'Rocket doesn't signify higher threat'

Defense industry official says Teheran's launch of rocket into space does not concern Israel.

iRANIAN saifr rocket 248.88 (photo credit: AP [file])
iRANIAN saifr rocket 248.88
(photo credit: AP [file])
Iran's announcement Sunday that it sent a rocket into space does not signify an increased threat to Israel, a former senior defense industry official and missile expert told The Jerusalem Post on Monday. Israel is already within range of the Shihab-3 missile (1,300 kilometers), which is operational, the source said, while a new Shihab-type missile was being developed with a 2,000-kilometer range. From Israel's standpoint, once it came within range of the Shihab-3, Iran's efforts to continue to increase its missile ranges were irrelevant, the expert said. The real threat lay with the ongoing nuclear program, which requires Israel to take action in the coming years, he added. The expert said a smokescreen of rhetoric covered up the true status of Iran's missile and nuclear advances, but warned that there could be no doubt that Iran was making progress. He said getting a rocket into space was an impressive feat, adding that it marked a milestone along the path to mastering complex ballistic missile technology which many countries do not currently possess. But much of what the world is hearing from Iran in the field of missile developments is a bluff, the expert said, describing the latest satellite launch as being part of the Islamic Republic's propaganda campaign. "The satellite launch is not a major breakthrough - we do not have to be shocked or very worried. The problem is their advance in the nuclear program. We cannot let them go on advancing," the source warned. He explained that Iran's satellite launch used a three-stage rocket, with first stage consisting of a Shihab-3 engine and the last stage being the release of the satellite. "This shows they are investing technological resources, and that is what should worry us," he said. "They have many engineers educated in the US and UK, and they are constantly developing their technology."