0123 GMT February 21, 2019
“The manufacture of the all-Iranian Kowsar fighter jet in cooperation with the Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force (IRIAF) is the culmination of the performance of Iran in the defense industry,” Defense Minister Brigadier General Hatami said, addressing a ceremony held to inaugurate the mass production line.
“Soon the needed number of this plane will be produced and put at the service of the Air Force,” he added, Tasnim News Agency reported.
Kowsar was first unveiled on August 28 in a ceremony attended by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.
Speaking at an industrial complex in the Isfahan province, Hatami added that the “fourth-generation fighter, with advanced maneuvering capability and multi-purpose radar would be ready for use by the entire Iranian Air Force soon.”
Capable of carrying various weapons, the aircraft is used for short aerial support missions.
The advanced fighter jet has been manufactured following extensive research and efforts by the Iranian Defense Ministry’s experts.
Hatami said the production line highlighted the capabilities of Iranian experts despite “sanctions by enemies.”
The event came a day after the United States said it would reintroduce wide-reaching sanctions targeting Iran's oil sales and banking sector from Monday.
The measures will be the second round of sanctions implemented by the US since Trump's decision in May to withdraw from a 2015 landmark nuclear accord between Tehran and world powers.
Iranian military experts and technicians have in recent years made great headways in manufacturing a broad range of indigenous equipment, making the armed forces self-sufficient in the arms sphere.
Iran has repeatedly underscored that the country will not hesitate to strengthen its military capabilities, including its missile power, which are entirely meant for defense, and that Iran’s defense capabilities will be never subject to negotiations.