Iranian missiles could target W. Europe by 2014: IISS

10th May 2010, Comments 0 comments

Iran could target western Europe with missiles by 2014, experts said in a report published Monday.

Tehran is more than a decade away from developing a missile capable of reaching the US east coast, the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) said in a report on Iran's ballistic missile capabilities.

The London-based group said Iran was making "robust strides" in developing ballistic missiles "in tandem" with its efforts to expand its nuclear capabilities.

"The two programmes appear to be connected, with the aim of giving Iran the capability to deliver nuclear warheads well beyond its borders," it said.

Iran's ballistic missiles could be used to wage a terror campaign in the Middle East, it added, although its missiles are at present too inaccurate to shut down another country's critical military activities.

While Iran has been alongside North Korea in developing missile capabilities, Tehran has now surpassed Pyongyang in terms of technical ability, the IISS experts said.

The United States and Europe have long accused Iran of seeking to develop nuclear weapons under the guise of its civilian nuclear energy programme, charges Tehran denies.

"Flight test programmes for solid-propellant missiles historically take on average more than four years," the report said.

"To achieve a reasonable measure of reliability and confidence, a dozen or more test flights should be conducted.

"Therefore, Iran is not likely to field a liquid-fuelled missile capable of targeting western Europe before 2014 or 2015."

© 2010 AFP

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