The Times today:
On the website you will find a picture and information from Jane’s Intelligence Review that supposedly indicate Iran is about 5 years from developing a 5000 miles range missile, which is capable of hitting targets within Europe. The link provided by The Times doesn’t take you to the article mentioned, however, and maybe this is why. The Times says:
The secret site where Iran is suspected of developing long-range ballistic missiles capable of reaching targets in Europe has been uncovered by new satellite photographs.
The imagery has pinpointed the facility from where the Iranians launched their Kavoshgar 1 “research rocket” on February 4, claiming that it was in connection with their space programme.
Analysis of the photographs taken by the Digital Globe QuickBird satellite four days after the launch has revealed a number of intriguing features that indicate to experts that it is the same site where Iran is focusing its efforts on developing a ballistic missile with a range of about 6,000km (4,000 miles).
Jane’s press center where you can find the information is a bit more careful and compares the missile site to the North Korean endeavours to build long-range missiles. The latest launch on April 4, which Iranian propaganda hyped up to indicate Iran was on it’s way into space was, according to JIR, no significant improvement to the already existent technology:
On 4 February 2008, Iran displayed its ability to launch its Kavoshgar 1 (Explorer 1) research rocket. Iranian statements claim that this recent launch was of a two-stage missile which would indicate a significant enhancement in Iran’s capabilities. However, closer inspection of the footage from the launch shows it to be a single-stage, liquid-propelled missile.
I guess we Europeans can relax and will not face an Iranian missile attack in the near future. More worrying is the fact that the rhetoric against Iran is obviously being stepped up again. General Petraeus, Ambassador Crocker and President Bush have emphasized the alleged threat by Iran during the last couple of days again. And press releases like the one mentioned above, which are so eerily reminiscent of the “proof” they had about Iraq’s WMD program, make me feel a little apprehensive, to say the least.