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Iran’s shooting range

28/09/2009

Amid threats of sanctions from Western countries over its nuclear program Iran decided to look the other way where their Shahab-3 and Sejil missiles were being tested this morning.

Despite Tehran’s defense that the missile tests had been planned for a while and have nothing to do with the current nuclear dispute they have been deemed “deeply destabilizing” by the French Foreign Ministry, Bernard Kouchner. It “sends the wrong signal to the international community” said the U.K. Foreign Office said in an e-mailed statement.

A former U.K. ambassador to Iran, Richard Dalton, had a more cynical view and stating that Iranian officials have “been poked and they think this is a good moment to show off their capabilities.”

For all of you ballistics people, you can read more about Shahab-3 here.

I just wanted to give you details on how far these missiles can reach in more geographical terms than the approximate 2000 km-range recorded in 2008 when the missiles were last tested.

In Europe, shot from North West of Iran a Shahab 3 missile reaches the eastern part of the EU: that is Bucharest, Sofia, Athens. It can also target Kiev and Moscow.

It’s already been said that these missiles can reach Israel, but basically the whole Near East could be at risk especially Cairo in Egypt and Turkey. A missile could also reachAfrica as far as Djibouti if fired from the extreme South of the country. All the ex-soviet republics of Central Asia, Afghanistan and the extreme West of China, as well as Pakistan and the North-west of India (including New Delhi and Mumbai) are also at range.

h/t to French journalist Jean-Dominique Merchet and his blog on Libération who concludes “one certainly understands why this is worrying to a lot of people”.