The Haaretz daily on Thursday quoted Major General Amos Yadlin, Israel's military intelligence chief, as saying that the missiles, bought from North Korea, have a range of 2,500km and are capable of carrying nuclear warheads.

Yadlin has warned of the new Iranian missiles in several recent interviews to the media.

Iran has missiles capable of reaching Israel, but the BM-25 missiles are an upgrade over its top missiles, the Shihab-4 and Shihab-3.

Other Israeli security officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because they are not authorised to speak to the media, said the new missiles would put eastern and parts of central Europe within firing range, including the Czech Republic, Italy and Romania.

The threat of missiles spurred Israel to develop its Arrow 2 anti-ballistic missile system, which can intercept the Iranian missiles.

Israeli concerns have been heightened in recent months by calls of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Iranian president, to wipe Israel "off the map".

Iranian claims

Iran has also tested several long-range missiles in recent weeks, including a "top secret" missile capable of being fired from military helicopters and jet fighters, the Iranian state-run television said.

Iran also tested the Fajr-3, a missile it said can avoid radar and hit several targets simultaneously using multiple warheads.

Iran also has tested what it calls two new torpedoes.

American intelligence officials have said that Iran is at an advanced stage of developing a missile that can carry a nuclear warhead.

The United States has informed the International Atomic Energy Agency of the details of the Iranian missile programme.