What is called by Iran a new version of the Shahab-3 missile has been test-fired (photo, from bbc.co.uk). The missile’s range puts it within reach of Israel, state media have said.
Said to have a range of 2 000 km, the missile was one of nine launched from a remote desert site.
The Shahab-3 has been tested by Iran before, but that test comes in te middle of rising tensions with the US and Israel against Iran’s nuclear programme;
One factor pushing up world oil prices is the worries about the stand-off.
“We are ready to defend the integrity of the Iranian nation”, said Brig-Gen Hoseyn Salami, the commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards’ air force.
As part of the Great Prophet III war games being staged by the Guards, two other types of missile, with shorter ranges, were also fired.
“Our missiles are ready for shooting at any place and any time, quickly and with accuracy”, he added. “The enemy must not repeat its mistakes. The enemy targets are under surveillance.”
Target the US and its allies
This is a clear warning from Iran, said the BBC’s Jon Leyne in Tehran.
He added that it is a response to a recent military exercise by Israel, seen as a rehearsal for an attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities.
Hitting the Israeli city of Tel Aviv would be the response to any military attack, said earlier an adviser to Iran’s Supreme Leader.
If Iran comes under attack, other commanders have threatened to close the Strait of Hormuz, through which a large part of the world’s oil flows, and to target the US and its allies around the world.
Shortly before the missile test, the US Treasury announced new financial sanctions on Iranian officials, suspected of involvement in the country’s nuclear programme.
Mohsen Fakhrizadeh-Mahabadi, a senior scientist at the defence ministry, and three companies believed to be related to the arms industry, are among those targeted.
Though it says its nuclear programme is peaceful, Tehran is suspected by Western powers of seeking to produce nuclear weapons.