Iran long-range missile test confirmed – world reaction could be silver lining

May 20, 2009

(ChattahBox) — Iran’s president announced the successful test launch of an advanced surface-to-surface solid-propellen missile Wednesday was confirmed today by Defense Secretary Robert Gates. The new two-stage Sejil-2 incorporates “advanced technology” that makes it more accurate than Iran’s arsenal of Shahab missiles, which are based on North Korean-designed rockets and has a range of 2,000 to 2,500 kilometers. That’s equivalent to 1,200 to 1,500 miles, putting Israel, U.S. bases in the Mideast, and parts of Eastern Europe within striking distance.

Besides the range and accuracy solid-propellent rockets are a concern because they can be fueled in advance and moved or hidden in silos. Liquid-propellent rockets have to be fueled and fired quickly, which makes preparations for launches easier to monitor and would allow a preemptive strike if necessary.

There are perhaps some slim but possible silver linings to this new launch and demonstration of advancing Iranian military technology.  Lawmakers finalizing the U.S. foreign relations budget for the next two years cited the test as yet another example of defiance by Tehran that they said further highlights the need to support Israel’s missile defense system.  The test might convince countries that have been reluctant to penalize Iran that the country’s nuclear program isn’t just for peaceful energy purposes.  The rocket launch pretty much drowned out news that the Iranian Guardian Council, a powerful body of clerics and jurists, had approved the candidacies of three powerful rivals against Iran President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in the upcoming presidential vote.  Iranian political experts view the military exercise as an effort by Ahmadinejad to draw attention away from his economic failings and bolster his defiant reputation weeks before the elections.


Note: Photo above is not of actual launch


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