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Iran unveils missile silos as military exercises open

By the CNN Wire Staff
An air defense missile is displayed during the Army Day parade in Tehran on April 18.
An air defense missile is displayed during the Army Day parade in Tehran on April 18.
  • Iran airs video of the missile silos Monday
  • The silos are capable of launching long-range missiles, Iran says
  • Iran
  • Military Weapons

(CNN) -- Iran announced Monday that it has built its first ballistic missile silos, airing video of one of the facilities as it began a new round of military exercises.

The hardened, underground launch sites will allow Iranian commanders to fire missiles more quickly, Iran's state-run Press TV reported. A military statement carried by the official Islamic Republic News Agency said the silos were capable of launching long-range missiles.

The announcement came as the Islamic republic opened a new round of war games, dubbed "Great Prophet 6." Iran is expected to test-fire several types of missiles during the exercise, state news agencies reported.

Iran's development of missile and nuclear fuel technology has led to U.N. sanctions and accusations from the United States that the clerical regime is trying to develop nuclear weapons.

Iran says it has a right to peaceful nuclear technology, but the International Atomic Energy says it can't verify whether Tehran's nuclear program remains entirely peaceful.

The United States and the Soviet Union built more than 1,400 silos to protect their long-range missiles during the Cold War era.

In the Iranian statement, military spokesman Col. Asghar Ghelichkhani said the facilities were designed and built with domestic expertise.

Western observers say Iran currently has missiles capable of hitting targets up to about 1,300 kilometers (800 miles) away, a range that would cover nearly the entire Middle East and part of southeastern Europe. Iran also launched its first satellite in 2009.