Iran Test-Fires New Surface-to-Surface Missile

By Ali Akbar Dareini | November 12, 2008 | 5:57 AM EST
Tehran, Iran (AP) - Iran successfully test-fired a new generation of long range surface-to-surface missile using solid fuel, making them more accurate than its predecessors, the defense minister announced Wednesday.
Mostafa Mohammed Najjar said on state television that the Sajjil was a high-speed missile manufactured at the Iranian Aerospace department of the Defense Ministry. He said it had a range of about 1,200 miles (2,000 kilometers).
Solid fuel missiles are more accurate than the liquid fuel missiles of a similar range currently possessed by Iran.
The official IRNA news agency said the test was conducted Wednesday and television showed the missile being fired Wednesday from a launching pad in a desert region.
"This missile is a two-stage weapon with two combined solid-fuel engines and has an extraordinary high capability," the television quote Najjar as saying. He didn't elaborate.
Najjar said the missile was a defensive weapon and not a response to threats against Iran. He didn't name any country but Israel has recently threatened to take military action against Iran to stop Tehran from developing a nuclear bomb.
"This missile test was conducted within the framework of a defensive, deterrent strategy ... and specifically with defensive objectives," Najjar added.
Iran is known to possess a medium-range ballistic missile known as the Shahab-3, which means "shooting star" in Farsi, with a range of at least 800 miles (1,300 kilometers). In 2005, Iranian officials said they had improved the range of the Shahab-3 to 1,200 miles (2,000 kilometers).
Iran's Shahab-3 missile has been known to use liquid fuel. Missiles using liquid fuel are less accurate.
Iran launched an arms development program during its 1980-88 war with Iraq to compensate for a U.S. weapons embargo. Since 1992, Iran has produced its own tanks, armored personnel carriers, missiles and a fighter plane.
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