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Iran declares success in long-range missile test

Published Sep. 1, 2005

Iran has conducted a "final test" of its ballistic missile Shahab-3, which is capable of reaching Israel and U.S. forces stationed in Saudi Arabia and Turkey, the Foreign Ministry said Monday.

The test took place "several weeks ago," contrary to an Israeli report that it happened last week, ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi told reporters.

"Apparently, the Israelis are late in getting the information," Asefi said.

"It was a final test before delivering the missile to the armed forces. The range of the missile was the same as in Iran's previous tests," Asefi said.

Shahab-3 has a range of about 810 miles, meaning it could reach Israel and U.S. troops stationed in Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Turkey.

"We have long had very serious concerns about Iranian missile programs," State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said in Washington. "We will continue to work with others to address Iran's missile efforts. We try to work closely with other like-minded countries in doing so."

The Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported the test was the most successful of seven or eight launches over the past five years.

The Shahab-3 is allegedly based on North Korea's No Dong surface-to-surface missile but Iran says it is locally made. "Shahab" means shooting star in Farsi.