The Iranian military on Monday claimed it had greatly enhanced the strike precision of its longer-range ballistic missiles, thanks to laser technology, the Associated Press reported.
"The inaccuracy of [our] ballistic long-range missiles in hitting targets is so minimal that we can pinpoint targets," Iranian Defense Minister Hossein Dehghan said in remarks carried by state television. "The accuracy of surface-to-surface missiles is now two meters, while at some stage in the past it was 200 meters. We strive to reach zero inaccuracy."
Tehran commonly makes declarations of dramatic military science breakthroughs that cannot be independently verified. However, the U.S. Defense Department in a report released earlier this summer concluded that Iran was making notable progress in improving the accuracy of its missiles.
Iran has a range of missiles, including some that can reportedly travel as far as 1,200 miles. Israel and U.S. military outposts in the Persian Gulf are well within targeting distance of some of these weapons.
The country's work on long-range ballistic missiles has been a key source of concern for Washington and a driving force behind calls by some Republicans to build an additional missile-interceptor site in the United States. However, the International Institute for Strategic Studies in a November report concluded that Tehran is unlikely to acquire an intercontinental ballistic missile "before the end of the decade."
The IISS analysis also said it was "reasonable to conclude that Iran is unlikely to move on to producing an operational intermediate-range [missile], powered by a 20- to 25-ton first-stage motor within the next five years," and "an ICBM powered by a first-stage motor in excess of 30 tons would likely require an additional five to 10 years, if not more," Defense News reported.