Wednesday, November 10, 2004

SignOnSanDiego.com > News > World -- Iran says it's capable of mass producing Shahab-3 missile

SignOnSanDiego.com > News > World -- Iran says it's capable of mass producing Shahab-3 missile: "Iran says it's capable of mass producing Shahab-3 missile

By Ali Akbar Dareini
ASSOCIATED PRESS
5:01 p.m. November 9, 2004
TEHRAN, Iran – Iran said Tuesday it can mass produce a missile capable of carrying a nuclear warhead and reaching Israel and U.S. forces in the Middle East.

"We have reached a point in the field of producing the Shahab-3 missile that we are able to mass produce," Defense Minister Ali Shamkhani told state-run television Tuesday.

Iran says it has developed the missile in response to efforts by arch-foe, Israel, to upgrade its own missile system.

Shamkani's comments about the Shahab-3 follow lengthy discussions between Britain, France and Germany over Tehran's contentious nuclear program.

The United States wants Iran dragged before the U.N. Security Council to face sanctions, claiming the Persian state is trying to build nuclear weapons. Iran denies the claims, saying instead its nuclear program is peaceful and aimed at generating energy.

The missile, whose name "Shahab" means shooting star in Farsi, has a range of about 800 miles and is capable of reaching Israel and various U.S. military bases in the region.

Iran last successfully tested the medium-range missile in 2002 before equipping its elite Revolutionary Guards with it in July 2003.

In August, Iran tested a new version of the Shahab-3. Shamkhani said at the time that Iran was trying to improve the range and accuracy of the missile in response to efforts by Israel to upgrade its missile system.

Last month, former president Hashemi Rafsanjani said Iran's missiles now have a range of more than 1,200 miles, a substantial extension of their previously declared range.

Shamkhani didn't say Tuesday which type of Shahab-3 Iran was able to mass produce, but said Iran was able to meet all its armed force's needs.

Shamkhani, however, rejected reports that Iran was seeking to produce a long-range Shahab-4 with a range of more than 2,500 miles.

Israel and the United States have jointly developed the Arrow anti-ballistic missile system in response to Shahab-3's threat. "

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