Iran Conducts Fourth Shahab-3 Test

Arms Control Today, June 2002 | Go to article overview

Iran Conducts Fourth Shahab-3 Test


Iran successfully completed its fourth test of the Shahab-3 medium-range ballistic missile in mid-May, Iranian Defense Minister Ali Shamkhani said May 26, according to an Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) report.

With a range of 1,300 kilometers when equipped with a 700kilogram payload, the liquid-fueled, road-mobile Shahab-3 can potentially target all of Israel with weapons of mass destruction. The missile is largely derived from the North Korean Nodong-1 and was built with significant technological assistance from Russia, according to U.S. intelligence agencies. (Russia's nuclear and missile cooperation with Iran was a focal point of the recent U.S.-Russian presidential summit. See p. 27.)

Of Iran's three previous Shahab-3 tests, only the second, conducted in July 2000, is believed to have been a success. (See ACT, September 2000.) Despite the previous failures, a December 2001 U.S. intelligence estimate characterized the missile as "in the late stages of development."

The May 26 IRNA report quoted Shamkhani announcing that Iran will continue its missile program "in order to promote the power and precision of the Shahab-3 missile. …

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