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September 25, 2004
Iran Distributes "Strategic" Missile To Its Troops

Iran announced earlier today that it had successfully tested a new "strategic" missile and has distributed it to its armed forces in the field, according to the AP:

Iran said Saturday it successfully tested a "strategic missile" and delivered it to its armed forces, state-run radio reported. The report did not say whether the missile was the previously announced new version of the Shahab-3 rocket, which already was capable of reaching Israel and U.S. forces stationed in the Middle East, or was a new missile.

Defense Minister Ali Shamkhani declined to give details about the missile for "security reasons," but said Iran was "ready to confront all regional and extra-regional threats," the report said.

Strategic missiles usually refer to longer-range weapons, as opposed to tactical missiles which would be used in battle conditions. The estimated range for the new missiles, according to Israeli analysts, is around 1,200 miles -- 50% better than previous Iranian technology and a range which places Israel well within Iranian targeting. Israel has responded by purchasing 5,000 smart bombs from the US, including around 500 "bunker busters" that could destroy Iran's nuclear-development facilities.

The AP has a dry and somewhat self-satirical explanation for Israel's reaction to the deployment of the new Shahab-3:

The development of the Shahab, whose name means "shooting star" in Persian, has raised fears in Israel about possible attack by the Iranian government, which strongly opposes the Jewish state's existence.

"Strongly opposes the Jewish state's existence"? Iran advocates the destruction of Israel and remains a sworn enemy of the Israelis. They fund the terror groups that attack Israeli civilians, like Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and especially Hezb' Allah. The AP makes it sound like the mullahs held a debate and took a flat-earth approach of denying that Jews live in the Middle East.

The new Iranian deployment makes clear that the mullahcracy isn't developing its technology for peaceful uses, or even for defense. The Shahab-3 threatens American forces all over Southwest Asia and promises genocide for Israelis. All they need is a nuclear warhead atop te Shahab and they will have the opportunity to drop an Islamic version of the Iron Curtain around the Persian Gulf.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at September 25, 2004 9:48 AM

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