Khamenei OKs delivery of new missile to military

Monday, July 21, 2003

Iran has delivered what officials said are the first Shihab-3 missiles to the military.

"The IRGC air force also took delivery of Shihab-3 long-range missile from the Defense Ministry on the occasion of the Supreme Leader's inspection," the official Islamic Republic News Agency said.

Officials said the air force of the Iranian Republican Guard Corps formally received three Shihab-3 intermediate-range missiles on Sunday. The missiles were displayed during a parade attended by Iranian supreme leader Ali Khamenei and broadcast live on state television, Middle East Newsline reported.

"The Supreme Leader lauded the achievements of the IRGC air force as 'surprising.'"

Iran successfully tested its Shihab-3 missile in late June. Officials said the test led to a decision to begin delivery of the missile to Iran's military.

"The force is ready to defend against any threat," Iranian Republican Guard Corps commander Gen. Yehya Rahim Safavi said.

The June launch of the Shihab-3 was said to have reached 1,380 kilometers. It was the first time the missile ever reached such a range since testing began in 1998.

The United States has expressed concern over Iran's Shihab-3 as well as its nuclear program. U.S. officials said the International Atomic Energy Agency is expected to report in September that Iran has enriched uranium without authorization, a violation of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

"The IAEA laid out a whole lot of information of what they've been finding," State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said on Friday. "We're also looking for additional information from recent visits and from the results of the sampling that they've done, and I'm sure they'll be producing that information when it's ready."

In the Teheran parade, Iran also displayed a range of aircraft, including the Russian-origin Su-25 fighter-jet. Khamenei reviewed such platforms as air transports, helicopters and unmanned air vehicles.

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