Iran tests most advanced missiles

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Qashqavi, the Foreign Ministry spokesman, identified the site as Fordo, a village located 110 miles (180 kilometers) south of the capital, Tehran. The site is 60 miles (100 kilometers) from Natanz, Iran’s known industrial-scale uranium enrichment plant.

After strong condemnations from the U.S. and its allies, Iran said Saturday it will allow U.N. nuclear inspectors to examine the site.

Israel has trumpeted the latest discoveries as proof of its long-held assertion that Iran is seeking nuclear weapons.

By U.S. estimates, Iran is one to five years away from having nuclear weapons capability, although U.S. intelligence also believes that Iranian leaders have not yet made the decision to build a weapon.

Iran also is developing ballistic missiles that could carry a nuclear warhead, but the administration said last week that it believes that effort has been slowed. That assessment paved the way for Obama’s decision to shelve the Bush administration’s plan for a missile shield in Europe, which was aimed at defending against Iranian ballistic missiles.

The Sajjil-2 missile is Iran’s most advanced two-stage surface-to-surface missile and is powered entirely by solid-fuel while the older Shahab-3 uses a combination of solid and liquid fuel in its most advanced form, which is also known as the Qadr-F1.

Solid fuel is seen as a technological breakthrough for any missile program as solid fuel increases the accuracy of missiles in reaching targets.

Experts say Sajjil-2 is more accurate than Shahab missiles and its navigation system is more advanced.

State media reported tests overnight of the Shahab-1 and Shahab-2 missiles, with ranges of 185 miles (300 kilometers) and 435 miles (700 kilometers) respectively.

That followed tests early Sunday of the short range Fateh, Tondar and Zelzal missiles, which have a range of 120 miles (193 kilometers), 93 miles (150 kilometers) and 130 miles (200 kilometers) respectively.

Iran’s last known missile tests were in May when it fired its longest-range solid-fuel missile, Sajjil-2. Tehran said the two-stage surface-to-surface missile has a range of about 1,200 miles (1,900 kilometers) — capable of striking Israel, U.S. Mideast bases and southeastern Europe.

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