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October 19, 2015 1:12 pm

Iranian Official Calls US ‘Weak’ for Fearing Tehran’s Latest Ballistic Missile Test

avatar by David Daoud

The Emad ballistic missile. Photo: Iranian Defense Ministry.

The Emad ballistic missile. Photo: Iranian Defense Ministry.

An Iranian defense official said that the fearful reaction on the part of the U.S. to Tehran’s test-firing of a new missile demonstrates Washington’s weakness, the semi-official Fars News Agency reported on Monday.

Brigadier General Ya’aqoub Zohdi, deputy head of Iran’s Strategic-Defense Research Center, was referring to Iran’s test-firing of the Emad, the Islamic Republic’s new, precision-guided, long-range ballistic missile — which spurred the U.S. to request that the U.N. Security Council examine whether it violates the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and Resolution 2231.

Zohdi called the United States’ reaction “double-edged” and “weak,” and re-emphasized Iran’s long-standing position that his country’s missile industry was entirely unrelated to the nuclear issue.

“The western states are sure enough that we are not after nuclear weapons,” said Zohdi. “Therefore, our missile capability is not something to be affected by the nuclear negotiations and it is paving its own way and not even a little change has been made in our missile program.”

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“The negotiations don’t restrict the Islamic Republic’s defensive power at all,” Zohdi stressed.

Anthony Cordesman, a researcher at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, wrote in October last year that the Emad was a variant of Iran’s existing Shahab-3 long-range missile, “But with a maneuvering reentry vehicle to improve system accuracy and complicate missile defense.”

The liquid-propelled rocket, capable of carrying a 750-kilogram (1,653 lb.) payload, has a range of 1,700 kilometers (1,056 miles), putting targets as far as Egypt, Ukraine and India within range, and was accurate to within 500 meters (1,640 feet) of the target.

After the test of the Emad, Popular Mechanics noted that Iran’s new missile should make its neighbors very nervous, since it was designed to evade missile defenses.

Though Iran has claimed that its missile is intended to carry only conventional warheads, Popular Mechanics said, “Without a nuclear warhead, Emad is of questionable usefulness. In a world where a precision-guided weapon is expected to be accurate within 20 feet, Emad’s 1,650 feet means it is still a bombardment weapon capable of no real accuracy. Still, it’s impressive progress for a country that, under sanction, has to research and develop everything for itself.”

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