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Iran To Inaugurate Missile Projects In February

Commander Massud Jazayeri

Commander Massud Jazayeri

TEHRAN (Reuters) -- Iran will inaugurate several missile and arms projects next month to coincide with the 31st anniversary of its 1979 Islamic Revolution, a Revolutionary Guards commander said today.

Guards commander Massud Jazayeri did not say whether Iran would test-fire new missiles and gave no other details of the planned events. A missile launch would be likely to add to tension with Western powers worried by Iran's nuclear ambitions.

"Iran's Defense Ministry will inaugurate several missiles and arms projects during the Fajr (Dawn) 10-day period, marking the victory of the 1979 Islamic Revolution," he told a news conference.

New satellite projects would at the same time be unveiled by Iran's aerospace organization, he said.

Iran marks the revolution's anniversary from February 1-11, starting on the day in 1979 when the Islamic republic's founder Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini returned to Tehran from exile in France.

In mid-December, Iran said it successfully test-fired a long-range, upgraded Sejil 2 missile. At the time, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said the launch was of serious concern to the international community and underlined the case for tougher sanctions against Iran, the world's fifth-largest oil exporter.

The West fears Iran's nuclear program is aimed at making bombs. Tehran denies the charge.

Neither Israel nor the United States have ruled out military action if diplomacy fails to resolve the dispute. Iran has vowed to retaliate against any attack.

The United States and its European allies are planning to impose further sanctions on Iran after its failure to meet an effective U.S. deadline of December 31 to accept a UN-brokered proposal to send its uranium abroad for processing.

Tehran has sought amendments to the deal, under which it would transfer stocks of low-enriched uranium (LEU) abroad and receive fuel in return for a medical research reactor. Tehran says it could produce the fuel itself if it is not able to obtain it from abroad.

On January 24, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Iran would announce "good news" about Iran's nuclear fuel production in February.

The UN Security Council has imposed three rounds of sanctions on Iran since 2006.