Report says Iran building missile site

Aug. 8, 2013 at 7:04 AM
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TEHRAN, Aug. 8 (UPI) -- Iran is building a ballistic missile testing site in the northern Semnan province, footage published by IHS Jane's Military and Security Assessments indicates.

The tower sitting on a launch pad with a long exhaust deflector suggests it was built for ballistic missiles holding solid fuel and not for use in Iran's space program, analysts who studied the footage told the British newspaper The Daily Telegraph.

The unfinished site is some 25 miles southeast of Shahrud, not far from Iran's space center, the paper noted Wednesday.

"Its location and orientation would be suitable for long-range missile tests as they would fly over Iranian territory for 870 miles, meaning large quantities of flight data could be gathered before they drop into the Indian Ocean," Matthew Clements, editor of Jane's military the assessments, told the newspaper.

"At the same time, we can't see any storage facilities for the liquid fuel needed for the rockets that launch satellites, suggesting it will be used for solid-fuel ballistic missiles."

While Clements said there was no indication the site was a nuclear facility, others voiced concern.

"We often talk about Iran's nuclear program, but what really spooks countries in the region is the ballistic missiles that could act as a delivery system," Shashank Joshi a research fellow at the Royal United Service Institute told The Telegraph.

"America has long said Iran might be able to test intercontinental ballistic missiles by 2015 though the program has been crippled in the past few years by sanctions and covert action."

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