US sounds warning on Iran missiles

Echoing statements coming out of Israel, the United States has said Iran's missile programme is a serious threat to the Middle East and US interests.

    Iran has said it can strike against any aggressor

    The US Department of State, speaking after Iran declared it had ballistic missiles with a range of 2000km and could produce ones with a greater range, said Washington would continue to work with other nations to address the concerns.

      

    "The United States has had and continues to have serious concerns about Iran's missile programmes," deputy spokesman Adam Ereli said in Washington on Tuesday.

      

    "We view Iran's efforts to further develop its missile capabilities as a threat to the region and to the United States' interests and all the more so in light of its ongoing nuclear programme," he said, repeating US allegations that Iran is actively

    seeking atomic weaponry.

     

    Conference

      

    Rafsanjani warned the US against
    attempting to attack Iran

    Tehran has denied the US charges on nuclear weapons.

     

    Earlier on Tuesday former Iranian president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani told a conference on space and stable

    national security in Tehran that Iran now had "the power to send our missiles up to 2000km". 

     

    The range puts parts of Europe within reach for the first time. Military experts had earlier placed Iran's missile range at 1300km, which would allow it to strike

    anywhere in Israel.

       

    "If the Americans attack Iran, the world will change ... they will not dare to make such a mistake," Rafsanjani said.

     

    Ability

     

     

    In recent months, Iranian officials have frequently trumpeted their ability to strike back at any aggressor, and in August announced they had successfully tested an upgraded version of the medium-range Shahab-3 missile.

     

    Iran's missiles reportedly can now
    reach Europe

    Military experts say the unmodified Shahab-3 has a range of 1300km. Shahab means meteor in Persian.

       

    While Iran has had missiles capable of reaching Israel for some time, Israeli officials said the longer 2000km range was more significant for Europe than for Israel.

       

    "We are well prepared to defend the state of Israel. The Iranians will have to think twice before using these kinds of weapons," a senior Israeli government official said.

     

    Accusation

     

    Iranian Defence Minister Ali Shamkhani in September said that a new "strategic missile" had recently been delivered to the armed forces, but did not give its range.

       

    "If the Americans attack Iran, the world will change"

    Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani,
    Iranian ex-president

    Israel has long accused Iran of working on a long-range missile, the Shahab-4, which would be able to reach Europe, but Iran denies plans to build a Shahab-4 missile.

       

    However, Tehran recently announced plans to launch its own satellite into space next year. Military experts say a satellite launch rocket could easily be adapted for military purposes.

       

    "We are very happy that our defence ministry ... will take us to the stage that we are able to use independent satellite technology in the fields of building, launching, positioning and receiving," Rafsanjani said.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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