Tim Butcher – Telegraph.co.uk November 2, 2006
Just 48 hours after an American-led flotilla exercised in the Gulf, Iranian state television reported the missiles were fired in the country’s central desert region at the opening of ten days of military manoeuvres codenamed “Great Prophet”, led by the elite Revolutionary Guards.
In what was taken as a clear warning to America, a senior Iranian commander said the tests were intended as a display of Iranian military strength.
“We want to show our deterrent and defensive power to trans-regional enemies, and we hope they will understand the message of the manoeuvres,” said General Yahya Rahim Safavi.
Teheran’s determination to develop its nuclear programme in defiance of diplomatic pressure has caused western military planners to consider military action.
The recent naval manoeuvres led by the US Navy close to Iranian territorial waters were meant to practice drills for intercepting ships carrying components for ballistic missiles and weapons of mass destruction.
Television broadcast from Teheran showed footage of a dozen types of missiles being fired missiles being fired from mobile launching pads.
Shahab-3 missiles are believed to be capable of carrying a nuclear warhead and are believed to have a range of more than 1,200 miles, meaning that Israel and US military bases in the Middle East are well within range.
Among the other weapons tested during the manoeuvres was the Shahab-2, which has a cluster warhead that can send 1,400 bomblets at the same time, state television said.
Solid-fuel Zalzal missiles also were launched, as were guided missiles such as the Scud-B, Zolfaghar-73 and Z-3, it said.
Last updated 22/01/2007