Iran Tests Missile
Capable Of Hitting Israel
NEW YORK - Iran this week successfully tested a missile with a range of about 800 miles, meaning it could hit Israel or Saudi Arabia and U.S. forces in the region, according to published reports Thursday.
U.S. intelligence agencies detected the test late Tuesday or early Wednesday, tracking the launch and path of the medium-range missile called Shahab-3, The New York Times and The Washington Times reported Thursday.
The officials, while sure of the test, could not provide immediate information on the location of the launch or landing, both inside Iran.
"This weapon would allow Iran to strike all of Israel, all of Saudi Arabia, most of Turkey and a tip of Russia," a senior Clinton administration official told The New York Times.
Another official, also unidentified, told the Washington newspaper: "It is a significant development because it puts all U.S. forces in the region at risk."
Intelligence experts investigating the launch believe Iran bought the missile from North Korea, which has said it would sell to any nation with hard currency.
Iran also is building another version of the missile, which is expected to have a range of up to 1,240 miles - long enough to reach central Europe, The Washington Times reported.
Iran has bought technology from Russia and China, and wants not to strike its enemies but to be seen as a political and military force in the Middle East, officials said. Israel is widely believed to be the only nuclear power in the region, with missiles capable of striking any Middle East nation.
The test comes a month after Secretary of State Madeleine Albright praised Iranian President Mohammad Khatami, a moderate who took office last summer and who has confronted considerable resistance from religious and other conservatives. The region also is grappling with recent nuclear tests in Pakistan and India.
Iran is working on developing a nuclear warhead but is believed to be years away from building and testing a weapon, The New York Times said.
"This test shows Iran is bent on acquiring nuclear weapons, because no one builds an 800-mile missile to deliver conventional explosives," Gary Milhollin, an expert on the spread of weaponry, told the newspaper.

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