TEHRAN, Iran —  Iran claimed Saturday it  has successfully test-fired an upgraded version of a short-range ballistic  missile with improved accuracy, increasing the Islamic Republic’s capability to  strike both land and naval targets.

Defense Minister Gen. Ahmad Vahidi said the solid-fueled Fateh-110 has a  range of 185 miles. He claimed the weapon could strike with pin-point precision,  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 been  added to our armed forces in striking sea and land targets,” state TV quoted  Vahidi as saying. “Few countries in the world possess the technology to build  such missiles.”

Iran’s military leaders have said they believe future wars will be air- and  sea-based and Tehran has sought to upgrade its air defense systems and naval  power in anticipation of such a possibility.

Iran has also been pushing to upgrade its missiles, which already can target  Israel and U.S. bases in the Middle East. The Pentagon released a report in June  noting significant advances in Iranian missile technology, acknowledging that  the Islamic Republic has improved the accuracy and firing capabilities of its  missiles.

The Fateh-110, or Conqueror, is a single-stage solid-propellant,  surface-to-surface missile put into service in 2002. The earlier version of the  domestically-produced missile had a range of 120 miles. The weapon was developed  by Iran’s Aerospace Industries Organization.

Iran also has a variety of longer-ranged missiles including a Shahab-3  variant with a range of 2,000 kilometers (1,200 miles) that can reach Israel and  southern Europe. Many of its missiles could in theory carry a nuclear  warhead.

Iran considers both the United States and Israel as potential adversaries.  Neither country has ruled out a military strike against Iran’s nuclear program,  which they claim is aimed at developing nuclear weapons. Iran says its program  is for peaceful purposes.

Britain’s Foreign Office said in a statement that it was concerned by the  reports of the missile test.

“This move calls into question again Iran’s stated commitment to a purely  peaceful nuclear program,” the ministry said Saturday. “We remain concerned that  Iran continues to develop missile technology with the clear intention of  extending the range and sophistication of its missiles.”

Israel is about 1,000 kilometers (600 miles) away from Iran’s western  borders, while the U.S. Navy’s Fifth Fleet is based in Bahrain, some 200  kilometers (120 miles) from Iranian shores in the Persian Gulf.

Iran’s military leaders have threatened that Israel “would disappear from the  Earth” if it attacks Iran. Military commanders have also warned that 35 American  military bases in the Middle East are within Iran’s missile range and would be  destroyed within seconds after any U.S. attack on Iran.

Iran launched an arms development program during its 1980-88 war with Iraq to  compensate for a U.S. weapons embargo. Since 1992, Iran has produced its own  tanks, armored personnel carriers, missiles, torpedoes and a fighter plane.

Source: Fox News


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