Iran Launches Shahab 3 Missile in Drill

Iran on Tuesday conducted a trial firing of its Shahab 3 ballistic missile during a wider exercise described by state news organizations as a demonstration of the nation's ability to respond to a possible strike, Agence France-Presse reported (see GSN, July 2).

A Kavir Desert location served as the destination for the missile launched by Iran's Revolutionary Guard, according to Iran's al-Alam television. The weapon is considered capable of traveling approximately 1,200 miles, placing Israel within its reach. Iran also carried out trial flights of the Shahab 1 and Shahab 2 systems, which have maximum flight distances of  roughly 190 to 310 miles, according to al-Alam.

Firing units dispersed across Iran sent "dozens" of missiles of various models toward one point in the Kavir Desert, the country's Fars News Agency reported.

"In these exercises, we used missiles with a range of 2,000 kilometers [roughly 1,200 miles], but the plan called for them to be fired only 1,300 kilometers [ roughly 810 miles]," said Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh, chief of the Revolutionary Guard's aerospace division.

Revolutionary Guard deputy chief Brig. Gen. Hossein Salami said the military maneuvers are intended "to show the determination, the will and the power of the Iranian people in defending their national interests and vital values," the Islamic Republic News Agency reported.

"It's a reaction to those who are politically discourteous to the Iranian people by saying 'all options are on the table,'" Salami said. Washington and Tel Aviv have employed such language in referring to the potential for an armed offensive against Iranian atomic installations (see related GSN story, today).

The official described the missile tests as "100 percent successful." The three-day armed forces drill is scheduled to wrap up on Wednesday, according to al-Alam (Agence France-Presse/Yahoo!News, July 3).

Iran would not "sit idly" while Washington and European governments establish a missile shield that could be directed against potential threats from the Middle Eastern nation, IRNA quoted Hajizadeh as saying. The United States and other NATO nations are pursuing such a system (see GSN, June 19).

Hajizadeh said a forthcoming Iranian ballistic missile, dubbed Arm, would be capable of identifying and striking detection facilities, the Wall Street Journal reported. NATO assets on Turkish territory, hostile vessels in the Persian Gulf and Israel's Iron Dome antimissile system would all be susceptible to the weapon, the official said (Farnaz Fassihi, Wall Street Journal, July 2).

"The radar-hitting missile has been designed and manufactured in Iran and will be test-fired soon," Hajizadeh said to Fars News on Tuesday. "The missile has a range of [186 miles] for now, which will be increased soon" (Fars News Agency, July 3).

He added Iran had finished decrypting protected data from a U.S. unmanned aerial surveillance vehicle downed over the country late last year, according to the Journal (see GSN, Dec. 16, 2011). The nation is applying the information and developing a comparable flight system, according to the official (Fassihi, Wall Street Journal).

July 3, 2012
About

Iran on Tuesday conducted a trial firing of its Shahab 3 ballistic missile during a wider exercise described by state news organizations as a demonstration of the nation's ability to respond to a possible strike, Agence France-Presse reported.

Countries