Last Updated: Sun Oct 17, 2010 00:10 am (KSA) 21:10 pm (GMT)

Iran launches four home-made submarines

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad getting into a Iranian submarine in 2008 (File)
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad getting into a Iranian submarine in 2008 (File)

Iran showed off four new domestically made small submarines on Sunday that Tehran said would bolster its defense capability as it vows to confront any military threat from countries opposed to its nuclear program.

State-run Press TV showed the submarines sailing from an Iranian port. Iran's fleet of the 120-tonne Ghadir-class vessels, first produced in 2007, now numbered 11, it said.

They have "excellent shallow depth performance, and can carry out long-term coastal missions", Press TV said.

 With the mass production of this submarine alongside various guided-missile launchers the country's defensive production chain is complete 
Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi

"With the mass production of this submarine alongside various guided-missile launchers the country's defensive production chain is complete," Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi said.

"These capabilities will be used to serve peace, stability and security in the Persian Gulf region and the Sea of Oman."

The launch of the new submarines comes as Iranian officials deliver daily messages of defiance to the potential threat of a strike by Israel or the United States against the nuclear program Tehran says is entirely peaceful.

Iran has said it could close the Strait of Hormuz -- the gateway to the Gulf through which 40 percent of the world's traded oil travels -- if it comes under attack.

Press TV said Iran also has three Russian-built Kilo class submarines and operates another homemade 500-tonne submarine in its patrol missions in the Gulf.

A chief banker advises Iran to cut imports to defeat sanctions

 Reducing the consumption of imported goods means confronting the sanctions. There is no other way 
Mahmoud Bahmani, chief banker

Iran has to cut imports to overcome the latest round of economic sanctions world powers slapped on the Islamic republic over its nuclear drive, the country's central bank chief said on Sunday.

"Reducing the consumption of imported goods means confronting the sanctions. There is no other way," Mahmoud Bahmani told a news conference.

"Sanctions are happening and we should not be scared or frightened. We should convert the sanctions into opportunities."

The U.N. Security Council hit Iran with a fourth set of sanctions on June 9 over its nuclear program. The United States and European Union have since imposed even tougher punitive measures of their own.

Bahmani insisted the way to thwart the effect of the sanctions -- which target Iran's banking, financial and energy sectors -- was to cut down on imports.

"We need to decrease imports. We should not allow all goods to enter the country," the central bank governor said, adding Iran must produce most of the goods itself and also raise taxes on inbound luxury items.

Iran's imports for the year to March 2010 totalled about 55 billion dollars, the state news agency IRNA reported, citing economic ministry figures.

Bahmani also advocated reducing domestic consumption of gasoline, a petroleum targeted by the unilateral US sanctions.

Iran, OPEC's second largest exporter of oil, depends significantly on imported gasoline to meet its domestic requirements due to a lack of refining capacity.

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had called earlier on Sunday for similar action, saying Iran must lift its production levels to a "global scale" in order to "inflict a blow" on world powers.

The hardliner particularly dismissed the "pitiable" European nations, saying Iran's economy was not dependent on them, according to ISNA news agency.

 They don't know anything about Iran... Iran's economy is worth 900 billion dollars and our (trade) exchange with Europe is less than 24 billion dollars. Nothing will happen due to their sanctions 
President of Iran, Ahmadinejad

"They don't know anything about Iran... Iran's economy is worth 900 billion dollars and our (trade) exchange with Europe is less than 24 billion dollars. Nothing will happen due to their sanctions," Ahmadinejad said.

The Iranian president added that even if the sanctions do impact on Iran, that would only be felt in the "next five to 10 years and not during Obama's term."

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