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Last Updated: Tuesday, 9 November, 2004, 18:44 GMT
Iran 'can' mass-produce missiles
Shahab-3 missile on launcher
The upgraded Shahab-3 is said to be more accurate
Iran is now able to make large numbers of its medium-range Shahab-3 ballistic missile, Iranian Defence Minister Ali Shamkhani says.

He said Iran had mastered the technology and there were no limits on the volume of production.

The missile was recently upgraded to increase its range to 2,000km (1,250 miles), making it capable of travelling beyond Iran's borders.

But Mr Shamkhani said the Shahab-3 missile was purely a deterrent.

He said its longer range was developed so it could be launched from anywhere in Iran.

"The change in Shahab-3's range is based on this concept, not to threaten a certain country," he added.

Map showing Shahab-3 missile range

He also denied claims Iran was developing a long-range missile.

Critics of Iran say the missile, which is also more accurate, could be used against Israel and US bases in the Gulf.

The Shahab-3 was first deployed to Iran's Revolutionary guards in 2003, but the longer 2,000km range version was tested in August.

The old version was known to have a range of 1,296km (about 800 miles).

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