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Iran unveils new, more accurate ballistic missile technology

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Iran's Revolutionary Guard has unveiled a new ballistic missile, the country's state TV reported Sunday, amid heightened tensions with the US.

Iran routinely unveils what it describes as technological advances for its armed forces ahead of the February anniversary of its 1979 Islamic Revolution.

State television said the missile, called Raad-500, or thunder, had half the weight of a similar ballistic missile, Fateh-110, but had 200 kilometres (some 120 miles) more range. The fourth generation of Fateh-110 has 300 kilometres (some 180 miles) range.

The Guards also unveiled a new missile engine that uses solid fuel and a satellite carrier that has "movable nozzle technology". The technology increases a missile's accuracy in hitting targets.

The US alleges such activities defy a UN Security Council resolution calling on Iran to undertake no activity related to ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons.

On the same day, an Iranian minister said Tehran will launch a satellite on Sunday as part of a programme the US says is cover for ballistic missile testing.

“The Zafar satellite will be placed in orbit today from Semnan at a speed of 7,400 kilometres” per hour, Mohammad Javad Azari-Jahromi, the Minister of Information and Communications Technology, said, the official IRIB news agency reported.

The United States says it is concerned that long-range ballistic technology used to put satellites into orbit could also be used to launch nuclear warheads. Tehran denies its satellite activity is a cover for missile development and says it has never pursued the development of nuclear weapons.

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