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Iranian general boasts of missile progress

TEHRAN, Iran -- Iran's defense minister claimed Saturday that the country's missile progress shows that United Nations' sanctions are ineffective and won't stop Tehran's defense programs.

The statement by Gen. Ahmad Vahidi comes during 10 days of war games in Iran's latest show of military might and displays what Tehran claims is growing self-sufficiency in military and other technologies.

Vahidi said Iran's missile program is "indigenous" and has no reliance on foreign countries to meet its defense requirements. Iran is under four sets of UN sanctions over its refusal to halt uranium enrichment, a technology that can be used to produce nuclear fuel or atomic weapons.

Last week, Iran unveiled underground missile silos for the first time, making Iran's arsenal less vulnerable to any possible attack.

Iran's Revolutionary Guard, the country's most powerful military force, said the Islamic Republic has the ability to produce missiles with a greater range than those currently in its arsenal, but doesn't need to do so.

The upgraded version of Iran's Shahab-3 and Sajjil-2 missiles already can travel up to 1,240 miles -- putting Israel, U.S. bases in the Gulf region and parts of Europe within reach.

"The war games . . . show Iran's great capability in designing, producing and using various kinds of missiles based on domestic knowledge. This showed that the sanctions imposed had no effect on Iran's missile program," Vahidi said in comments posted on sepahnews.com, the Guard's official website.

Iran has periodically boasted of what it calls homegrown advances in technological sectors such as its satellite program and other scientific work.

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