Friday, October 2, 2009

Iran Tests Missiles

Iranian state television reported on Monday that the country's Revolutionary Guards had launched fresh missiles tests late on Sunday. The IRIB news network quoted the head of the Revolutionary Guard Air Force, General Hossein Salami, as saying that Shahab-1 and Shahab-2 missiles, with a range between 300 and 700 kilometres (186-435 miles) had been successfully fired. Salami claimed during the launch multiple warheads were applied to the Iranian mid-range missiles for the first time during the testing.

The test of the mid-range missiles was the second stage of the "Great Prophet 4" military exercises that began on Sunday and long-range missiles were expected to be tested on Monday, the IRIBB report added. Sunday evening's test follows earlier claims that Iran had tested a multiple missile launcher for the first time during an earlier test on Sunday. Both tests came days after the US and its allies condemned Tehran over a newly revealed underground nuclear facility that was being constructed in the country.

The Revolutionary Guard controls Iran's missile programme. Sunday's tests came two days after Western countries disclosed that Iran had been secretly developing a previously undeclared, underground uranium enrichment facility. The nuclear site in the mountains near the holy city of Qom is believed to be inside a heavily guarded, underground facility belonging to the Revolutionary Guard, according to a document sent by US President Barack Obama's administration to lawmakers. After strong condemnations from the US and its allies and a demand to open the site to international scrutiny, Iran said on Saturday it would allow UN nuclear inspectors to examine the site.

Nuclear experts said the details that have emerged about the site and the fact that it was being developed secretly were strong indications that Iran's nuclear programme is not only for peaceful purposes, as the country has long maintained.


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