Iran has unveiled its first domestically-built, long-range unmanned bomber.

The four-metre long plane known as Karrar or striker, was inaugurated by Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on 22 August, which is the national day for Iran’s defence industry. It is not clear what the capabilities of the new aircraft are.

Ahmadinejad inaugurated the plane live on state television saying that the goal of the jet is for defensive purposes and also to “keep the enemy paralysed in its bases”.

“The jet, as well as being an ambassador of death for the enemies of humanity, has a main message of peace and friendship,” Ahmadinejad says.

The inauguration came just one day after Iranian and Russian engineers began loading uranium fuel into Iran’s first nuclear power plant at Bushehr as Iran forges ahead with its plan to develop nuclear energy despite being under heavy sanctions.

The US imposed a further round of sanctions on Iran in June aimed at weakening Iran’s ability to finance and develop its nuclear programme. The sanctions ban the export of gas and petroleum products to Iran which is affecting operations of the country’s airlines (MEED 18:7:10).

Iran has been developing and producing its own tanks, armoured personnel carriers, missiles and torpedoes since 1992. The country began an arms development programme during its 1980-1988 war with Iraq to compensate for a US weapons embargo.