Iran Launches Destroyer: Is The Country On Its Way To Creating A Self-Sufficient Military?

By Philip Ross on March 18, 2013 2:59 PM EDT

Iran President Ahmadinejad
Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, grey suit, looks on during inauguration of the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline in Chahbahar. Shortly after the unveiling of the pipeline last week, Iran launched a destroyer in the Caspian Sea. (Photo: Reuters)

Iran launched a destroyer on the Caspian Sea Sunday, making it the country's first major warship to be deployed in the oil-rich region. UPI reports that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad headed a ceremony celebrating the debut of the Jamaran-2 destroyer, the second domestically produced frigate to come out of Iran's military forge.  

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Before a crowd of Iranian military officials, the president said that the destroyer is a symbol of Iran's "capability and strength, and conveys the message of peace and friendship to the Caspian Sea states."

The Caspian Sea, the largest enclosed body of water on Earth, is bordered by Russia to the northwest, Azerbaijan to the west, Iran to the south, Turkmenistan to the southeast and Kazakhstan to the northeast. President Ahmadinejad told the crowd, "The destroyer is there to meet those who want to jeopardize the security of surrounding nations," although the Islamic republic News Agency reports that the destroyer has not yet completed final testing.  

The 1,400-ton destroyer is 94 yards long, has a helicopter landing pad, and is equipped with two kinds of missiles in addition to its anti-aircraft batteries and high-tech radar and communications terminals, according to the report.

Business Insider reports that since Iran started building up its military in 1992, following the Iran-Iraq War of the late '80s, the country is positioned to establish a self-sufficient military. Over the past 20 years, Iran has produced its own jet fighters, tanks, missiles, submarines and torpedoes, according to the Washington Times.

In 2010, Iran successfully launched a predecessor to the Jamaran-2 into the Persian Gulf. The Iranian government heralded the launch as one of the country's greatest accomplishments and a great leap forward for Iran's naval industry. However, that same year, in February, Iran found itself being ridiculed on the international stage when it unveiled a "super stealth" jet that turned out to be incapable of flight.

At the same time that the country is working to advance its military, Iran denies it is pursuing nuclear weapons, but both Israel and the U.S. suspect otherwise. Both countries have stated that preemptive military strikes to suppress the progress of an Iranian nuclear program are not out of the question.

The launching of the destroyer on Sunday piggybacks on another Iranian achievement, as the country is also moving forward with developments in its energy sector. Just last week, President Ahmadinejad attended the unveiling of the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline. As Press TV reported, the pipeline will deliver gas from Iran to Pakistan, a move that the U.S. strictly opposes. The U.S. Department of State even threatened Pakistan with sanctions if the country went through with the partnership.

Iran has already constructed 560 miles of pipeline on its territory, according to Press TV.  

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