Iran has successfully tested a ballistic missile that has a potential range of 1,200 miles. State media on Thursday said officials had launched the huge missile from an undisclosed location.
The TV broadcast showed a few seconds of footage that claimed to show an upgraded version of Iran‘s Khoramshahr 4 ballistic missile. It has a 1,243-mile range and can carry a 3,300lb warhead.
According to IRNA, the new liquid-fuel missile has been named the “Kheibar”. It is said to be a reference to a castle that was inhabited by Jewish tribes until it was overrung by Muslim warriors in 628, reports the Daily Mail.
The launch is said to have come just two days after the chief of Israel‘s armed forces hinted at the prospect of “action” against officials in Tehran. Fears have been growing about Iran’s nuclear programme.
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Iran believes the missile could be able to reach Israel or the United States of America. And, despite U.S. and European opposition, the Islamic Republic has said it will further develop its “defensive” missile programme.
Iranian Defence Minister Mohammadreza Ashtiani said: “Our message to Iran’s enemies is that we will defend the country and its achievements. Our message to our friends is that we want to help regional stability.”
IRNA added: “The domestically built Kheibar missile’s outstanding features include quick preparation and launch time, which makes it a tactical weapon in addition to a strategic one.”
US State Department spokesman Matthew Millar suggested Iran was looking for missile technology from foreign suppliers in contravention of a UN Security Council resolution.
He said: “Iran’s development and proliferation of ballistic missiles poses a serious threat to regional and international security and remains a significant non-proliferation challenge.”
Israel, which the Islamic Republic does not recognise, sees Iran as an existential threat. Iran meanwhile says missiles are an important deterrent and retaliatory force against the United States, Israel and other potential regional adversaries.
On Tuesday, the top Israeli general mooted possible military action against Iran as efforts by six world powers to revive Tehran’s 2015 nuclear deal have stalled since last September, amid growing Western fears about Tehran’s accelerating nuclear advances.
A deal to impose curbs on Iran’s nuclear activities was ditched in former President Donald Trump in 2018. Iran however denied seeking nuclear weapons.