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Iran missile test alarms Israel - BBC, UK

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  • Zafar Khan
    Iran missile test alarms Israel http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/3051418.stm Israel has said it is very concerned after Iran confirmed it had
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 7, 2003
      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.

      International demands

      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
      mutual trust."

      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
      the charges.

      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
      personnel vehicles.

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