Iran says it has conducted a test launch of a new missile with a range of 2,000 km, capable of hitting Israel

Iran has unveiled a new version of a ballistic missile with a range of 2,000 kilometers (1,242 mi), enough to hit areas in Israel.

The Kheibar missile — the latest version of the Khorramshahr, Iran’s longest-range missile to date — was unveiled Thursday next to a replica of the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem’s Old City, in a live broadcast on the state television.

Iran said the missile had been successfully tested, with state television broadcasting a few seconds of footage of what it believes was the launch.

The announcement of the missile came days after Israeli IDF Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi and other top military officials warned of a possible war with Iran over its nuclear program.

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Iran’s Defense Minister Mohammad-Reza Ashtiani said the missile was unveiled as part of steps to “provide comprehensive support to our friends and countries on their way to fight against the system of domination”.

“Our message to Iran’s enemies is that we will defend the country and its achievements,” Ashtiani said, Reuters reported citing Iran’s state news agency IRNA. “Our message to our friends is that we want to help regional stability.”

In this photo released by the Iranian Ministry of Defense on Thursday, May 25, 2023, the Khorramshahr-4 missile is launched at an undisclosed location, Iran. (Iranian Ministry of Defense via AP)

IRNA said the Kheibar is “a liquid-fueled missile with a range of 2,000 kilometers and a warhead of 1,500 kilograms”.

The name refers to the ancient city of Khaybar – located in modern-day Saudi Arabia – known for a decisive battle in the 7th century in which the army of the Prophet Muhammad defeated its thousands of Jewish inhabitants.

According to state media, the speed of the highly mobile tactical missile can “reach Mach 16 outside the atmosphere and Mach 8 inside the atmosphere.”

On Tuesday, Israel’s top military commander, Halevi, warned that Iran was approaching the point where Israel would be forced to act against its nuclear program.

“Iran has made more progress in uranium enrichment than ever before. We are also closely examining other aspects of the (Iranian) road to nuclear capability,” Herzi said at a conference organized by the Institute of Policy and Strategy at Reichman University in Herzliya.

“Without going into details, there are possible negative developments on the horizon that could lead to action,” Halevi said.

Israel sees Iran as an existential threat and has repeatedly said it will act only if necessary to prevent the Islamic Republic from acquiring nuclear weapons, including attacking its facilities.

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