Israel: Iran will have U.S.-range missile in 2-3 years (REUTERS) Writing by Jeffrey Heller; Editing by Mark Heinrich JERSALEM, ISRAEL 02/22/12 1:57pm EST)
Reuters News Service
Reuters News Service Articles-Index-Top
(Reuters) - Israel believes that within 2-3 years Iran will have
intercontinental missiles able to hit the United States, an Israeli
minister said in remarks aimed at raising awareness of the threat it
believes a nuclear Iran would pose to the world.
Analysts now estimate the longest range of an Iranian missile to be
about 2,400 km (1,500 miles), capable of reaching Tehran´s arch-enemy
Israel as well as Europe.
But Israel has also been keen to persuade any allies who do not share
their view of the risk posed by Iran that an Islamic Republic with
atom bombs would also threaten the West.
Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz´s assessment, in an interview with
CNBC, was in line with an unclassified U.S. Defense Department report
in 2010 that estimated Iran may be able to build a U.S.-range missile
"They (the Iranians) are working now and investing a lot of billions
of dollars in order to develop intercontinental ballistic missiles,"
said Steinitz, a former chairman of the Israeli parliament´s foreign
affairs and defense committee.
"And we estimate that in two to three years they will have the first
intercontinental ballistic missiles that can reach the east coast of
America. So their aim is to put a direct nuclear ballistic threat ...
to Europe and to the United States of America," he said in English.
Israeli intelligence services keep a close eye on Iran, whose nuclear
program Israelis see as a mortal threat, and are widely believed to
have been behind a series of assassinations of Iranian nuclear
scientists. Israel also has spy satellites.
Steinitz´s remarks coincided with stepped up U.S. efforts to persuade
Israeli leaders that there is still time for diplomacy to keep Tehran
from building a nuclear weapon and growing concerns Israel might opt
to strike Iran pre-emptively.
Three weeks ago, Israeli Vice Prime Minister Moshe Yaalon said Iran
had been working on developing a missile capable of striking the
United States at a military base rocked by an explosion that killed
17 Iranian troops in November.
Yaalon, who is also minister of strategic affairs, said the base was
a research and development facility where Iran was preparing to
produce or develop a missile with a range of 10,000 km (6,000 miles).
(© Thomson Reuters 2012. 02/22/12)
Return to Top
MATERIAL REPRODUCED FOR EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY