Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Iran test launch of medium-range missile successful

From Fox News:

U.S. government officials confirmed Iran's provocative long-range missile test Wednesday as they worked to study details of the launch.

"At this point it appears Iran launched a medium ranged ballistic missile and the test appears successful," a government official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told FOX News.

The U.S. official said the Pentagon is trying to determine the missile's range, trajectory and other details about the solid-fuel Sajjil-2 surface-to-surface missile Iran launched Wednesday.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said the launch was a successful test-firing of a new advanced missile with a range of about 1,200 miles -- capable of reaching Israel and U.S. Mideast bases.

It is a new version of the Sajjil missile, which Iran said it had successfully tested late last year with a similar range. Many analysts said the launch of the Sajjil was significant because solid fuel missiles are more accurate than liquid fuel missiles of similar range, such as Iran's Shahab-3.

"Defense Minister (Mostafa Mohammad Najjar) has informed me that the Sajjil-2 missile, which has very advanced technology, was launched from Semnan and it landed precisely on the target," state radio quoted Ahmadinejad as saying. He spoke during a visit to the city of Semnan, 125 miles east of the capital Tehran, where Iran's space program is centered.

The announcement comes less than a month before Iran's presidential election and just two days after President Obama declared a readiness to seek deeper international sanctions against Tehran if it did not respond positively to U.S. attempts to open negotiations on its nuclear program.

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