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Iran unveils new warship as they get closer to nukes 

Ebrahim Raisi speaks at a political rally in Iran. (Hossein Razaqnejad, Wikimedia Commons released)
March 14, 2023

On March 9, General Hossein Salami and Rear Admiral Alireza Tangsiri inaugurated Shahid Mahdavi, a 240-meter-long warship, into Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).

Salami currently serves as IRGC’s Chief Major General, while Tangsiri serves as a naval Commander for IRGC.

The warship has the capability to transport helicopters, drones, sea-to-sea, and sea-to-surface missile systems and is equipped with advanced technology including 3-D radars and communication systems.

The inauguration of the warship marks the latest addition to the IRGC, following Iran’s revealing of “the first Air Defense Small Boat” to be equipped with Nawab Short-Range SAM System earlier in March.

The Iranian warships feature a vertical launch system, allowing the Zulfiqar-class boats to launch missiles directly above their location. 

In February, Iran unveiled yet another addition to IRGC: a new long-range ballistic missile, Khaybar Shekan, with a range of 1,450 kilometers. These missiles boast a shorter preparation time and greater explosive power than earlier missiles available to the IRGC.

These military advancements come at a time when tensions are high between the U.S. and Iran, in response to Ukraine officials’ reports of shooting down Iranian drones in their conflict with Russia.

 According to CNBC, in January the Treasury Department imposed sanctions on six board members and executives of Iran’s Qods Aviation Industries, the country’s top defense manufacturer. 

“The Kremlin’s reliance on suppliers of last resort like Iran shows their desperation in the face of the brave Ukrainian resistance and the success of our global coalition in disrupting Russian military supply chains and denying them the inputs they need to replace weapons lost on the battlefield,” Janet Yellen, Secretary of the Treasurer, wrote in a release, “The United States will act swiftly against individuals and entities supporting Iran’s IAV and ballistic missile programs and will stand resolutely in support of the people of Ukraine.” 

READ MORE: Iran can now make nuke material in 12 days, Pentagon says

Increasing the concern, according to CNN, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) confirmed in March that uranium particles, enriched to 83.7 percent purity, had been found in Iran’s Fordow Fuel Enrichment Plant (FEEP).

The plant reportedly has not disclosed this level of enrichment,. Uranium particles enriched to a purity of 90 percent are required to produce a nuclear bomb. 

The IAEA issued a report regarding the finding, citing that Iran had removed monitoring equipment installed by the IAEA in relation in 2002, creating difficulty in communication. 

The IAEA report stated the move had “detrimental implications for the IAEA’s ability to provide assurance of the peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear programme.”