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Sunday, 26 May, 2002, 23:27 GMT 00:27 UK
Iran claims missile test success
Iranian armed forces in action
Iran makes its own helicopters as well as missiles
Iran says it has carried out a further successful test of a medium-range ballistic missile.


Iran can produce any conventional arms the authorities want as we are self-sufficient in the technology

Ali Shamkhani
Defence Minister Ali Shamkani said his country was aiming to enhance the power and accuracy of the Shahab-3 missile.

With a reported range of about 1,300 kilometres (800 miles), the Shahab-3 is within striking distance of Israel, eastern Turkey, Pakistan and US bases in Saudi Arabia.

Rear Admiral Shamkhani told state media that for the time being, Iran had no plans to develop a Shahab-4 or Shahab-5 long-range version of the missile.

Iran's Shahab-3 missile on show
Iran's missile programme has aroused US and Israeli concern

The United States said last week that the Shahab-3 - which is believed to be based on a North Korean design - had been fired five times, but had not always worked.

Both the US and Israel have voiced concern about Iran's missile programme, and urged countries such as Russian and China to stop arms co-operation with Tehran.

But Rear Admiral Shamkani said American pressure on Russia and China to halt co-operation with Iran would have no impact, because Iran possessed all the missile technology it needed.

"Iran's defence industries can produce any conventional weapons the political authorities may want, since we are 100% self-sufficient in possessing the technology", he said.

Nuclear fears

US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld recently insisted there was clear evidence Iran was trying to develop nuclear weapons.

Iran denies seeking such weapons, but says it pursues conventional arms for deterrence.

Last week the issue of Iran created friction at the US-Russia summit in Moscow, where Presidents Bush and Putin publicly disagreed on the sale of Russian nuclear energy technology to Iran.

Mr Putin defended Russia's contract to build Iran's first nuclear power plant at Bushehr as having only an "economic character" with no implications for weapons proliferation.

But the Bush administration believes it represents the world's biggest single weapons proliferation problem.

Iran is one of the states which Mr Bush has accused of belonging to an "axis of evil" - states that support terrorist organisations.

See also:

16 Jul 00 | Media reports
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