Iran is storing military equipment in underground tunnels, according to the commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) Aerospace Force Amir Ali Hajizadeh, the semi-official Tasnim news agency reported on Tuesday.
“Very complex tunnels have been dug deep under the ground and mountains to store ammunition, missiles, equipment and even [to protect] personnel,” Tasnim cited Hajizadeh as saying.
He said that the idea of creating “underground missile cities” was developed in 1984, when the first tunnel was dug. Since then, the construction of tunnels has been in progress “round the clock.”
The aim of the tunnels is to store missiles underground, shielding Iran’s missile capabilities from its enemies, added Hajizadeh.“We are the top missile power in the region at present, and among the seven or eight leading countries [in the missile industry] in the world,” he claimed.
Hajizadeh, who is one of the eight IRGC commanders sanctioned by the US on June 24, had also previously claimed that Iran has made “tremendous progress in the field of drones,” stating: “We are among the top five countries in the field of drones.”
The US stepped away from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal last year and has since put economic pressure on Tehran to try and force it to curb its nuclear program and restrain its missile program, as well as halting its support for proxy and terrorist organizations.
Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, along with senior Iranian officials and military commanders, has repeatedly stressed that Iran’s missile program is not up for negotiation.
In June, Khamenei stressed that Iran will not give up its missile program and insisted that “America will not be able to deprive Iran of its missile capabilities.”
The IRGC navy commander Alireza Tangsiri said last week that Iran’s missile program is developing daily and is a “red line” for negotiations.
“We will not allow our country’s defense capability to be weakened,” he said.