Iran test-fires ballistic missile

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iol pic wld iran missile AFP This file photo shows ballistic missile Ghadr, the modified version of Shahab 3 for Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards.

Iran on Tuesday test-fired in its central desert a ballistic missile capable of striking Israel as part of war games designed to show its ability to retaliate if attacked, media said.

Iran's Revolutionary Guard fired the medium-range Shahab-3 missile at a mock target in the Kavir Desert on the second day of its Great Prophet 7 exercise, which is due to end on Wednesday, Iran's Al-Alam television network reported.

The Shahab-3 has a range of up to 2 000 kilometres, which means it is theoretically able to hit Israel, which is about 1 000 kilometres away.

Al-Alam said two short-range missiles, the Shahab-1 and Shahab-2, with ranges of 300 to 500 kilometres, were also launched.

The Fars news agency said “dozens of short-, medium-, and long-range missiles have been fired from different parts of Iran at a single target in Kavir.”

The ISNA news agency said the last day of the drill would see Revolutionary Guard “bomber drones” also used.

Although the Islamic republic has test-fired its Shahab missiles before, and frequently holds military manoeuvres, it says these war games are aimed at sending a message to Israel and the United States to think twice on their threats of possibly attacking Iran.

The Great Prophet 7 exercise targeted a replica military base set up in a desert and made to look like a foreign facility, similar to those the United States has in neighbouring countries such as Afghanistan.

The launch of the Shahab-3 missile coincided with the day official experts from Iran and world powers were to hold talks in Istanbul to discuss the West's push to have Tehran scale back its sensitive nuclear programme.

Israel, which is not part of the talks, and its ally the United States have both said they reserve the option of launching military action on Iran if diplomacy and sanctions fail to convince it to curb its atomic activities. - Sapa-AFP


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