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High-speed missile with a range of about 1,930 Km:

Iran test-fires precision missile able to reach Europe

IRAN: Iran said it successfully test-fired a new generation of long range surface-to-surface missile on Wednesday - one that could easily strike Israel and as far away as southeastern Europe with greater precision than earlier models.

The Sajjil is a solid fuel high-speed missile with a range of about 1,200 miles (1,930 kilometers), Defense Minister Mostafa Mohammed Najjar said on state television.

Solid-fuel missiles are more accurate than the liquid fuel missiles of similar range currently possessed by Iran. The country has had a solid-fuel missile with a shorter range - the Fateh, able to fly 120 miles (193 kilometers) - for several years.

The defense minister, quoted by Iran state television, said the two-stage missile with two solid-fuel engines has “an extraordinary high capability” but gave no further details. He did not say whether it was capable of carrying a nuclear warhead. With its range, the missile could easily strike Iran’s arch-foe Israel and go as far as southeastern Europe.

The U.S. military and intelligence agencies observed the missile test on a range about 225 miles (360 kilometers) southeast of Tehran Wednesday through “national assets,” a reference to classified imagery satellites and other kinds of sensors.

A senior U.S. military official contended the missile flew for just 9 seconds, covering 180 miles (290 kilometers) before veering off. The missile then exploded but it was unclear whether it was a malfunction or if it was programmed to self-destruct, the official told The Associated Press. The official spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence.

The U.S. believes the launch tested the first stage of what would be a two-stage rocket. Iran tested the same rocket last year without apparent success, the official said.

Tehran, Thursday, AP

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