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Friday, December 14, 2007       Free Headline Alerts

China supplied the technology for Iran's first solid-fuel missile

JERUSALEM Iran has developed its first intermediate-range solid-fuel ballistic missile.

Israeli intelligence sources said Iran has developed a solid-fuel missile with a range of 2,000 kilometers.

The intelligence sources said Iran acquired solid-fuel technology from China. In 2002, Iran developed the Fateh-110 single-stage solid-propellant, surface-to-surface missile with a range of 200 kilometers, Middle East Newsline reported.

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Iran has also reported the development of a supercomputer for dual-use applications. The semi-official Fars News Agency reported that the computer contained 216 AMD processors and a "theoretical peak performance of 860 gig-flops."

The sources said the Ashoura missile, similar in range to the Shihab-3, would enable Iran to rapidly prepare an attack against Israel.

"This is a major development and exceeds the achievement of Shihab-3," an intelligence source said.

The sources said the liquid-fuel Shihab-3 required up to 14 hours of launch preparations. In contrast, Ashoura could be stored with its solid fuel and taken directly from the warehouse to the launcher.

Teheran was expected to begin serial production of Ashoura. The sources said the missile was probably designed to carry nuclear warheads.

Iran has reported the development of Ashoura but provided few details. Iranian Defense Minister Mostafa Najar said the missile's range was 2,000 kilometers.

In another development, Iran and Russia have agreed on plans to complete the Bushehr nuclear energy reactor. Russia's state-owned Atomstroiexport, prime contractor of Bushehr, said the timetable would be announced over the next two weeks.

"We have resolved all the problems with the Iranians," Atomstroiexport president Sergei Shmatko said. "We have agreed with our Iranian colleagues on a timetable for completing the plant, and we will make an announcement at the end of December."

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