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Iran's president unveils long-range missile defense system, says 'talks are useless'

The mobile Bavar-373 system, described as a competitor to the Russian S-300 missile system, can detect targets at more than 190 miles, officials said.
Image: Iran-made Bavar-373 air-defense missile system is seen after being unveiled by President Hassan Rouhani, Iran
Iran-made Bavar-373 air-defense missile system was unveiled by President Hassan Rouhani on Thursday.Iranian Presidency Office / AFP - Getty Images

Iran's president struck a muscular tone on dealings with the U.S., saying Thursday that "talks are useless" at a time of rising tension with the United States.

President Hassan Rouhani made the comment in a speech in Tehran during the unveiling of the Bavar-373, a long-range surface-to-air missile system that he described as an improvement to the Russian S-300.

"Now that our enemies do not accept logic, we cannot respond with logic," Rouhani said in the televised speech.

Iran shot down a U.S. military surveillance drone in the Gulf with a surface-to-air missile in June. It said the drone was over its territory, but the United States said it was in international airspace.

State television showed Rouhani attending an unveiling ceremony for the mobile missile-defense system.

"With this long-range air defense system, we can detect ... targets or planes at more than 300 km (190 miles), lock it at about 250 km, and destroy it at 200 km," Defense Minister Amir Hatami told state television.

The system's unveiling came on Iran's National Defense Industry Day. Iran has developed a large domestic arms industry in the face of international sanctions and embargoes that have barred it from importing many weapons.

Western military analysts say Iran often exaggerates its weapons capabilities, though concerns about its long-range ballistic missile program contributed to Washington last year leaving the pact that Iran sealed with world powers in 2015 to rein in its nuclear ambitions in exchange for an easing of economic sanctions.

On Tuesday, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned at a U.N. Security Council meeting that, under the Iran nuclear deal, a United Nations arms embargo on Iran was due to expire in October 2020.