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US suspicions of Iran seemed justified when Iran revealed that it had conducted a final test of 1'300-km missile. Iran has conducted a final test on a long-range, surface-to-surface missile capable of reaching its main regional rival, Israel, Tehran's Foreign Ministry spokesman said on Monday. "It happened a few weeks ago, it was a delivery test. The missile has the same range we announced before," spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi said. Asked to clarify what he meant by "delivery test", he said: "It was the final test". The Shabad-3 ballistic missile, first tested in 1998, has a range of 1'300km. It is based on the North Korean Nodong-1 missile but has been improved with Russian technology. The test comes as UN atomic agency chief Mohamed ElBaradei prepares to visit Tehran this week to seek clarification of Iran's nuclear program. The US has accused Iran of developing nuclear arms, a charge Tehran strongly denies. It says that its nuclear program is for purely peaceful purposes and its missiles are for deterrence only. Iranian Defense Minister Admiral Ali Shamkhani has denied reports that Tehran was planning to develop an even bigger missile, Shahab-4, and said Iran had increased the accuracy and payload of the Shahab-3 instead (Reuters 7/8/03 ). RH: With US backing, Israel dominates the Middle East with its nuclear weapons. The world views this as unfair and feels the US is bullying Iran.
Ronald Hilton - 7/12/03