Iran said Wednesday that it successfully test-fired a new generation of long-range surface-to-surface missiles with a range of 1,200 miles, state-run television reported. A senior official said the missile would be used only defensively but did not identify a potential aggressor.
A TV news broadcast said the new missile, called the Sejil, used solid fuel and was more accurate than some other missiles. A British expert on Iran's missile armory, Duncan Lennox, said the missile seemed to resemble an earlier weapon called the Ashoura. Its claimed range would enable it to strike targets in Israel or the gulf region, he said,
Iran's Defense Minister, Mostafa Mohammad Najar, was quoted by state-run television as saying the missile was “very fast,” could be produced and stored in mass and was easy to prepare for launching. Its launcher could immediately be removed from the firing location, he said.
Najar said the test had been planned for months and had nothing to do with any recent international developments.
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The news of the launching emerged a day after Iranian media said the Revolutionary Guards had test-fired another new missile, known as the Samen, in the western city of Merivan near the border with Iraq on Monday.
Iran is locked in a long-running dispute with the U.S. and other powers over its nuclear program. While Western nations suspect that Iran is seeking a nuclear missile capability, Iran says its program is designed for civilian purposes.