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Iran test shows it wants longer-range missile-U.S

SHARE Iran test shows it wants longer-range missile-U.S

SYDNEY, July 16 — Iran's test of a medium-range missile shows its determination to build longer-range weapons of mass destruction, U.S. Defence Department spokesman Ken Bacon said on Sunday.

Iran said on Saturday it had successfully test-fired an upgraded version of its medium-range Shahab missile, raising immediate concerns in Israel and the United States.

The ballistic missile has a range of 1,300 km (800 miles), making it capable of hitting Israel.

"From everything we can tell, it was a successful firing," Bacon told Reuters. "It is another sign they are determined to build longer-range weapons of mass destruction."

Bacon was accompanying U.S. Defence Secretary William Cohen here on a visit to meet with Australian defence officials.

The United States is considering whether to proceed with a national missile defence system which it says is aimed at protecting U.S. soil against potential long-range missile attacks from countries it considers hostile such as North Korea, Iran, and Iraq.

Cohen is expected to make a recommendation to President Clinton next month, and Clinton will make a determination on the next step for the proposed anti-missile system later this year.

Iran's Shahab-3 missile, modelled mainly on North Korea's Nodong-1 and improved with Russian technology, was last tested in 1998.

Tehran said the missile was test-fired to ensure it conforms to the latest technological standards and and would in no way threaten its neighbours. But arch-rival Israel called the test-firing a threat and an attempt to scupper the Middle East peace process.