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Terrorism & Security

Iran test fires 14 missiles capable of reaching Israeli, US targets

The missile launch kicked off 10 days of war games. Iran also unveiled underground ballistic missile silos that the West suspects are for launching nuclear warheads.

By Staff writer / June 28, 2011

In this photo, Iranian revolutionary Guards personnel, foreground, watch the launch of a Zelzal missile during military maneuvers outside the city of Qom, Iran, Tuesday, June 28, 2011. A senior Iranian Revolutionary Guard commander claimed on Tuesday that his country has the ability to produce even longer range missiles than those currently in its arsenal.

Raouf Mohseni/Mehr News Agency/AP


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Iran fired 14 missiles and unveiled underground ballistic missile silos today, kicking off a series of war games over the next 10 days. Some of the missiles, launched today, have a range of more than 1,200 miles – enough to reach Israel and American installations in the region, Iranian PressTV reports.

Longer-range missiles are not likely to be built because all of Iran's desired targets are already in reach with its current missiles, said Brig. Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh, commander of the Revolutionary Guards' aerospace division.

“We possess the technology to build missiles with longer ranges but we do not need missiles with a range of more than 2,000 kilometers and we do not intend to produce them,” Mr. Hajizadeh said from the sidelines of the drills, which are known as Great Prophet 6. “Iran's missiles have a range of up to 2,000 kilometers and have been designed for US and the Zionist regime [Israel]'s bases in the region."

The war games demonstrate Iran's emerging capabilities amid a nuclear stand-off with the West, which is concerned that the Islamic republic is developing nuclear weapons under the guise of a civilian nuclear power program. Iran denies such allegations, insisting its nuclear program is solely for energy purposes.

Hajizadeh attempted to reassure other countries that Iran posed no threat, adding that the US and Israel were only targets because they threatened Iran. Reuters reported that Hajizadeh said that Iran had no intention of building missiles capable of reaching Europe.

The message of the drill is that "our strategy is defensive, but our tactics are aggressive," said Brig. Gen. Hossein Salami, deputy commander of the Revolutionary Guard, according to a separate PressTV report.

The provocative military exercises come on the heels of meetings this weekend in Tehran between Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his counterparts in Pakistan and Afghanistan, which have received billions in US aid. The Wall Street Journal characterized the summit as part of a broader Iranian push to boost its influence in the region as the US scales back operations in Afghanistan.


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