Pentagon Confirms Details on Iranian Missiles

Article excerpt

The Pentagon identified Iran's two medium-range ballistic missiles for the first time publicly this week, giving their ranges and also providing details on an older Chinese nuclear-tipped missile.

Iran's Shahab-3 missile will have a range of about 800 miles and a second version, the Shahab-4, will be able to hit targets as far as 1,240 miles away, according to Senate testimony by Air Force Lt. Gen. Lester Lyles, director of the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization.

It was the first time the Pentagon has confirmed the existence of the Shahab missiles, which were disclosed last year by The Washington Times.

U.S. intelligence officials have said the missiles could be deployed within two years and that both Russia and China provided materials and technology.

"The development of long-range ballistic missiles is part of Iran's effort to become a major regional military power and Iran could field a [medium-range ballistic missile] system in the first half of the next decade," a Pentagon official said.

The chart made public Tuesday identified the Iranian and Chinese missiles as potential targets for U.S. regional missile defense systems under development. It was part of Gen. Lyles' testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee.

The chart also listed the range of China's CSS-2 nuclear missile, which has a range of about 1,860 miles and is the only intermediate-range missile ever exported. Saudi Arabia purchased about 40 of the missiles. China has deployed about 40 CSS-2s for more than 25 years.

According to an Air Force intelligence report obtained by The Times last year, the CSS-2 is being replaced by China's new and more capable CSS-5. About 40 CSS-5s, with a ranges of about 1,333 miles, have been deployed, and a more accurate version is awaiting deployment.

The chart showed two Scud missiles with ranges of between 62 and 186 miles, China's M-9 missile with a 372-mile range, and the North Korean Nodong, with a 620-mile range. …