Iran said today it has successfully test-fired a long-range “strategic missile” and delivered it to its armed forces, saying it is now prepared to deal with any regional threats and even the “big powers.”
Iran’s new missiles can reach London, Paris, Berlin and southern Russia, according to weapons and intelligence analysts.
“This strategic missile was successfully test-fired during (the recent) military exercises by the Revolutionary Guards and delivered to the armed forces,” Defense Minister Ali Shamkhani was quoted by the state-run radio as saying.
The missile is believed by intelligence analysts to be an updated version of the Shahab-3, improved with the help of the North Koreans.
The news comes shortly after Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards staged military maneuvers near the border with Iraq, seen as a signal to Washington Tehran is prepared to fight back against any attempts to prevent the development of a nuclear reactor that could be used to make weapons-grade plutonium.
The radio said Shamkhani refused to give details about the missile for “security reasons,” but said Iran was “ready to confront all regional and extra-regional threats.”
Shamkhani last month said Iran was working on improvements to the range and accuracy of the Shahab-3 in response to Israel’s moves to boost its anti-missile capability.
Today’s announcement came days after Israel said it was buying from the United States about 5,000 smart bombs, including 500 one-ton bunker-busters that can destroy 6-feet-thick concrete walls.
Analysts say such bombs could be used to destroy Iran’s nuclear reactor before it goes online. In 1981, Israel bombed Iraq’s nuclear reactor before it went “hot.” Iran may be only weeks or months away from activating the reactor.
The 2,000 pound “bunker-buster” bombs are part of one of the largest weapons deals between Israel and the U.S. in years. The bombs include airborne versions, guidance units, training bombs and detonators. They are guided by an existing Israeli satellite used by the military.
In addition to the 500 one-ton bunker-busters, the purchase includes 2,500 other one-ton bombs, 1,000 half-ton bombs and 500 quarter-ton bombs. Funding will come from U.S. military aid to Israel.
On Tuesday, Iran defied the International Atomic Energy Agency by announcing it is producing uranium hexafluoride, the material for centrifuge enrichment.
Kurtis Cooper, a U.S. State Department spokesman, declared: “Although Iran has repeatedly asserted that its nuclear program is exclusively for peaceful purposes and its pursuit of uranium enrichment technologies are to fuel a planned civilian power program, Iran will have no peaceful use for enriched uranium for many, many years. … The rush to convert 37 tons of yellowcake into feed-stock for centrifuge enrichment has no peaceful justification. … Thirty-seven tons of yellowcake is not a test. It is a production run.”