Iran has produced an intercontinental ballistic missile — an act that poses a threat to the United States due to its expanded range, according to a report.
The Jerusalem Post reports
that Iran has a missile measuring 27 meters in length (88.5 feet) on a launch pad just outside its capital city of Tehran. The missile had never before been seen in public, reports the Post.
"The missile and the launch pad indicate that Iran's ballistic missile program, which is an integral part of its nuclear weapons program, is moving forward at full throttle," the Post writes.
"The expanded range of Iran's ballistic missile program as indicated by the satellite imagery makes clear that its nuclear weapons program is not merely a threat to Israel, or to Israel and Europe. It is a direct threat to the United States, as well," according to the newspaper.
Iran has been steadily improving its ballistic missile capabilities, despite ongoing talks between the Obama administration and Tehran to keep the country from acquiring nuclear weapons. Tehran insists that its nuclear enrichment program is for domestic use only, and wants sanctions imposed on it by the West lifted. The administration favors the lifting of sanctions in return for a deal.
But the advancements are clearly ongoing, and worrying. In March, the Iranian defense ministry ceremoniously paraded eight anti-ship ballistic missiles, known as the Khalij Fars, before handing them over to the country's military.
The Khalij Fars was a distinct advancement on the Fateh-110 tactical ballistic missile. It has the additional capacity to hone in on a ship's infrared signature, which means that it can change direction while in flight to more accurately pursue a moving target, reports IHS Jane's Defence Weekly
The Khalij Fars has the same explosive power, a nearly 1,450-pound warhead, and range — about 190 miles — as the more recent versions of the Fateh-110 missile, Jane's reports.
Vice Admiral James Syring, the director of the U.S. Missile Defense Agency, told a congressional subcommittee in June that the Khalij Fars "is capable of threatening maritime activity throughout the Persian Gulf and Strait of Hormuz." He confirmed the Iranians had tested the missile in flight, but he could not say whether it was operational, Jane's reports, citing the admiral's statement to the subcommittee.
The intercontinental missile, according to the Post, was spotted during a television broadcast on Israel's Channel 2. The broadcast included images of Iran taken from a satellite that was launched last year, and it showed several sites that were recently built for missiles.
One such site was a launch facility outside of Tehran, which was where the newly discovered missile was discovered.
The facility would be capable of launching an ICBM missile or a rocket into space.
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