Sunday, September 27, 2009

Iran tests ballistic missile

CNN) -- Iran tested a missile-launching system and two types of missiles Sunday, the state-run Press TV said. The missile tests come amid tension over the Islamic republic's nuclear program.

Iran test-fired a missile in May that was believed to be able to reach parts of Europe.

The missiles, fired at targets around the country Sunday, included the Fateh-110, a short-range ground-to-ground missile, and Tondar-69, a short-range naval missile, the station said. Iran plans to test the long-range Shahab missile on Monday.

The tests, which are expected to go on for the next 10 to 11 days, are codenamed "Payghambar-e Azam 4" or "The Great Messenger 4," Press TV said.

Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps had said it would stage missile exercises to promote the armed forces' defense capabilities.

The tests come after Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's disclosure Friday that Iran was building a second uranium enrichment facility.

The United States and Israel believe that Iran is seeking nuclear weapons under the guise of a civilian nuclear energy program. Iran has denied the allegation.

In May, Iran said it tested a surface-to-surface missile that is capable of reaching parts of Europe.

At the time, a White House official said the test was noteworthy.

"Of course, this is just a test, and obviously there is much work to be done before it can be built and deployed. But I see it as a significant step forward in terms of Iran's capacity to deliver weapons," said Gary Samore, special assistant to the president on nonproliferation.

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