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Iran test-fires new surface-to-surface missile

Text by REUTERS

Latest update : 2008-11-12

Iranians successfully test-fired a new generation of long range surface-to-surface missile, state media said. The new missile uses a two-stage combined solid fuel system and is produced domestically, Iran's defence minister said.

Iran test-fired a new generation surface-to-surface missile on Wednesday, state media said, and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad repeated once again that the Islamic Republic would crush any power acting against it.

 

Iran's latest missile test followed persistent speculation in recent months of possible U.S. or Israeli strikes against its nuclear facilities, which the West suspects form part of a covert weapons programme. Tehran denies the charge.

 

U.S. President-elect Barack Obama, like outgoing U.S. President George W. Bush, has not ruled out military action although he has criticised the Bush administration for not pushing for more diplomacy and engagement with Tehran.

 

Iran's Defence Minister Mostafa Mohammad Najjar said the Iranian-made missile named Sejil had "extremely high capabilities", had a range of close to 2,000 km (1,200 miles), and was only intended for defensive purposes.

 

"This missile test is in the framework of Iran's deterrent doctrine," the official IRNA news agency quoted him as saying, adding it had no connection with recent international events.

 

Iran's English-language Press TV said the Sejil missile had two stages, was of a type that used combined solid fuel and showed the Islamic state's capability to "defend its soil".

 

A missile was shown soaring from a platform in desert-like terrain, leaving a long vapour trail.

 

It came a day after media said the Revolutionary Guards had test-fired another missile called Samen near the Iraqi border.

 

"They do it (such tests) all the time. It's Iranian machismo," said Tim Ripley, an analyst at Jane's Defence Weekly.

 
"HONOUR"
 

Two stages could increase a missile's range, Ripley said, noting that Iran had in the past borrowed technology from North Korea although he said he could not say if that was true this time.

 

The United States accuses Iran of seeking to build atomic bombs. Iran says it only aims to generate electricity.

 

Iran has said it would respond to any attack by targeting U.S. interests and America's ally Israel, as well as closing the Strait of Hormuz, a vital route for world oil supplies.

 

It test-fired nine missiles in July, including one which reportedly could reach Israel and U.S. bases in the Middle East.

 

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who often rails against the West, told a rally in the northern province of Mazandaran that Iran would defeat its enemies.

 

"The Iranian nation defends its honour and whichever power that wants to stand against the movement of the Iranian nation, the Iranian nation will crush it under its foot and slap it on the mouth," he said in a speech broadcast live on television.

 

Last week, Iran's military said U.S. helicopters had been seen flying close to Iran's border and that it would respond to any violation, a message analysts said seemed directed at Obama more than American troops in Iraq.

 

It followed a cross-border raid last month by U.S. forces into Syria, a move that was condemned by Damascus and Tehran.

 

Date created : 2008-11-12

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