TEHRAN, Iran —Â Iran claimed Saturday itÂ has successfully test-fired an upgraded version of a short-range ballisticÂ missile with improved accuracy, increasing the Islamic Republic’s capability toÂ strike both land and naval targets.
Defense Minister Gen. Ahmad Vahidi said the solid-fueled Fateh-110 has aÂ range of 185 miles. He claimed the weapon could strike with pin-point precision,Â making it the most accurate weapon of its kind in Iran’s arsenal.
“By reaching this generation of the Fateh-110, a new capability has beenÂ added to our armed forces in striking sea and land targets,” state TV quotedÂ Vahidi as saying. “Few countries in the world possess the technology to buildÂ such missiles.”
Iran’s military leaders have said they believe future wars will be air- andÂ sea-based and Tehran has sought to upgrade its air defense systems and navalÂ power in anticipation of such a possibility.
Iran has also been pushing to upgrade its missiles, which already can targetÂ Israel and U.S. bases in the Middle East. The Pentagon released a report in JuneÂ noting significant advances in Iranian missile technology, acknowledging thatÂ the Islamic Republic has improved the accuracy and firing capabilities of itsÂ missiles.
The Fateh-110, or Conqueror, is a single-stage solid-propellant,Â surface-to-surface missile put into service in 2002. The earlier version of theÂ domestically-produced missile had a range of 120 miles. The weapon was developedÂ by Iran’s Aerospace Industries Organization.
Iran also has a variety of longer-ranged missiles including a Shahab-3Â variant with a range of 2,000 kilometers (1,200 miles) that can reach Israel andÂ southern Europe. Many of its missiles could in theory carry a nuclearÂ warhead.
Iran considers both the United States and Israel as potential adversaries.Â Neither country has ruled out a military strike against Iran’s nuclear program,Â which they claim is aimed at developing nuclear weapons. Iran says its programÂ is for peaceful purposes.
Britain’s Foreign Office said in a statement that it was concerned by theÂ reports of the missile test.
“This move calls into question again Iran’s stated commitment to a purelyÂ peaceful nuclear program,” the ministry said Saturday. “We remain concerned thatÂ Iran continues to develop missile technology with the clear intention ofÂ extending the range and sophistication of its missiles.”
Israel is about 1,000 kilometers (600 miles) away from Iran’s westernÂ borders, while the U.S. Navy’s Fifth Fleet is based in Bahrain, some 200Â kilometers (120 miles) from Iranian shores in the Persian Gulf.
Iran’s military leaders have threatened that Israel “would disappear from theÂ Earth” if it attacks Iran. Military commanders have also warned that 35 AmericanÂ military bases in the Middle East are within Iran’s missile range and would beÂ destroyed within seconds after any U.S. attack on Iran.
Iran launched an arms development program during its 1980-88 war with Iraq toÂ compensate for a U.S. weapons embargo. Since 1992, Iran has produced its ownÂ tanks, armored personnel carriers, missiles, torpedoes and a fighter plane.
Source: Fox News