Iran on Wednesday unveiled a long-range ballistic missile that reportedly has the capability of striking US military bases in the region and can also target its archenemy Israel. The unveiling of the new missile comes as indirect talks between Washington and Tehran meant to salvage the 2015 nuclear agreement resume in Vienna.
According to state television, the missile named Khaibar-buster uses solid fuel and is capable of breaching missile defenses while landing with high maneuverability. The new missile has a 900-mile range (1,450 km). The nearest point between Israel and Iran is roughly 620 miles (1,000 km).
Displaying Its Might
Iran is also said to have missiles with a range of up to 1,250 miles (2,000 km). The new long-range ballistic missiles were displayed on Iran's state television on Wednesday. The new surface-to-surface ballistic missile called the Khaibar-buster is a reference to the Jewish oasis Khaibar in present-day Saudi Arabia that was overrun by Muslim warriors in the 7th century.
"This long-range missile is domestically manufactured by the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) ... It has high accuracy and is propelled by solid fuel and is capable of penetrating missile shields," Iranian state media reported.
Iran claims the missile has exceptional accuracy, is made completely domestically and can bypass missile defense systems. Moreover, the missile is propelled by solid fuel.
According to Iran's Tasnim News Agency, the updated design of Kheibar-buster has lowered its weight by a third compared to similar missiles, while its launch preparation time has been cut in half. Its agility and great velocity in hitting targets are among its other characteristics.
U.S and Israel Within Range
Iran said that both the United States and Israel is within the missile's range, which definitely raises concern. "Iran will continue advancing its ballistic missile program," Iran armed forces chief of staff Maj.-Gen. Mohammad Bagheri said at a ceremony where the new missile was on display, Iranian media reported.
Israel has consistently threatened military action against Iran if the nuclear talks fail to stop Tehran from developing nuclear weapons.
The news comes as talks in Vienna continue to try to resurrect Iran's tattered nuclear pact with world powers. Iran argues that its missile program is solely a deterrent, despite the fact that it has long said that it does not desire nuclear weapons.
Iran accused the United States of breaking the provisions of the treaty when the Trump administration dropped out of the agreement and reimposed economic penalties, and began enriching uranium above the agreement's limitations.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the Biden administration, which has attempted to re-enter the agreement, assessed late last year that Iran will be able to amass enough fissile material to manufacture a nuclear bomb in less than a year because its weapons program is too advanced.
Iran possesses missiles with a range of 1,250 miles. It tested an engine for a solid-fuel rocket designed to loft satellites earlier in January.