Iran unveils its own drone aircraft

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has inaugurated the country's first domestically built unmanned bomber aircraft, calling it an "ambassador of death" to Iran's enemies.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Sunday inaugurated the country's first domestically built unmanned bomber aircraft, calling it an "ambassador of death" to Iran's enemies.

The four-metre-long drone aircraft can carry up to four cruise missiles and will have a range of about 1,000 kilometres, according to a state TV report, not far enough to reach archenemy Israel.

At the inauguration ceremony Sunday, the country's national day for Iran's defence industry, Ahmadinejad said the aircraft, named Karrar or striker, was "an ambassador of death for the enemies of humanity," but added that it also "has a main message of peace and friendship."

The president championed the country's military self-sufficiency program, and said it will continue "until the enemies of humanity lose hope of ever attacking the Iranian nation."

Iran launched an arms development program during its 1980-88 war with Iraq to compensate for a U.S. weapons embargo and now produces its own tanks, armoured personnel carriers, missiles and even a fighter plane.

Iran frequently makes announcements about new advances in military technology that cannot be independently verified.

State TV later showed video footage of the plane taking off from a launching pad and reported that the craft travelled at speeds of 900 km/h and could alternatively be armed with two 113-kilogram bombs or a 204-kilogram guided bomb.

Iran has been producing its own light, unmanned surveillance aircraft since the late 1980s.

The ceremony came a day after Iran began to fuel its first nuclear power reactor, with the help of Russia, amid international concerns over the possibility of a military dimension to its nuclear program.

Iran insists it is only interested in generating electricity.

Referring to Israel's occasional threats against Iran's nuclear facilities, Ahmadinejad called any attack unlikely, but he said if Israel did attack, the reaction would be overwhelming.

Ahmadinejad appeared to be consciously echoing the terminology used by the United States and Israel in their statements not ruling out a military option against Iran's nuclear facilities.

On Friday, Iran also test-fired a new liquid fuel surface-to-surface missile, the Qiam-1, with advanced guidance systems.