Report: Iran Produces New Missile Capable of Reaching the Mideast

Iran said Tuesday it has manufactured a new missile with a range of 1,200 miles capable of reaching Israel and U.S. bases in the Mideast, the official news agency IRNA reported.

Iran's Defense Minister Gen. Mostafa Mohammad Najjar said the Ashoura missile was produced by factories affiliated with the ministry, according to IRNA. He did not say whether Iran has test fired the missile or has plans to do so.

Many of Iran's weapons development claims have not been independently verified.

Iran launched an arms development program during its war with Iraq to compensate for a U.S. weapons embargo. Since 1992, Iran has reportedly produced its own jets, torpedoes, radar-avoiding missiles, tanks and armored personnel carriers.

Recent weapons development has been motivated by Iran's standoff with the U.S. over its controversial nuclear program, which Washington claims is a cover for weapons development — a charge Tehran denies.

Iran is known to possess a medium-range ballistic missile known as the Shahab-3, with a range of at least 800 miles. In 2005, Iranian officials said they had improved the range of the Shahab-3 to 1,200 miles, equal to the new missile announced Tuesday.

Najjar did not elaborate about the differences between the Ashoura missile and the Shahab-3 missile.

In September during a military parade, Iran introduced the Ghadr missile, which has a range of 1,119 miles.

Experts also believe Iran is developing the Shahab-4 missile, thought to have a range between 1,200 and 1,900 miles, that would enable it to hit much of Europe.