Iran successfully tested a ballistic missile with a potential range of 2,000 km on Thursday, according to state media, two days after the head of the Israeli armed forces raised the possibility of “acting” against Tehran over its nuclear program.
Iran, which has one of the largest missile programs in the Middle East, claims its weapons are capable of hitting the bases of arch-enemies Israel and the United States in the region.
Despite opposition from the United States and European countries, Tehran has stated that it will continue to 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 contribute to regional stability,” said Iranian Defense Minister Mohammadreza Ashtiani.
“One of the outstanding features of this missile is its ability to evade radar detection and penetrate enemy air defense systems, thanks to its low radar signature. “This missile can use multiple warheads for different missions.”
State television broadcast images of an improved version of Iran’s Khorramshahr 4 ballistic missile, with a range of 2,000 km and capable of carrying a 1,500 kg warhead.
State news agency IRNA said the missile was named Kheibar, referring to a Jewish castle invaded by Muslim warriors in the early days of Islam.
The Khorramshahr has the heaviest loadout of Iran’s ballistic missile fleet, which analysts say may be designed to keep the weapon below the 2,000km range limit imposed by the country’s supreme leader.
Authorities showed the Khorramshahr-4 to reporters at an event in Tehran, with the missile in a truck-mounted launcher. Regional tensions are likely to have influenced the Iranian missile display.
Next to the mobile shuttle was a miniature of the golden Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem, located in the compound of the Al Aqsa Mosque, a sacred place for both Islam and Judaism, which Jews call the Temple Mount. Israel, which Tehran does not recognize, views Iran as an existential threat.
Iran claims its ballistic missiles are an important deterrent and retaliatory force against the United States, Israel and other potential regional adversaries.
On Tuesday, Israel’s top general raised the prospect of “action” against Iran, as efforts by six world powers to revive the 2015 Tehran nuclear deal have stalled since last September amid growing Western fears over accelerated Tehran’s nuclear advances.
The nuclear deal, which Washington abandoned in 2018, placed 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 do so. Iran denies seeking nuclear weapons.