“This strategic missile was successfully test-fired during military exercises by the Revolutionary Guards and delivered to the armed forces,” Defense Minister Ali Shamkhani was quoted as saying. The exercises were held September 12–18.
The range of the new missile is 2,000 kilometers (1,250 miles). “Experts know that a country that possesses this can obtain subsequent stages” in missile production, former President Hashemi Rafsanjani said.
The announcement in Tehran came amid a war of words between Iran and Israel at the end of September, as Iran faces increasing international pressure over its nuclear energy program. The United States—which once labeled Iran part of an “axis of evil” with North Korea and prewar Iraq—and other nations suspect Iran is developing atomic weapons.
The United Nations atomic watchdog agency, the International Atomic Energy Agency, has demanded that Iran freeze its uranium enrichment program—a demand that Iran has termed “illegal” but has not rejected outright. Iranian officials have repeatedly said that the country’s nuclear program is a peaceful one.
Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom said Iran is a worldwide threat whose missiles can reach London, Paris, and southern Russia. Earlier this month, Israel said it was buying from the U.S. about 5,000 smart bombs, including 500 1-ton bunker-busters, which can destroy 6-foot-thick concrete walls.
Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi has warned that Tehran will react “most severely” to any Israeli strike against its nuclear facilities.
Excerpted from an article by the Associated Press
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