New satellite photos have uncovered the secret site where Iran is thought to be developing long-range ballistic missiles capable of reaching targets in Europe.
The site about 140 miles southeast of Tehran was revealed by Jane’s Intelligence Review after a study of photographs taken by the Digital Globe QuickBird satellite.
The photos were snapped four days after the Feb. 4 launch of Iran’s Kavoshgar 1 rocket, which Iran claimed was connected to the nation’s space program.
Iran is believed to be developing a ballistic missile with a range of about 4,000 miles, the Times of London reported.
The imagery shows that there is a recently constructed building on the site similar in form and size to the Taepodong long-range missile assembly facility in North Korea, according to Geoffrey Forden, a research associate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a former Iraq weapons inspector.
An analysis of the site indicated that Iran may be about five years away from developing the 4,000-mile missile, said Avital Johanan, editor of Jane’s Proliferation.
That would underline “why President Bush wants the Polish and Czech components of the U.S. missile defense system to be up and running by 2013,” according to the Times.
The Kavoshgar 1 rocket launched in February in the presence of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was based on the Shahab 3B missile, a version of North’s Korea’s Nodong missile, which was developed by Pyongyang reportedly with extensive assistance from China.
The Times disclosed that according to Jane’s Intelligence Review, the satellite photos “prove that the Kavoshgar 1 rocket was not part of a civilian space center project but was consistent with Iran’s clandestine program to develop longer-range missiles.”
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