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Iran unveils ballistic missile named after Qasem Soleimani

A missile named for the powerful commander killed in a US drone strike last January was unveiled on Iranian state TV Thursday.

Iran has unveiled two new missiles, state media reported Thursday, the same day Secretary of State Mike Pompeo traveled to the United Nations to start the process of restoring international sanctions on Iran. 

The missiles, which were revealed on state television on Iran’s National Defense Industry Day, included one named after the country’s slain commander, Qasem Soleimani. Soleimani, who was the head of Iran’s elite Quds Force, was killed in a US drone strike near Baghdad International Airport last January in an event that further escalated tensions between Washington and Tehran. 

A surface-to-surface ballistic missile dubbed the “Martyr Hajj Qasem Soleimani” has an 870-mile range, state news reported. A naval cruise missile named for Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the Iraqi militia leader also killed in the strike, has a reported 620-mile range.

State-run IRNA news reported that Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Defense Minister Brig. Gen. Amir Hatami participated via video conference in the unveiling, which also included the display of a fourth-generation light turbo-fan engine for the military’s advanced drones. 

“Cruise missiles are of particular importance to us … the country is on the path of production and self-sufficiency in this field,” Rouhani said

The display of military prowess came as the United States prepares to invoke the so-called snapback provision of the Iran nuclear deal, which would return the United Nations sanctions lifted on Iran in January 2016. 

“The process to reimpose sanctions on Iran begins,” Pompeo said in a tweet Thursday afternoon, adding that he notified the Security Council “of something we all know too well — Iran's failure to meet its commitments under the terrible nuclear deal.”

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