JERUSALEM – Iran has received a first batch of BM-25 surface-to-surface missiles that put European countries within firing range, Israel's military intelligence chief, Maj. Gen. Amos Yadlin, was quoted as saying in the Haaretz daily on Thursday.
The missiles, purchased from North Korea, have a range of 1,550 miles and are capable of carrying nuclear warheads, Haaretz reported.
The report comes as U.N. members consider slapping sanctions on Iran for refusing to halt uranium enrichment. The United States, Israel and other Western countries say Iran is trying to get nuclear arms, but the Islamic regime says its nuclear program is for civilian purposes only.
The U.N. Security Council has given Iran until Friday to stop enriching uranium, a necessary step for developing nuclear weapons. Should Iran refuse to comply, which it has indicated it will do, the Security Council is likely to consider taking punitive measures.
Israeli security officials confirmed the Haaretz report. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.
Yadlin has warned of the new Iranian missiles in several recent interviews to the media. Iran already has missiles capable of reaching Israel, but the BM-25 missiles are a significant upgrade over its existing top of the line missiles — the Shihab-4 and Shihab-3.
Those missiles spurred Israel to develop its Arrow 2 anti-ballistic missile system, which is can intercept the Iranian missiles.
Israeli concerns have been heightened in recent months by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's calls to wipe Israel "off the map."
Iran has also tested several long-range missiles in recent weeks, including a "top secret" missile capable of being fired from all military helicopters and jet fighters, the Iranian state-run television reported.
Iran also tested the Fajr-3, a missile it said can avoid radar and hit several targets simultaneously using multiple warheads. Iran also has tested what it calls two new torpedoes.
American intelligence officials have said that Iran is at an advanced stage of developing a missile that can carry a nuclear warhead. The United States has informed the International Atomic Energy Agency of the details of the Iranian missile program.
On Tuesday, Israel launched a satellite meant to spy on Iran's nuclear program. The satellite, launched from Russia, is designed to spot images on the ground as small as 27.5 inches and would allow Israel to monitor Iran's nuclear program and long-range missiles, an Israel defense official said.