Recently, Iran claimed to have successfully tested its Shahab-3 missile as part of its “Great Prophet” war games exercise. The missile is capable of striking both Israeli and American military targets in the Mideast.
According to the Federation of American Scientists (FAS), the Iranian Shahab-3 is a single-stage, liquid-fueled, road-mobile, medium-range ballistic missile (MRBM) with a range of approximately 1,350 kilometers. Another MRBM variant, sometimes called the Shahab-4 missile, has a range greater than 1,930 kilometers. The Shahab-3 missile is capable of carrying a 1000 kilogram warhead. Approximately 18 launchers were deployed for operations in March 2006.
According to Global Security, the Iranian Shahab-3 ballistic missile means Meteor-3 or Shooting Star-3 in Farsi. The missile is derived from the 1,350 to 1,600 kilometer range of the North Korean No-dong missiles. In early 2010, there were roughly 300 Shahab-3 missile variants deployed for operations throughout Iran. Iran's Shahab-3 missile is a virtual copy of North Korea's Nodong missile, otherwise known to NATO as the Scud-D, according to airforce-technology.
Analysts believe that Iran is attempting to deter any military action that might be launched in an effort to halt their nuclear weapons program. The exercises were carried out by Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guard which is a separate military operation from Iran’s regular army. General Hossein Salami, who commanded the exercises, specifically said the missile tests were in response to those (Israel and the United States) who have claimed that “all options are on the table” to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear power.
A few Mideast experts assessed that the timing of the Iranian announcement might also be related to the European Union embargo of Iranian oil. It is questionable how much if any impact the embargo will have on Iran as both China and India have increased their oil purchases from the Islamic Republic. To date the efforts of the world to influence Iran to halt their nuclear work have been met with a marked lack of success.
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