Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (courtesy Radio Netherlands)

Iran now has ballistic missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads, according to military experts.

While Tehran denies it is trying to develop a nuclear arsenal, ballistic missile experts advising the United States say it has succeeded in reconfiguring the Shahab-3 ballistic missile to carry nuclear weapons, the London Telegraph reports.

“This is a major breakthrough for the Iranians,” said a senior U.S. official, according to the London paper. “They have been trying to do this for years and now they have succeeded. It is a very disturbing development.”

Recent test firings of the Shahab-3 by military experts show Iran has been able to modify the nose cone to carry a basic nuclear bomb, the experts conclude.

WorldNetDaily first reported one year ago that Shahab-3 ballistic missiles, capable of carrying a nuclear warhead, were being designed to destroy America’s technical infrastructure. Scientists, including President Reagan’s top science adviser, William R. Graham, said there is no other explanation for such tests than preparation for the deployment of electromagnetic pulse weapons – even one of which could knock out America’s critical electrical and technological infrastructure, effectively sending the continental U.S. back to the 19th century with a recovery time of months or years.

In December, WND reported that while the U.S. always has refused to take the military option off the table in dealing with Iran, new developments indicated Washington had gone from acknowledging the possibility of action to preparing its allies for a strike.

The Shahab-3 is an adaptation of North Korea’s Nodong missile, which Tehran secretly obtained from Pyongyang in the mid-1990s. The Nodong is based on the old Soviet-made Scud missile. Iran concluded another secret deal with North Korea in 2003 to buy the Taepo Dong 2 missile, with a range of 2,000 miles.

The United Nations Security Council last week gave Iran 30 days to freeze its uranium enrichment program, which many experts believe is tied to a clandestine attempt by Tehran to produce nuclear weapons.

U.S. defense officials believe Iran is several years from acquiring nuclear weapons, but they point out a version of Pakistan’s nuclear bomb could fit on the Shahab warhead.

Tehran is known to have acquired detailed plans of Pakistan’s weapons.

The Shahab 3, with a range of 800 miles, is capable of hitting Israel. But Iranian technicians are working on technical adjustments to further increase the range.

Teams of Russian and Chinese nuclear-weapons experts are assisting Iran, Western intelligence officials believe.

Similar to the Hiroshima bomb, the Iranian warhead is designed to carry a spherical nuclear weapon that would be detonated 2,000 feet above the ground, the Telegraph said.

Author Jerome Corsi, who warned one year ago of Iran’s intention to acquire nuclear weapons and threaten Israel and the West in his book “Atomic Iran, says Tehran is “proceeding much faster than what the world expected.”

“We knew they had designs for simple gun-type spherical bomb,” he said. “But now they’ve managed to adapt the warhead, and all they need is the bomb itself.”

In January, Tehran opened a nuclear facility in Isfahan, and analysts believe within another four to six months it may have the capability to produce its own enriched uranium.

In November, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad threatened to “wipe Israel off the map.”

“Iran has declared war on Israel whether we recognize it or not,” Corsi said.

In December, Israeli officials said then-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon had instructed the Israeli Defense Forces to prepare for a possible military strike against Iran.

As WorldNetDaily reported in January, Ahmadinejad told a crowd of theological students in Iran’s holy city of Qom that Islam must prepare to rule the world.

“We must believe in the fact that Islam is not confined to geographical borders, ethnic groups and nations. It’s a universal ideology that leads the world to justice,” Ahmadinejad said Jan. 5, according to Mehran Riazaty, a former Iran analyst for the Central Command of the Coalition Forces in Baghdad.

Ahmadinejad, who drew global attention for his contention the Holocaust was a “myth,” said: “We don’t shy away from declaring that Islam is ready to rule the world.”

Riazaty, in a post on the website Regime Change Iran, said the Iranian president emphasized his current theme that the return of the Shiite messiah, the Mahdi, is not far away, and Muslims must prepare for it.

According to Shiites, the 12th imam disappeared as a child in the year 941. When he returns, they believe, he will reign on earth for seven years, before bringing about a final judgment and the end of the world.

Ahmadinejad is urging Iranians to prepare for the coming of the Mahdi by turning the country into a mighty and advanced Islamic society and by avoiding the corruption and excesses of the West.

“We must prepare ourselves to rule the world and the only way to do that is to put forth views on the basis of the Expectation of the Return,” Ahmadinejad said. “If we work on the basis of the Expectation of the Return [of the Mahdi], all the affairs of our nation will be streamlined and the administration of the country will become easier.”

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