General Amirali Hajizadeh, commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards aerospace unit, claimed on Thursday that the country has developed a hypersonic missile capable of penetrating all defense systems.
Hypersonic missiles, like traditional ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons, can travel at speeds exceeding five times the speed of sound.
According to Iran’s Fars news agency, “this hypersonic ballistic missile was developed to counter air defense shields.” “It will be able to breach all anti-missile defense systems.”
The general predicted that it would take decades to develop a system capable of intercepting the missile, calling it “a great generational leap in the field of missiles.”
Hypersonic missiles, in addition to having much higher velocities, are also maneuverable, making them more difficult to track and defend against than conventional missiles.
While countries such as the United States have developed systems to counter cruise and ballistic missiles, the ability to track and destroy a hypersonic missile remains a mystery.
Unlike ballistic missiles, hypersonic missiles fly low in the atmosphere, potentially reaching targets faster.
North Korea’s hypersonic missile test last year sparked fears of a race to acquire the technology.
Russia is currently leading the race to develop missiles, followed by China and the US. Moscow even claimed in March that it used a hypersonic missile in Ukraine, which would have been the first time the weapon type was used in combat, but the US never confirmed this.
Iran and Russia have both been sanctioned harshly since the United States unilaterally exited the 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers, and Russia since it invaded Ukraine in February.
In response to the sanctions, the two countries have increased cooperation in key areas to help support their economies.
The alleged hypersonic missile announcement came after Iran admitted on Saturday that it had sent drones to Russia, but that it had done so prior to the Ukraine war.
The Washington Post reported on October 16 that Iran was preparing to ship missiles to Russia, but Tehran rejected the report as “completely false.”
The claim also came amid stalled talks to resurrect the 2015 nuclear deal. The agreement reached with six major powers — Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia, and the United States — granted Iran relief from sanctions in exchange for assurances that it would not develop nuclear weapons.
Iran has always denied wanting a nuclear arsenal, but it claimed in July that it had developed “the technical capability to build a nuclear bomb.”
Responding to Iran’s claim on the sidelines of the COP27 climate summit in Egypt on Thursday, Rafael Grossi, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), said Tehran’s “announcements increase the attention, concerns, and public attention to the Iranian nuclear program.”
The nuclear deal came to an end after the United States withdrew unilaterally in 2018 under then-President Donald Trump.
It also comes on the heels of Iran’s November 5 announcement of a successful test flight of a rocket capable of launching satellites into space.
The US has repeatedly expressed concern that such launches could boost Iran’s ballistic missile technology, potentially leading to the delivery of nuclear warheads.
In response to “Iran’s recent missile attack on Erbil, Iraq, as well as missile attacks by Iranian proxies against Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates,” the US government-imposed sanctions on Iran’s missile-related activities in March.
“These attacks are a reminder that Iran’s development and proliferation of ballistic missiles pose a serious threat to regional and international security,” the U.S. government said.