Iranian Defense Minister Hossein Dehghan said Sunday that Iran successfully tested a new long range precision-guided ballistic missile. The test was done in an attempt to improve the accuracy of Iran’s mid-long range missiles that are capable of striking Israel.
The state-run Islamic Republic News Agency quoted Dehghan as saying, “The Emad missile is able to strike targets with a high level of precision and completely destroy them.”
According to a paper that the Center for Strategic and International Studies wrote in January, the Emad ballistic missile has a range of 1,700 kilometers (1,100 mile). This puts Israel just at the outskirts of its striking range. The missile is also assumed to have a 500 meter accuracy radius and can carry a 750 kilogram (1,700 pound) payload.
The Emad will replace the older and less accurate Shahab-3 missile, which has been active in Iran’s arsenal since 2003. The Shahab-3 is liquid-fuelled and has a similar range but it is only accurate to within a 2,000 meter (1.2 mile) radius.
Dehghan said the new weapon would be deployed to missile units in the “near future.”
Israel missile expert Uzi Rubin said the Emad represented a major improvement in terms of accuracy, with an advanced guidance and control system in its nose cone.
According to US officials, the missile launch may have violated the a terms of a United Nations Security Council Resolution that was adopted a few days after the landmark nuclear deal was signed. The resolution bars Iran from developing missiles that are designed to carry nuclear warheads. However, the US officials continued on to say that the missile test did not violate the nuclear agreement reached in July between Iran and six world powers. According to some experts, the Emad missile qualifies in that category. The resolution, however, is not yet in effect.
“We don’t seek permission from anyone to strengthen our defense and missile capabilities,” Dehghan said.