14 November 2008
Iran successfully tests Sajjil missile
Tehran - Iran has successfully test-fired a new generation of its longer range surface-to-surface missiles using solid fuel, making them more accurate than its predecessors, the defence minister announced on Wednesday.
Mostafa Mohammed Najjar said on state television that the Sajjil was a high-speed missile manufactured at the Iranian Aerospace department of the Defence Ministry. He said it had a range of about 2 000 kilometres.
At that range it could reach Greece and Bulgaria in south-eastern Europe, as well as easily strike arch-foe Israel.
Solid fuel missiles are more accurate than the liquid fuel missiles of similar range currently possessed by Iran.
The official IRNA news agency said the test was conducted yesterday and television showed the missile being fired from a launching pad in a desert region.
"This missile is a two-stage weapon with two combined solid-fuel engines and has an extraordinary high capability," the television quote Najjar as saying. He didn't elaborate.
Najjar said the missile was a defensive weapon and not a response to threats against Iran. He didn't name any country, but Israel has recently threatened to take military action against Iran to stop Tehran from developing a nuclear bomb.
"This missile test was conducted within the framework of a defensive, deterrent strategy … and specifically with defensive objectives," Najjar added.
The name "Sajjil" means "baked clay", a reference to a story in the Qur'an in which birds sent by God drive off an enemy army attacking Mecca by pelting them with stones of baked clay.