration of the production lines for the Seraj and Zolfaqar speedboats comes a day after President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad unveiled Iran's home-built bomber drone, which he said would deliver "death" to Iran's enemies.

State news agency IRNA reported that Seraj (Lamp) and Zolfaqar (named after Shiite Imam Ali's sword) would be manufactured at the marine industries complex of the ministry of defence.

Defence Minister Ahmad Vahidi opened the assembly lines, saying the vessels would help strengthen Iran's defence forces.

"Today, the Islamic Republic of Iran is relying on a great defence industry and the powerful forces of Sepah (Revolutionary Guards) and the army, with their utmost strength, can provide security to the Persian Gulf, the Sea of Oman and Strait of Hormuz," Vahidi said.

IRNA said Zolfaqar was a new generation missile- launching vessel which can be used for patrol as well as for attack operations.

"It is designed for quick assaults on ships and is equipped with two missile launchers, two machine guns and a computer system to control the missiles," the report said.

IRNA said Seraj, designed for a tropical climate, was also a fast moving assault vessel for use in the Caspian sea, the Gulf and the Gulf of Oman, adding that it can fire rockets and also be used in stormy seas.

"Seraj is a fast moving assault rocket launcher using sophisticated and modern technology," Vahidi was cited as saying by IRNA.

The launch of the production lines comes as Iran marks its annual "government week", a period when it traditionally shows off its latest technological achievements.

Ahmadinejad on Monday has unveiled a bomber drone with a range of up to 1,000 kilometres, which he dubbed the "ambassador of death."

State media said the drone, Karar (Assailant), can carry four stealth cruise missiles, two bombs of 250 pounds (115 kilos) each or a precision missile of 500 pounds (230 kilos).

Tehran kicked off its week of military claims on Friday when it fired a surface-to-surface missile, named Qiam ("Rising"), with some more announcements expected over the next few days.

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