‘Iran outdoes N. Korea's long-range missile development'

Uzi Rubin says Tehran's new ballistic missile Fateh-110 that has been converted to be used against ships is "a significant breakthrough."

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July 15, 2011 03:12
2 minute read.
Iranian surface to surface missile [file]

Iran missile launch 521. (photo credit: REUTERS/Stringer Iran)

 
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Iran has overtaken North Korea in the development of long-range sophisticated missiles, as demonstrated by the recent launch of a number of new missiles during military maneuvers in Iran, Uzi Rubin, the former head of Israel’s Homa Missile Defense Agency, said on Thursday.

According to Rubin, during the Great Prophet War Games held earlier this month, Iran displayed a new ballistic missile that has been converted to be used against ships. This is considered a significant breakthrough since most anti-ship missiles are cruise missiles that fly parallel to the water’s surface while this missile takes a ballistic course toward its target.

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“This is a direct threat on the US Navy along Iran’s coast,” Rubin said. “The Iranians took a Fateh-110 rocket, which is also in Hezbollah hands, installed on it a guidance system and turned it into an anti-ship missile.”

Rubin’s remarks came ahead of a missile defense conference later this month near Tel Aviv, which will be attended by senior defense officials from around the world, including US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Space and Defense Policy Frank Rose, US Missile Defense Agency Deputy Director for International Affairs Rob Helfant and the deputy defense minister of the Czech Republic.

“The Iranian’s missile program is running ahead and the moment they have a nuclear weapon, they will have the means to launch it,” Rubin said.

Earlier this week, diplomatic sources warned that Iran was preparing to install centrifuges for higher-grade uranium enrichment in an underground bunker.

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Preparatory work is under way at the Fordow facility, tucked deep inside a mountain to protect it against any attacks, and machines used to refine uranium could soon be moved to the site near Qom, the sources said.

The Islamic republic said in June it would shift production of uranium that is enriched to 20 percent purity to Fordow from its main Natanz plant this year and triple its output capacity, in a defiant response to charges that it is trying to make atomic bombs.

Tehran only disclosed the existence of Fordow two years ago after Western intelligence detected it and said it was evidence of covert nuclear activities.

The facility has yet to start operating.

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