TEHRAN(AP) – Iran unveiled the latest version of its liquid-fueled Khoramshahr ballistic missile amid mounting tensions with the West over its nuclear program.
At an event in Tehran, authorities showed journalists the Khoram Shahr-4, which carries missiles in a truck-mounted launcher.
Defense Minister Mohammad Reza Ashtiani said the missile could be ready for launch in a short time.
“One of the great features of this missile is that it evades radar detection and its low radar signal allows it to penetrate enemy air defense systems,” he told reporters. “This missile can deploy different warheads for different missions.”
Iranian officials explained that the missile has a range of 2,000 kilometers (1,240 miles) and a warhead of 1,500 kilometers (3,300 pounds). It also released an undated video footage of the successful missile launch.
The Khoramshaar carries the heaviest payload of Iran’s ballistic missile fleet, and analysts say it is designed to keep the weapon’s range below the 2,000-kilometer range limit set by the country’s supreme leader. It is possible that This puts most of the Middle East within range, but not Western Europe.
Khoramshahr-4 is named after an Iranian city that was the scene of heavy fighting during the Iran-Iraq War of the 1980s. Iraq occupied the oil-rich southwestern province of Khuzestan early in the war, but Iran recaptured it more than a year later.
During the event, speakers performed an orchestral piece, “Khoramshahr Epic Symphony,” which commemorates the Iranian soldiers who ended Iraq’s siege of the city during the war. After suffering Iraqi Scud missile attacks in the conflict, the Iranian government developed a ballistic missile program as a hedge against Western militants whose access to modern fighter jets has been hampered by embargoes.
The rocket is also called a Kaybar, after the Jewish fortress of what is now Saudi Arabia, which was conquered by Muslims in the 7th century.
Regional tensions may have contributed to Iran’s missile launch on Thursday. Next to the mobile launcher stands a miniature of Jerusalem’s Golden Dome of the Rock on the grounds of Al-Aqsa Mosque, a holy site for Islam and Judaism and called the Temple Mount by Jews.
Iran sees Israel as its arch-enemy and has armed anti-Israel militants in the Palestinian territories and neighboring countries. Tensions between the two countries are rising, especially as Iran enriches uranium closer to weapons-grade than ever before. The Khoramshahr River could reach Israel.
But Iran insisted on covering the trucks carrying the missiles during the event. Iran’s missile program has been the target of sabotage in the past, and Iran has a history of using foreign vehicles to haul such massive missile systems.
However, it remains unclear why the missile was named Khoramshaar 4, as he is the only two other publicly known variants of the missile. It is modeled after North Korea’s Musudan ballistic missile and is thought to have a range of up to 4,000 kilometers and a payload of 500 kilograms (1,100 pounds).