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Iran unveils first domestically-built jet fighter

August 21, 2018

Military officials in Tehran unveiled the first Iranian-built fourth-generation fighter jet on Monday, in a highly-publicized show of military might targeted at the U.S. and its allies amid rising tensions between Washington and the Middle East nation.

Images of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani taking a seat in the cockpit of the new “Kowsar” jet fighter, during the National Defence Industry exhibition in Tehran, flooded state-run news television outlets across Iran. The twin-seat, dual engine jet fighter is designed to provide air-to-ground attack capabilities, in support of ground operations, Iranian officials told state-run Tasnim News Agency.

“The advanced fighter jet has been manufactured following extensive research and efforts by the Iranian Defense Ministry’s experts,” they said, noting the fighter “enjoys capabilities such as a highly integrated architecture and a fire control system using the fourth generation of the digital data networks.”

It remains unclear how soon the new fighter jet could be deployed, in support of Iranian troops or Tehran’s proxy forces scattered throughout the region. The Kowsar’s unveiling comes in the wake of several punitive foreign policy actions taken by the Trump administration against Tehran, triggered by U.S. withdrawal from the landmark nuclear deal with Iran -- dubbed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action -- in May.

Since then, Tehran has threatened Washington and its regional allies from taking further political or economic action against the Iranian regime, backing their rhetoric with military saber rattling.

Iranian warships flooded the Strait of Hormuz in July, dramatizing the regime’s ability to choke off the strategic Persian Gulf waterway and send global oil and U.S. gasoline prices soaring.

Addressing a gathering of Iranian diplomats shortly after the naval exercises in the Straits, Mr. Rouhani warned the U.S. from escalating the already tense relationship with Tehran. “Mr. Trump, don’t play with the lion’s tail, this would only lead to regret,” he said, according to the state news agency IRNA.

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