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MISSILE NEWS
Iran tests new medium-range missile, defying US warnings
By Eric RANDOLPH
Tehran (AFP) Sept 23, 2017


Saudi intercepts Yemen rebel missile
Riyadh (AFP) Sept 24, 2017 - A Yemen rebel missile heading towards Saudi Arabia was intercepted late Saturday, the Arab military coalition said, in the midst of nationwide celebrations to mark the founding of the kingdom.

The ballistic missile targeted Khamis Mushait, which houses the Saudi-led coalition's main airbase for its operations in Yemen, the official Saudi Press Agency quoted the coalition as saying.

It added that the missile was intercepted without casualties or damage.

"The Saudi Royal Air Force discovered the launch of a ballistic missile from within Yemeni territory," SPA said.

"The coalition forces then targeted the launch site."

The attack came as Saudi Arabia celebrated its national day across the kingdom with a raucous display of concerts, folk dance and fireworks.

Occasional ballistic missile attacks, as well as more frequent short-range rocket fire over the southern border, have in the past been conducted after coalition air strikes against the rebels in Yemen.

Last week, the head of the rebels threatened to fire missiles at the United Arab Emirates and to attack Saudi tankers in the Red Sea.

The Huthi rebels and their allies, former members of Yemen's security forces linked to ex-president Ali Abdullah Saleh, began retaliatory attacks against the kingdom two years ago.

The coalition intervened in the country in March 2015 to support President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi, who says the rebels are supported by Saudi's regional arch-rival Iran.

The war has killed more than 8,500 people and wounded nearly 49,000 others, according to the World Health Organization.

More than 17 million Yemenis are now facing dire food shortages, and a nationwide cholera epidemic has killed more than 2,100 people since April.

Iran said on Saturday that it had successfully tested a new medium-range missile in defiance of warnings from Washington that such activities were grounds for abandoning their landmark nuclear deal.

State television carried footage of the launch of the Khoramshahr missile, which was first displayed at a high-profile military parade in Tehran on Friday.

It also carried in-flight video from the nose cone of the missile, which has a range of 2,000 kilometres (1,250 miles) and can carry multiple warheads.

"As long as some speak in the language of threats, the strengthening of the country's defence capabilities will continue and Iran will not seek permission from any country for producing various kinds of missile," Defence Minister Amir Hatami said in a statement.

The test comes at the end of a heated week of diplomacy at the UN General Assembly in New York, where US President Donald Trump again accused Iran of destabilising the Middle East, calling it a "rogue state whose chief exports are violence, bloodshed and chaos".

Previous Iranian missile launches have triggered US sanctions and accusations that they violate the spirit of the 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and major powers.

Iran, which fought a war with neighbouring Iraq in the 1980s, sees missiles as a legitimate and vital part of its defence -- particularly as regional rivals Saudi Arabia and Israel import huge amounts of military hardware from the West.

Trump has threatened to bin the nuclear agreement, saying Iran is developing missiles that may be used to deliver a nuclear warhead when the deal's restrictions are lifted in 2025.

Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman denounced the test as a "provocation" aimed at the United States and its allies, including the Jewish state.

- European support -

Trump is due to report to Congress on October 15 on whether Iran is still complying with the deal and whether it remains in US interests to stick by it.

If he decides that it is not, that could open the way for US lawmakers to reimpose sanctions, leading to the potential collapse of the agreement.

Trump said on Wednesday he had made his decision but was not yet ready to reveal it.

The other signatories to the deal -- Britain, France, Germany, China, Russia and the European Union -- have all pushed for it to continue.

They point out that abandoning the agreement will remove restrictions on Iran immediately -- rather than in eight years' time -- and that the International Atomic Energy Agency has repeatedly confirmed Tehran is meeting its commitments.

Iran says all of its missiles are designed to carry conventional warheads only and has limited their range to a maximum of 2,000 kilometres, although commanders say they have the technology to go further.

That makes them only medium-range but still sufficient to reach Israel or US bases in the Gulf.

"The ballistic missile which Iran fired is a provocation of the United States and its allies, including Israel," the Israeli defence minister said on Saturday.

"It is also a means to test our reactions as well as new proof of Iran's ambition to become a world power in order to threaten the countries of the Middle East and democratic states around the world," he added.

At Friday's military parade, President Hassan Rouhani hit out at those who "create problems for the peoples of our region every day and boast of selling arms to the bloodthirsty Zionist regime (Israel) which has been attacking the peoples of our region for 70 years like a cancerous tumour."

As well as carrying out missile tests, Iran has also launched a space satellite and fired missiles at Islamic State group targets in eastern Syria in recent months.

Israel says Iran missile test a 'provocation'
Jerusalem (AFP) Sept 23, 2017 - Israel's Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman on Saturday denounced Iran's testing of a medium-range missile as a "provocation" and said it was proof of Tehran's ambition to become a world power.

Iran on Saturday said it had successfully tested a missile with a range of 2,000 kilometres (1,250 miles) and that can carry multiple warheads, in defiance of US warnings.

"The ballistic missile which Iran fired is a provocation of the United States and its allies, including Israel," Lieberman said in a statement.

"It is also a means to test our reactions as well as new proof of Iran's ambition to become a world power in order to threaten the countries of the Middle East and democratic states around the world."

The test comes at the end of a heated week of diplomacy at the UN General Assembly, where both the United States and Israel denounced Iran and its nuclear deal with six world powers.

US President Donald Trump accused Iran of destabilising the Middle East, calling it a "rogue state whose chief exports are violence, bloodshed and chaos".

The American president also threatened to bin the 2015 nuclear accord, saying Iran is developing missiles that could be used to deliver a nuclear warhead.

Echoing him, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said since the deal Iran has been "like a hungry tiger unleashed, not joining the community of nations but devouring nations one after the other".

Netanyahu vowed to fight what he described as "an Iranian curtain" descending on the Middle East, and pledged to prevent Iran from producing any weapons that could hit Israel.

"Those who threaten us with annihilation put themselves in mortal peril. Israel will defend itself with the full force of our arms and the full power of our convictions," Netanyahu said at the UN.

UN inspectors say Iran has fulfilled its commitments to give up its nuclear activities under the agreement, which was reached with the five permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany.

Iran says all of its missiles are designed to carry conventional warheads only, and has limited their range to a maximum of 2,000 kilometres, although commanders say they have the technology to fly further.

That makes them only medium-range but still sufficient to reach Israel or US bases in the Gulf.

MISSILE NEWS
Raytheon receives $31.5M contract for TOW missiles
Washington DC (UPI) Sep 18, 2017
Raytheon Missile Systems has received a $31.5 million modification to an existing contract for domestic and foreign military sales of the BGM-71 TOW guided anti-tank missile. Work will be performed in Tucson and Farmington, Ariz., with the production run projected to end by Dec. 31, 2018, the Department of Defense announced on Friday. The modification provides for TOW missiles fo ... read more

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