Monday, September 28, 2009

I.R. Iran Reported to Have Tested Long-Range Missiles

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The New York Times

Locked in a deepening dispute with the United States and its allies over its nuclear program, Iran was reported Monday to have test-fired long-range missiles capable of striking Israel and American bases in the Persian Gulf in what seemed a show of force. The reported tests of the Shahab-3 and Sejil missiles by the Revolutionary Guards were not the first conducted by Iran, but they came at a time of high tension, days after President Obama and the leaders of France and Britain used the disclosure of a previously secret nuclear plant in Iran to threaten Tehran with a stronger response, including harsher economic sanctions.

Iran says it wants to develop a nuclear capacity for peaceful purposes but many in the west say it is seeking to create a nuclear weapons capability. Tehran says its missile tests have been planned for some time and are not linked to the nuclear dispute. The test-firing also came days before the first direct contact in decades between the United States and Iran at international talks in Geneva, set for Thursday. The test was said to part of an effort to improve Iran’s defenses. Television footage showed a missile being launched from what appeared to be desert terrain, with a plume of flame as it shot skyward, leaving a white trail as it crossed the sky.

Press TV said the Shahab-3 missiles has a range of between 800 and 1,250 miles. Parts of western Iran lie some 650 miles from Tel Aviv. Iran’s state-run English-language Press TV said the Shahab-3 and Sejil-2 had been fired Monday as the third part of a military exercise named The Great Prophet IV which was carried out by the Revolutionary Guards. The television station said an “optimized” Shahab-3 missile has a range of 800 to 1,250 miles, while the Sejil was a two-stage missile powered by solid fuel. “Both of the projectiles accurately hit their designated targets,” Press TV said, without giving details of where the missiles landed. (Read more...)