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Foreign Report: Iran Tests Long-Range, Nuclear-Capable Cruise Missile

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Ryan Pickrell China/Asia Pacific Reporter
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Iran reportedly tested a nuclear-capable cruise missile Sunday, according to foreign reports.

In addition to testing a medium-range ballistic missile, which the U.S. Department of State confirmed Monday, Iran is believed to have also tested a nuclear-capable Sumar cruise-missile, German newspaper Die Welt reported Thursday, citing intelligence sources.

News of the cruise missile test broke shortly after the Trump administration put Iran “on notice” for recent aggressive and provocative behavior.

The missile flew over 600 kilometers. Iran revealed that it was in possession of this type of weapon in March 2015; however, this would constitute the first successful test.

Iran has been working on this technology for almost two decades.

Around the turn of the century, Iran purchased half a dozen Russian Kh-55 cruise missiles on the black market from the Ukraine. Iran’s engineers disassembled the weapons, harvested the technology, and built the Sumar.

Iran revealed in 2012 that it had a cruise missile program. When the Sumar was first revealed, Col. Aviram Hasson of Israel’s Missile Defense Organization said that “this missile represents a significant leap in the Middle East arms race.”

Based on the Russian Kh-55, the Sumar cruise missile is believed to have a range between 2,000 and 3,000 kilometers, which would put not only Israel, but parts of Europe within its reach.

Furthermore, the missile can reportedly be fired from land-, air-, and sea-based weapons platforms. Iran could theoretically outfit its planes, submarines, and ships with long-range missiles capable of carrying a nuclear warhead.

Cruise missiles are also harder to counter than ballistic missiles. They fly at low altitudes, can evade skirt radar systems, confuse missile defense systems, and penetrate deep into enemy territory.

A German military expert told Die Welt that the cruise missile “is the preferred long-range weapon.”

While a nuclear-capable cruise missile has the potential to cause more devastation than an Iranian ballistic missile, cruise missiles are not included in the United Nations resolutions restricting ballistic missile development.

Regardless, Iran appears to be resisting international pressure. “The recent test was in line with our plans, and we will not allow foreigners to interfere in our defense affairs,” Hossein Dehghan, the Iranian defence minister, said.

Germany’s intelligence agency and Iran have yet to officially confirm the cruise missile test.

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Tags : iran
Ryan Pickrell