Iran Test-Fires Long Range Missile

September 28, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
Iran has test-fired its longest-range missiles to date, capable of striking Israel and U.S. military bases in the Persian Gulf. This after United States, with Britain and France, accused Iran of hiding a second uranium enrichment facility in its nuclear program. It's not the first time Iran's Revolutionary Guards have test fired their long-range Shihab 3 missiles.

But in Israel the timing, just days after President Obama revealed the existence of Iran's secret uranium enrichment plant, is being seen as act of defiance. The Shihab 3 can fly 1,200 miles, far enough to hit Israel's cities and US military bases in the Gulf.

The Iranians are describing the tests as defensive, but they know Israel has long advocated the military option against its nuclear program should diplomacy and sanctions fail. The tests are a signal that Iran may be capable of deadly retaliation.

It's the combination of Iran's secretive enrichment program and its ballistic missiles that scares the Israelis. With Iran's president continuing to deny the Holocaust and his past promises to wipe Israel from the map An Iranian bomb atop a long range missile is Israel's doomsday scenario.

For now, Israel is "going along" with President Obama's policy of engagement and threats of sanctions, but its air force is training for other options should the talks fail.

Israel will be closely watching this week's meeting in Geneva between the Iranians and the Western powers, including the U.S. Israelis want tougher sanctions and a limited timetable for diplomacy.

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