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Iran builds rocket with range of 2,000 km
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08:52, November 28, 2007

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Iran said yesterday it had built a new missile with a range of 2,000 km, a step analysts said could add more power to Teheran's conventional arsenal when tensions over its atomic plans are rising.

Defense Minister Mostafa Mohammad Najjar did not say how the new weapon differed from the Shahab-3, a missile officials had previously said could hit targets 2,000 km away, far enough to reach arch-foe Israel.

"The Islamic Republic of Iran has never aimed to launch an attack on any country. It will never do so. But if someone wants to invade Iran, they will face a crushing response by the armed forces," Najjar said, the state broadcaster's website reported.

Washington has not ruled out military action if diplomacy fails to end a row over Iran's nuclear program. Iran's failure to convince world powers of its peaceful intentions has prompted two rounds of UN sanctions.

"The construction of the Ashoura missile, with the range of 2,000 km, is among the accomplishments of the Defense Ministry," the minister told a gathering of the Basij religious militia, holding manoeuvres this week, Iranian media reported.

Iran unveiled another new missile, Ghadr-1, with a range of 1,800 km at a military parade in September and, at that time, referred to the Shahab-3 as having a range of just 1,300 km. Prior to the parade and since then, officials said the Shahab-3 could reach targets 2,000 km away.

Najjar also said a new Iranian-built submarine would be delivered to the navy today.

Source: China Daily/Agencies

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