Tehran - Iran on Sunday test-fired a surface-to-surface
short-range missile a day after its army launched large-scale military exercises
throughout the country, state-run television reported.
Iranian military forces run from the down-draft of a helicopter,
during a training exercise in Zahedan, in the southeastern province of
Sistan va Baluchistan, Iran, on Saturday Aug. 19, 2006. Iran on Saturday
launched a series of large-scale military maneuvers aimed at introducing
the country's new defensive doctrine, state-run television reported. [AP
"Saegheh, the missile, has a range of between 80 to 250
kilometers," the report said. It said the missile was tested in Kashan desert, about
150 miles southeast of Tehran, the capital.
Saegheh means lightning in Farsi.
Iran has routinely held war games over the past two decades to improve its
combat readiness and to test equipment such as missiles, tanks and armored
personnel carriers. But the new tests, in the wake of the Lebanon-Hezbollah
fighting, seemed certain to create new tensions with the West.
State-run television said the missile was built based
on domestic know-how.
State-run TV showed video showing 10 missiles being launched from mobile
Iran said it launched the new military exercises Saturday to introduce a new
defensive doctrine. They are being held in 14 of the country's 30 provinces and
could last five weeks, the government has said.
The country, which views the United States as a foe, is concerned
about the US military presence in neighboring Iraq and Afghanistan.
It also has expressed worry about Israeli threats to destroy its nuclear
facilities, which the West contends could be used to make a bomb but which Iran
insists are for civilian uses only.
Iran is already equipped with the Shahab-3 missile, which means "shooting
star" in Farsi, and is capable of carrying a nuclear warhead. An upgraded
version of the ballistic missile has a range of more than 1,200 miles and can
reach Israel and US forces in the Middle East.
Last year, former Defense Minister Ali Shamkhani said Tehran had successfully
tested a solid fuel motor for the Shahab-3, a technological breakthrough for the
Iran's military test-fired a series of missiles during large-scale war games
in the Persian Gulf in March and April, including a missile it claimed was not
detectable by radar that can use multiple warheads to hit several targets
After decades of relying on foreign weapons purchases, Iran's military has
been working to boost its domestic production of armaments.
Since 1992, Iran has produced its own tanks, armored
personnel carriers, missiles and a fighter plane, the government has said. It
announced in early 2005 that it had begun production of torpedoes.