Israeli intelligence assessments hold that Iran is planning a second test launch of its Shihab-3 surface-to-surface ballistic missile in the coming weeks, reported Haaretz newspaper.
The preparations underway in Iran for the launching of the missile, whose range is estimated to be 1,300 kilometers, have caused anxiety in Israel and the West, said the paper, quoting a military official.
The first test launching of the missile, whose range covers all of Israel, was carried out in total surprise in July 1998.
"The steering committee for arms control met recently to discuss the developments," said the official, adding that the committee "includes representatives from the intelligence community, the IDF, the assistant to the defense minister for special assignments, the Defense and Foreign Ministries, and the defense industries involved in the development of the anti-ballistic missile system."
During the meeting, military intelligence presented its assessment that Iran is moving rapidly toward making its long-range missiles operational, said the paper.
"While the missiles will not be operational by western standards, not having entered into regular production, for Iran's needs it is significant that its enemies know that it possesses such capability."
According to military intelligence sources, Russia is exercising a policy of aiding Iran, directed by the minister of atomic energy, Evgeny Adamov, said the paper.
According to CIA estimates, which were presented to the Congress, Iran is striving to develop the Shihab-4 or Shihab-5, an intercontinental ballistic missile, which will be able to strike the US with a non-conventional warhead in a decade, said Haaretz.
According to the CIA, Iran achieved emergency operational capability during the first launching of Shihab-3, which means that it can make use of the prototype of the missile, said the paper - Albawaba.com
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