Sunday, March 15, 2009

Iran missile, nuclear threat 'real, dangerous'

From RIA Novosti, 12/ 03/ 2009:

...Russia and the West would be making a big mistake if they ignored or underestimated the potential missile and nuclear threat coming from Iran, a Russian military expert said on Thursday.

"Iran is actively working on a missile development program. I won't say the Iranians will be able to develop intercontinental ballistic missiles in the near future, but they will most likely be able to threaten the whole of Europe," said Maj. Gen. Vladimir Dvorkin*, head of the Moscow-based Center for Strategic Nuclear Forces.

Some Western and Russian sources claim that Iran may be currently running a program, dubbed Project Koussar, to develop a totally different missile with a range of 4,000-5,000 km (2,500-3,300 miles).

"Iran has long abandoned outdated missile technologies and is capable of producing sophisticated missile systems," Dvorkin said at a news conference in RIA Novosti.

Iran successfully launched last year an upgraded Shahab-3 ballistic missile as part of a navy exercise, dubbed Great Prophet 3, in the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz.

With a reported range of 2,000 kilometers and armed with a 1-ton conventional warhead, the Shahab-3 puts Israel, Turkey, the Arabian peninsula, Afghanistan and Pakistan within striking distance....

..."The real threat is that Iran, which is already ignoring all resolutions and sanctions issued by the UN Security Council, will be practically 'untouchable' after acquiring nuclear-power status, and will be able to expand its support of terrorist organizations, including Hamas and Hezbollah," the expert said...

*Dvorkin has had a role in writing all major strategy documents for the Strategic Nuclear Forces and the Strategic Missile Forces. As an expert in the field he participated in preparing the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty and the START I and START II pacts, and has made a significant contribution to formulating Soviet and Russian positions at negotiations on strategic offensive arms control and reduction.
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