Iran missile test alarms Israel - BBC, UK
- Iran missile test alarms Israel
Israel has said it is "very concerned" after Iran
confirmed it had conducted a final test of a missile
capable of hitting its territory.
"We are very concerned, especially since we know that
Iran is seeking to acquire the nuclear weapon,"
government spokesman Avi Pazner told AFP.
Iran has denied accusations by Israel and the United
States that it is trying to develop nuclear weapons,
and insists its missile programme is purely meant as a
The head of the United Nations nuclear watchdog,
Mohamed ElBaradei, is due to visit Tehran this week to
seek clarification of Iran's nuclear programme.
The Shahab-3 ballistic missile test took place
"several weeks ago," foreign ministry spokesman Hamid
Reza Asefi told reporters.
The surface-to-surface missile, first tested in 1998,
has a range of 1,300 kilometres (800 miles).
The test was the final one before the missile is
handed over for operation by the country's army, Mr
Asefi said, giving no further information.
The Shahab-3 could also reach eastern Turkey and
Mr ElBaradei is due to arrive in Tehran on Wednesday.
As head of the Vienna-based International Atomic
Energy Agency (IAEA), he is expected to renew his call
for Iran to sign up to more intrusive inspections of
its nuclear power facilities.
Iran has so far refused to agree to tougher
inspections, insisting it is only interested in atomic
energy for production of electricity.
"There is no 'have-to' involved," said Mr Asefi.
"We hope that in negotiations with Mr ElBaradei, the
two sides can cover subjects that allow us to build
Military analysts say the Shahab-3 missile is based on
North Korea's No Dong surface-to-surface missile but
Iran says it is entirely locally made.
The US last week imposed sanctions on five Chinese
firms and a North Korean company for allegedly selling
weapons technology to Iran. The companies have denied
In Farsi, Shahab means "meteor" or "shooting star".
Iran launched an arms development programme after its
1980-88 war with Iraq, following a US weapons embargo.
Since 1992, Iran has announced the production of
missiles, a fighter plane, tanks and armoured
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