Iran unveils upgraded military arsenal

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and other military brass were on hand when the upgraded weapons were rolled out during a commemoration ceremony for Iran's Defense Industry Day, according to reports by the state-run Islamic Republic News Agency.  

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During the ceremony, Ahmadinejad emphasized the new weapons were strictly a deterrent, to dissuade Israel and other regional powers that have openly considered taking military action against the country. 

"We do not seek it for conquest, domination of neighboring countries and the world. We do not want it because of defiance," said Ahmadinejad, according to reports. 

Tensions have flared between Iran and the rest of the international community in recent weeks amid threats of military action from Israel over Tehran's nuclear enrichment program. 

Iran maintains its nuclear work is designed for strictly peaceful purposes. However, international powers such as the United States and Israel claim Iran is seeking to build a nuclear bomb, citing the country's refusal to allow nuclear inspectors into its enrichment facilities. 

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said that Israel will not hesitate to launch a pre-emptive attack against Iran's nuclear facilities, should it become clear Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons.

But the White House and the Pentagon have attempted to dial back such rhetoric, continuing to pursue economic sanctions and diplomatic negotiations with Tehran as a way to defuse the rapidly escalating situation. 

The crown jewel in Iran's bolstered arsenal is the revamped Fateh-110 short-range missile. Iranian engineers claim to have upgraded the weapon to allow for a quicker launch and to hit targets in adverse weather conditions. 

Those upgrades have also extended the weapon's range, allowing the missile to hit any sea- or land-based target within 185 miles, according to reports out of Tehran. 

Aside from the new missile, Iranian military leaders presented a new engine system for the country's naval fleet and a new tactical unmanned drone.

Iran also plans to introduce a fleet of attack submarines, intelligence satellites and potentially an aircraft carrier as a way to exert its military control over key waterways in the Straits of Hormuz. 

In response, members of the House Armed Services Committee in March set aside millions in the chamber's version of the fiscal 2013 defense spending bill for weapons specifically designed for a potential conflict with Iran. 

The House version of the defense bill includes everything from unmanned intelligence drones and self-guided, shoulder-fired rockets to heavy machine guns mounted on U.S. warships to repel Iranian small-boat attacks.

The Iranian navy has been known to use fleets of small patrol boats to swarm larger warships steaming near the Iranian coastline.

U.S. naval forces in the Persian Gulf have already beefed up their fleet to deter any Iranian attack. 

The Navy has doubled the number of mine-hunting vessels in the region and outfitted its warships with powerful Gatling guns to counter Iran’s small, fast-moving patrol boats.