Iran confirms test firing missile capable of reaching Israel

Tuesday, July 8, 2003

TEHRAN, Iran -- Iran has conducted a "final test" of its ballistic missile Shahab-3, which is capable of reaching Israel and U.S. forces stationed in Saudi Arabia and Turkey, the Foreign Ministry said Monday.

The test took place "several weeks ago," contrary to an Israeli report that it happened last week, ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi told reporters.

"Apparently, the Israelis are late in getting the information," Asefi said. "It was a final test before delivering the missile to the armed forces. The range of the missile was the same as in Iran's previous tests."

Shahab-3 has a range of about 810 miles, meaning it could reach Israel and U.S. troops stationed in Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Turkey.

The Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported the test was the most successful of seven or eight launches over the past five years.

The Shahab-3 is allegedly based on North Korea's No Dong surface-to-surface missile but Iran says it is entirely locally made. "Shahab" means shooting star in Farsi.

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