Iran says long-range rockets directed to deter Israel
The head of the Iranian missile development project said Thursday that Teheran's long-range rockets were meant to hit Israel in the event of an Israeli strike on Iran.
Speaking to Al-Hayat daily, Ahmed Wahid, also the head of his country's space development program, said that Iran does not have nuclear weapons, unlike Israel, but had decided to develop the "Shihab" rocket, which has a range of 1,300 kilometers, in response to Israel's long-range "Jericho" missile.
He said that Iran also plans in the near future to carry out further attempts to launch a satellite, which would be used for both civilian and spy purposes and would be launched using the "Shihab 3" rocket.
The launch, Wahid conveyed, would be performed using local knowledge and expertise. He noted that Iran urgently needs the satellite, but cannot get the technology required from anywhere else, despite the fact that many states are in possession of the required information.
Wahid said that Iran's test last May of the Shihab 3 "proved Iran's ability to develop more accurate ballistic missiles, with a range of over 1,300 kilometers." The missile was developed to have a range of 1,500 kilometers, he said, because "our primary aim in developing [the missile] is to hit Israeli targets in the event that Israel fires missiles at Iran."
Wahid denied, however, that Iran has plans to develop missiles that could reach past Israel. "There is a tendentious campaign against us by the Western media, which claims that we are trying to launch missiles with a range of 12,000 kilometers, in order to hit the United States. This is not true; American territory is not part of our strategic defense targets."
Wahid also declared that Iran has no intention of producing nuclear warheads. "Everyone knows that Israel has 200 nuclear warheads," he said. "But Iranian missiles are equipped with conventional warheads. We have no nuclear weapons and we are not trying to obtain them. If there is a strike against us, however, we will respond with all of our capabilities. The Israelis may have many powerful weapons, but they know that they live in a glass house, which cannot stand up to the stones of the children of the intifada."
He added that Iran's nuclear facilities were not designed for the production of nuclear weapons, but for civilian purposes only. (Albawaba.com)
© 2002 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)
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