As the United States argues with world powers to extend an arms embargo on the country, Iran has unveiled its recently upgraded army tanks. On August 13th, Iran’s Minister of Defence Brigadier General Amir Hatami assessed the new tanks and a newly constructed test field in Dorud County of the western Lorestan province. In a statement to a local news agency, the defence minister emphasised, “Overhauling and upgrading military and defence weapons require up-to-date knowledge. The Ministry of Defence relies on domestic capabilities and to strengthen Iran’s military power.” He also announced that Iran is capable of manufacturing crucial tank upgrades domestically, which include electro-optical fire control systems, laser range finders and ballistic computer systems. The minister added that these improvements enable tanks to engage fixed and moving targets in the day as well as at night. Days prior to the minister’s visit, Deputy Commander of Ground Forces Brigadier General Amir Nozar Nemati declared, “Today, we attained self-sufficiency in the production of ultra-heavy tank transporters and ended our dependence [on foreign companies] through the efforts of faithful and specialised youth.” The developments in Iran’s tank manufacture capabilities come against the backdrop of a drawn-out period of simmering tensions with the United States.
Iranian Tank Industry
In recent years, Iran has focussed considerable energy on tank manufacture. Iranian Armed Forces operate a domestically manufactured version of the formidable T-90 tank, featuring an improved gun stabiliser and chemical warfare defence system. Late last year, the country’s Ground Forces unveiled the Kian-700 tank transporter. Capable of carrying two tanks, the transporter features a 700-horsepower engine which can shift 200 tons in weight. Another tank modernisation project that Iran has poured its efforts into is the production of 72Z tanks, which are upgraded versions of the archaic Soviet T-54, T-55 and Chinese Type 59 tanks.