Iran's revolutionary guards were to test
fire a 'strategic missile' Saturday following the launch of new
surface-to-surface and surface-to-air missiles Friday, a senior IRGC
commander said, IRNA reported from Zanjan.
The new missile will be test fired during war games being held on
a vast swath of land in the western provinces of Zanjan, Hamedan and
Kurdestan, the spokesman of the "Ashura 5" maneuvers, Hossein Salami
"With the induction and launch of this missile, the scope of the
Ashura 5 maneuvers will practically increase several folds," he
The IRGC will publish soon further information about the missile,
The Ashura 5 war games are being held over an area, estimated at
60,000 square kilometers with the participation of 12 infantry and
The maneuvers are aimed at 'boosting the combat capability of the
forces and bolstering their defensive morale as well as assessing and
testing advanced equipment'.
Iran is fresh from the successful test of an upgraded version of
its Shahab-3 medium-range ballistic missile last month.
Defense Minister Ali Shamkhani said earlier this month that
"given that an effective deterrent policy does not halt at a certain
point, the Islamic Republic of Iran continues upgrading its defensive
"Being powerful does not necessarily means war-mongering, neither
do the roads of peace lead to concession," Shamkhani added.
Shamkhani said Iran has now acquired an 'effective deterrent
power' to confront its enemies in the region.
"Today by relying on our defense industry capabilities, we have
been able to increase our deterrent capacity against the military
expansion of regional enemies," he said.
Military experts have said the Shahab-3 missile is capable of
striking Israel or any other enemy target in the region.
The test came as Israel's Arrow missile defense system, designed
to counter threats such as the Shahab-3, passed its first live test in
July by downing a Scud missile off the coast of California.
The Arrow-2 missile system, however, failed to destroy the
detachable warhead of an incoming missile fired by a US Air Force
aircraft in a test off the coast of California.
News agencies said an advanced Israeli spy satellite meant to
boost Israel's surveillance over Iran plunged into the sea
after a malfunction on liftoff.
Reuters said the Israeli Defense Ministry had blamed a failure in
the third stage of the rocket launch for the loss of the dlrs 50
million Ofek-6 satellite.
Ofek-6 -- the latest in an Israeli line of spy satellites first
put into orbit in 1988 -- was destroyed when it crashed into the
Mediterranean Sea, the news agency said.
Reuters quoted Ephrain Sneh, head of the parliamentary defense
subcommittee as saying that 'the damage in terms of intelligence,
financing, and prestige caused by the botched launch are
The crash is seen a major setback to Israel's attempts to upgrade
methods of gathering intelligence on Iran.
Iran has stressed that its missile program is defensive, while
Iranian military commanders have warned of grave consequences if
Israel attacks the country.
Tehran, however, has repudiated US Defense Secretary Donald H.
Rumsfeld's allegations that Iran may be working to develop missiles
capable of reaching the United States.
Rumsfeld has named Iran among countries which were allegedly
working to develop and deploy missiles capable of reaching the United
Tensions have been heightened by the US campaign to organize
international pressure on Iran to halt its nuclear program, which
Tehran says is strictly peaceful.
Iran says the program is in accordance with the country's bid to
produce 7,000 megawatts of electricity in the next 20 years, when the
country's oil and gas reserves become overstretched.
The United States, however, claims that Tehran's nuclear program
is a prelude to building an atomic bomb.
... Payvand News - 9/18/04 ... --