Before Talks With U.S., Iran Tests Missiles That Could Reach Israel

By Yossi Melman (Haaretz)

Published September 28, 2009.
  • Print
  • Share Share

Two days before the opening of talks between Iranian and U.S. officials, the Islamic Republic went ahead with a test launch of long-range missiles capable of reaching Israel.

The talks, described by analysts as “a last chance” before the application of harsh sanctions against Iran, will open in Geneva on Thursday. In the discussions, Iranian officials will meet with representatives of the five permanent members of the UN plus Germany.

Iran test-fired its Shahab-3 missile, which puts Israel within reach along with Saudi Arabia and U.S. Army bases in the Gulf. Defense Minister Ehud Barak is scheduled to meet Tuesday with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown to discuss the Iranian nuclear issue.

The two will meet at Brighton, where Britain’s Labor Party is holding a conference. Barak will meet British Foreign Secretary David Miliband Wednesday for a talk on the same subject.

The successful launch of the Shahab-3, which the military said has a range of 2,000 kilometers, came on the second day of war games led by the Revolutionary Guards.

The Foreign Ministry denied any link between the missile tests and the October 1 nuclear talks in Geneva. The war games had been scheduled many months ago, but were seen in the West as an act of defiance, especially in light of the recent exposure by the United States of a facility for the enrichment of uranium which the Iranians are said to have set up in Qom.

Iran has refused UN demands to suspend uranium enrichment, which the United States and some of its allies allege is aimed at developing weapons. The United States, Britain and France said last week Iran secretly built a second plant for enriching uranium in violation of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Iran’s construction of the underground facility at Qom may prompt additional economic sanctions, including restrictions on banking and oil-and-gas technology, U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates told CNN Monday.

The UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency said it was informed by Iran on September 21 that a new pilot fuel-enrichment plant was under construction.

Iran’s test firings during the war games are “deeply destabilizing,” the French Foreign Ministry said in a news conference broadcast online. “We’re calling on Iran to choose the way of cooperation and not that of confrontation,” the ministry said.

The Shahab-1 and Shahab-2 missiles, which can travel 300 to 700 kilometers, were launched late Monday, General Hossein Salami, head of the air force, told Press TV.

The Federation of American Scientists says the Shahab-3 only has a range of 1,290 kilometers, though the Shahab-4 is capable of 2,000 kilometers. In May, Iran launched a Sejil-2 missile, which it said has a range of 2,000 kilometers.

The latest maneuvers are a routine operation to assess the country’s military ability, the government in Tehran said. The exercise, called Prophet IV, is aimed at “practicing management of long-term preventive and defensive operations,” Salami said on the Guards’ Web site.

The maneuvers coincide with the start of Iran’s “Sacred Defense” week, marking the eight-year war with neighboring Iraq that ended in 1988.






Find us on Facebook!
  • According to Israeli professor Mordechai Kedar, “the only thing that can deter terrorists, like those who kidnapped the children and killed them, is the knowledge that their sister or their mother will be raped."
  • Why does ultra-Orthodox group Agudath Israel of America receive its largest donation from the majority owners of Walmart? Find out here: http://jd.fo/q4XfI
  • Woody Allen on the situation in #Gaza: It's “a terrible, tragic thing. Innocent lives are lost left and right, and it’s a horrible situation that eventually has to right itself.”
  • "Mark your calendars: It was on Sunday, July 20, that the momentum turned against Israel." J.J. Goldberg's latest analysis on Israel's ground operation in Gaza:
  • What do you think?
  • "To everyone who is reading this article and saying, “Yes, but… Hamas,” I would ask you to just stop with the “buts.” Take a single moment and allow yourself to feel this tremendous loss. Lay down your arms and grieve for the children of Gaza."
  • Professor Dan Markel, 41 years old, was found shot and killed in his Tallahassee home on Friday. Jay Michaelson can't explain the death, just grieve for it.
  • Employees complained that the food they received to end the daily fast during the holy month of Ramadan was not enough (no non-kosher food is allowed in the plant). The next day, they were dismissed.
  • Why are peace activists getting beat up in Tel Aviv? http://jd.fo/s4YsG
  • Backstreet's...not back.
  • Before there was 'Homeland,' there was 'Prisoners of War.' And before there was Claire Danes, there was Adi Ezroni. Share this with 'Homeland' fans!
  • BREAKING: Was an Israeli soldier just kidnapped in Gaza? Hamas' military wing says yes.
  • What's a "telegenically dead" Palestinian?
  • 13 Israeli soldiers die in Gaza — the deadliest day for the IDF in decades. So much for 'precision' strikes and easy exit strategies.
  • What do a Southern staple like okra and an Israeli favorite like tahini have in common? New Orleans chef Alon Shaya brings sabra tastes to the Big Easy.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.