Iran unveils new fighter jet as president says US ‘knows the consequences’ of an attack on Tehran
July 18, 2020
Iran unveiled a new fighter jet as President Hassan Rouhani ratcheted up tension with the US by suggesting Washington would not attack the Islamic Republic because it was too powerful.
Iran has expanded its military presence in the region by sending troops to support President Bashar al-Assad in Syria’s civil war, but years of sanctions have reduced its air force to several dozen old aircraft.
The new Kowsar, claimed to be a domestically-built jet, was unveiled at a ceremony as Mr Rouhani said Iran should be prepared to confront its enemies.
"We should make ourselves ready to fight against the military powers who want to take over our territory and resources," he said.
"Why does the United States not attack us? Because of our power, because it knows the consequences," he said.
Iranian television footage showed clips of the aircraft taxiing and taking off. It is named after a word that appears in the Quran which means "an abundance of good," and is interpreted by some as a reference to the Prophet Mohamed’s progeny whom Shia Muslims revere.
Iran had previously unveiled in 2013 another domestically built fighter jet dubbed Qaher – vanquisher in Arabic – but there were doubts that it could even take off.
The Kowsar is capable of carrying various weapons and will be used for short aerial-support missions, according to state news agency Tasnim.
Kowsar refers to a river in paradise and is the title of a chapter in the Koran.
The ceremony on Tuesday came days after the country’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamanei also said Iran’s military prowess would deter an armed confrontation with the US, which pulled out of an international deal to curb Iran’s nuclear programme in May and reimposed sanctions.
US President Donald Trump had warned Iran not to threaten his country. Last month, he wrote on Twitter in an all cap message that Iran would "suffer consequences the likes of which few throughout history have ever suffered" if Tehran threatened the US.
He has also has offered to meet Iran’s leadership, saying "if they want to meet, that’s fine, if they don’t want to meet, I couldn’t care less," in an interview on Monday with Reuters.
Iran has rejected the offer and said the US could not be trusted.
"It’s not only us who do not trust America. Today even Europe and China do not trust them, even American allies like Canada have lost their trust."