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Iran test fires long-range Shahab 3 missile

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Latest update : 2008-07-09

One day after an aide to Iran's Supreme Leader Khamenei issued a dire warning to the US and Israel, Tehran test fired a Shahab 3 missile with enhanced range, sufficient to put Israel within reach, Iran's state channel said.

Click here to watch our Top Story: "How far will Iran go?"

 

 

 

After a representative of the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei threatened on Tuesday to “fire upon” Tel Aviv in the event of an attack, the Tehran-based television network Al-Alam announced that the Iranian army has begun testing the long-range missile Shahab 3, which could reach Israel.

 

“We are prepared to defend the integrity of the Iranian nation”

 

Al-Alam has begun to broadcast images of nine test missiles launching, including the infamous Shahab 3. Its purported range is 2000 km, which would allow the missile to cross the distance between Iran and Israel.

 

“The point of these exercises is to show that we are prepared to defend the integrity of the Iranian nation,” said Hossein Salami – commander of the aerial unit of the Guards of the Revolution – on Al-Alam.

 

This new show of force comes at a time of high tension between Iran and the West, which has long suspected Tehran of attempting to build nuclear weaponry. Siavosh Ghazi, AFP correspondent in Tehran, told FRANCE 24 that these manoeuvres are “a way of showing that Iran is not going to give up on the nuclear issue, despite international pressure.”

 

“The two camps in one-upmanship”

 

The White House has recently condemned this attempt and has asked Iran to “abstain from new tests if they really want to earn the trust of the international community.”

 

Despite requests on the part of the international community to solve the diplomatic row, Americans and Israelis have not ruled out the use of force to stop the Iranian nuclear programme. In this context, “the two camps are engaging in one-upmanship,” says Lea Salamé, political analyst at FRANCE 24.  She adds, “Americans carried out a series of political manoeuvres in the Persian Gulf last week.”

 

The G8 leaders, meeting in Japan, have called upon Iran to “act in a more responsible manner” with respect to their neighbours and have again requested Tehran to cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency.

 

McCain’s “joke”

 

Meanwhile, as the US presidential race is gathering steam, Republican hopeful John McCain made a flippant remark about the Iranian situation. Reacting to a report on the increase of cigarette exports to Iran, McCain said, “Maybe it’s a good way to kill them.”  The Senator from Arizona, who has already sung jocularly, “bomb Iran” to a Beach Boys song, insisted it was a joke.

 

Date created : 2008-07-09

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