In all of the recent discussion about the Gabala radar (the one that Russia leases in Azerbaijan), one bit of news crept out a little while back that I think is worth highlighting.
Apparently a Russian TV crew was allowed to film at the radar station. According to the 10 June broadcast, the station used to track Iranian and Iraqi missile launches back in the day:
bq. The station proved its efficiency back in the time of the Iran-Iraq war. *The Soviet intelligence service received live data on the two warring sides’ missile strikes: the missiles would still be in the air, but the Soviet Union would already know where they were flying, at what speed, and whether they were going to hit the target.*
The radar, it seems, still does this.
According to Sergey Starostin, the Qabala radar station commander,
bq. In January 2007, *a test launch of a Shihab-3 operational-tactical missile from the territory of Iran to the Arabian Sea was spotted.*
According to the announcer, the missile had “*a range of no more than 2,000 km.*”
This is, I think, the first official source I’ve seen which independently confirms that Iran has flight-tested a missile with such a range. The reporting on the subject that I’ve seen cites what the Iranians _say_ about the missile.
For example, I wrote in a “recent _ACT_ article”:http://www.armscontrol.org/act/2007_01-02/IranNK.asp that
bq. During a Nov. 12 television interview, Major General Yahya Rahim-Safavi, commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps indicated that Iran tested a Shahab-3 capable of traveling 2,000 kilometers. Tehran has previously claimed to possess a missile with such a range.
The “2006 NASIC report”:http://www.nukestrat.com/us/afn/NASIC2006.pdf says that Iran has a missile with a range of about 2,000 km. But that estimate is itself based on “statements by Iranian officials.”
Please do something less dorky now, if you can.