Sneh: Iranian missile threatens Moscow

Teheran announces new "Ashoura" rocket with 2,000-km. range that can reach Israel, US bases.

iran shihab missile 298 (photo credit: AP [file])
iran shihab missile 298
(photo credit: AP [file])
Iran's new ballistic missile not only increases the threat against Israel, but against European cities as well, including Moscow, MK Ephraim Sneh (Labor) said on Tuesday. "It is time the world opened its eyes," Army Radio quoted him as saying. Iranian Defense Minister Gen. Mostafa Muhammad-Najjar announced on Tuesday that his country had developed a new ballistic missile with a range of 2,000 kilometers, capable of reaching Israel and US Army bases in the Middle East. According to the country's IRNA news agency, Najjar said the missile was named the "Ashoura," meaning "the tenth day" in Farsi - a sacred reference among Shi'ite Muslims to the martyrdom of the third imam. The Iranian defense minister said that "the production of the new missile was one of the Defense Ministry's greatest achievements." Najjar did not specify how the Ashoura was different from the Shihab-3 missile, which is currently considered the country's longest-range missile. The Ashoura was produced by factories affiliated with the ministry, according to IRNA. Najjar did not say whether Iran had test fired the missile or had plans to do so. Analysts believe much of Iran's military production has benefited from assistance from Russia, China and other countries, but many of their weapons development claims have not been independently verified. Iran launched an arms development program during its war with Iraq to compensate for a US weapons embargo. Since 1992, Iran has reportedly produced its own jets, torpedoes, radar-avoiding missiles, tanks and armored personnel carriers. Recent weapons development has been motivated by Iran's standoff with the US over its controversial nuclear program. The Shihab-3, which means "shooting star" in Farsi, has a range of at least 1,300 kilometers. In 2005, Iranian officials said they had improved the range of the Shihab-3 to 2,000 kilometers, equal to the new missile announced Tuesday. Experts also believe Iran is developing the Shihab-4 missile, thought to have a range between 2,000 and 3,000 kilometers, that would enable it to hit much of Europe.