Iranian Missiles Capable of Reaching Israel

With the help of advanced Russian technology, Iran will be able to produce a medium-range missile that can hit Israel within 18 months, an official said.

Together with Iranian efforts to develop a nuclear weapon, the missile program could have serious implications for the balance of power in the region.

Hundreds of Russian scientists are involved in the project, the official told reporters at a briefing.

Another official said two Russian academic institutions are involved in developing rocket propulsion systems -- the Bauman National Technical University in Moscow and the Tsagi Institute.

The official estimated that within 18 months, Iran will be able to produce the Shihab 3, a liquid-fuel missile with a range of 1,300 kilometers and a payload of 700 kilograms.

It was the most detailed warning issued yet by Israel of the threat posed by Russian aid to Iran.

Israel has been trying to persuade the United States to impose sanctions against Moscow's participation in Teheran's ballistic missile and non-conventional weapons programs.

Sources said that in all, Iran is developing four missiles.

The Shihab 3 is considered the completed version of North Korea's Nodong missile. The Shihab 4 -- with a range of 2,000 kilometers and a payload of more than one ton -- is based on technology of the Russian SS-4.

Two other planned missile programs, which have not yet been named, aim to produce missiles with a range of 4,500 to 10,000 kilometers. The latter would be able to strike the east coast of the U.S.

-- Jerusalem Post, 10/11/97, p.1.