Image: Karrar drone aircraft
Vahid Reza Alaei  /  AP
This photo released by the Iranian Defense Ministry, reportedly shows a launch of the Karrar drone aircraft, which Iran says is the country's first domestically-built, long-range, unmanned bomber aircraft. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad Sunday called it an "ambassador of death" to Iran's enemies.
msnbc.com news services
updated 8/23/2010 7:12:44 PM ET 2010-08-23T23:12:44

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

Speaking to a group of officials, Ahmadinejad said, "The jet, as well as being an ambassador of death for the enemies of humanity, has a main message of peace and friendship."

The goal of the aircraft is to "keep the enemy paralyzed in its bases," he said, adding that the jet is for deterrence and defensive purposes.

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."

The 4-meter-long unmanned plane, dubbed the Karrar, or striker, in Farsi, was inaugurated on the national day for the country's defense industry in a ceremony aired live on state TV.

No details were provided on the craft's capabilities.

In a speech at the unveiling ceremony, Ahmadinejad said Iran should seek the ability to make pre-emptive strikes against a perceived threat, although he said it would never strike first.

"If there is an ignorant person or an egoist or a tyrant who just wanted to make an aggression, then our Defense Ministry should reach a point where it could cut off the hand of the aggressor before it decided to make an aggression," he said.

"We should reach a point when Iran would serve as a defense umbrella for all freedom-loving nations in the face of world aggressors. We don't want to attack anywhere — Iran will never decide to attack anywhere — but our revolution cannot sit idle in the face of tyranny. We can't remain indifferent."

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

Nuclear fears
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 interested only 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.

"The scope of Iran's reaction will include the entire earth," said Ahmadinejad. "We also tell you — the West — that all options are on the table."

Ahmadinejad appeared to be consciously echoing the terminology used by the U.S. 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.

Since 1992, Iran has also produced its own tanks, armored personnel carriers, missiles, torpedoes and a fighter plane. It frequently makes announcements about advances in military technology that cannot be independently verified.

Iran launched an arms development program during its 1980-88 war with Iraq to compensate for a U.S. weapons embargo.

Reuters and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Video: Iran unveils new drone

  1. Transcript of: Iran unveils new drone

    BRIAN WILLIAMS, anchor: Overseas, Iran says it has developed the first unmanned drone aircraft in its arsenal, a 13-foot-long bomber it calls an ambassador of death. Iran 's President Ahmadinejad presided over the unveiling, but US officials said that it's unlike the highly effective American Predator drone. Because of that, Iran 's aircraft flies at high speeds, cannot hover, and carries missiles that are unlikely to hit with precision. With an apparent range of about 500 miles, the drone is not said to be capable of reaching Israel . When our

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