Text size
related tags

A top Iranian defense official said Wednesday that the country has built an unmanned surveillance aircraft with a range of more than 600 miles (1,000 kilometers).

Deputy Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi told the semiofficial Fars news agency that he could not provide more details on what he called an important achievement.

Iraq has in the past reported building unmanned aircraft, or drones, but this is the first time it has been reported by a named official and its range revealed.

Iran launched an arms development program during its ruinous 1980-88 war with neighboring Iraq to compensate for a U.S. arms embargo. Since 1992, Iran says it has produced its own jet fighters, torpedoes, radar-avoiding missiles, tanks and armored carriers.

Earlier this month, Iran said it had launched a domestically made satellite into orbit for the first time, prompting further concern among Western powers and in Israel over Tehran's nuclear ambitions.

One of the worries associated with Iran's fledgling space program is that the technology used to launch satellites can be used to deliver warheads.