Iran successfully launches latest ballistic missile

Iran successfully tested a 2,000km-range ballistic missile on Thursday, Iranian state media said, two days after the chief of Israel’s armed forces raised the prospect of “action” against Tehran over its nuclear program.

Iran, which has one of the biggest missile programs in the Middle East, says its weapons are capable of reaching Israel and US bases in the region.
Despite opposition from the United States and European countries, Tehran has said it would further develop its “defensive” missile program.
“Our message to Iran’s enemies is that we will defend the country and its achievements. Our message to our friends is that we want to help regional stability,” said Iranian defense minister Mohammadreza Ashtiani.
State TV broadcast what it said was footage of an upgraded version of Iran’s Khoramshahr 4 ballistic missile with a range of 2,000km that can carry a 1,500kg warhead.
State News agency IRNA said the missile was called Kheibar, a reference to a Jewish castle overrun by Muslim warriors in the early days of Islam.

Israel, which the Islamic Republic does not recognize, sees Iran as an existential threat. Iran says its ballistic missiles are an important deterrent and retaliatory force against the United States, Israel and other potential regional adversaries.
On Tuesday, the top Israeli general raised the prospect of “action” against Iran as efforts by six world powers to revive Tehran’s 2015 nuclear deal have stalled since last September amid growing Western fears about Tehran’s accelerating nuclear advances.
The nuclear agreement, which Washington ditched in 2018, imposed restrictions on Iran’s nuclear activities that extended the time Tehran would need to produce enough fissile material for a nuclear bomb, if it chose to. Iran denies seeking nuclear weapons.

Iran has developed a cruise missile with a range of 1,650 km (1,025 miles), a top Revolutionary Guards commander said on Friday, in a move likely to raise Western concerns after Russia’s use of Iranian drones in the Ukraine war.
Separately, Amirali Hajjizadeh, the head of the Revolutionary Guards aerospace force, also spoke of Iran’s often repeated threat to avenge the US killing of a top Iranian commander, saying “We are looking to kill (former US President Donald) Trump.”
“Our cruise missile with a range of 1,650 km has been added to the missile arsenal of the Islamic Republic of Iran,” Hajjizadeh, told state TV.
The television broadcast what it said was the first footage showing the new Paveh cruise missile.
Hajjizadeh said Iran did not intend to kill “poor soldiers” when it launched a ballistic missile attack on US-led forces in Iraq days after Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani was killed in a US drone strike in 2020 in Baghdad.
“God willing, we are looking to kill Trump. (Former Secretary of State Mike) Pompeo ... and military commanders who issued the order (to kill Soleimani) should be killed,” Hajjizadeh said in the television interview.
Iranian leaders have often vowed to avenge Soleimani in strong terms.
Iran has expanded its missile program, particularly its ballistic missiles, in defiance of opposition from the United States and expressions of concern by European countries. Tehran says the program is purely defensive and of a deterrent nature.
Iran has said it had supplied Moscow with drones before the war in Ukraine. Russia has used the drones to target power stations and civilian infrastructure.
In November, the Pentagon said the United States was skeptical of reports quoting Hajjizadeh as saying Iran had developed a hypersonic ballistic missile. 

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