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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

RFE/RL IRAN REPORT, Vol. 3, No. 42, 6 November 2000


Japanese Foreign Minister Yohei Kono expressed concern about the similarity between Iran's ballistic missiles and North Korea's Scud-C and Nodong-1 missiles in a meeting with his Iranian counterpart, Kamal Kharrazi. According to the Japanese Foreign Ministry, Kharrazi replied that Iran is developing its own missiles and it does not need any help from North Korea. "It has been developed independently and had nothing to do with other countries at all," Kharrazi said about the Shihab-3 missile.

President Mohammad Khatami also denied allegations that Iran has received missile technology from North Korea. He claimed that Iran has developed its missiles independently, "Yomiuri Shimbun" reported on 1 November.

Khatami and Kharrazi's statements about self- sufficiency in weapons development are false. Given recent reports about the Shihab-3's failures, it would be even more embarrassing if they were true. The 21 September flight test of the Shihab-3 near Semnan was a flop, either because of propulsion pitfalls or directional difficulties, "Jane's Intelligence Review" reported on 1 November. There has been only one successful test of the Shiahb-3, and it only flew about 800-900 kilometers, rather than the 1,300 kilometers Tehran claimed. In addition to North Korean involvement in developing missiles, Russia leads in providing technical and material assistance at the Shahid Hemat Industrial Group and the Shahid Bagheri Industrial Group, where most of the missile development activity takes place. (Bill Samii)

Copyright (c) 2000. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.

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