Iran is set to test a two-stage Safir-type missile in space shortly, in preparation for boosting a 200 kg reconnaissance satellite into orbit, DEBKA-Net-Weekly's military and intelligence sources report. In fact, the space test is a cover for launching the 2,500 km-range Shehab-4 ballistic missile into operational service.
The Safir (Messenger or Ambassador in Persian) rocket was first used on Feb. 2, 2009, to place the first Iranian-made satellite, the Omid (Hope) into low earth orbit for data-processing, research and telecommunications. It was confirmed by NASA as a success.
Iranian military and political sources believe the West will be struck dumb by the new Iranian missile going operational and its amazing range, which brings some European capitals within reach. Most of all, they hope Israel will count the cost before striking at their nuclear installations.
DEBKA-Net-Weekly 419 of October 30 reported that Iran was winding up its preparations for a possible American or Israeli attack on its nuclear projects. This week, US intelligence observers saw Iranian work crews digging silos for long-range missiles. They believe that many are diversions. Judging from the missile technologies Iran received last month from Russia and China, its engineers are aiming to design a nuclear missile on the same lines as Pakistan's intermediate ballistic Ghauri lll.
Tehran wants to astound the world
Based on earlier models, the Ghauri III has three liquid-fuel stages and a planned range of more than 3,000 km, the longest of any Pakistani missile.
Our western intelligence sources estimate that it is Iran's goal is to go one better, by powering two of its three stages with solid fuel like their own two-stage Sajil 2 missile. The Islamic regime will then, according to DEBKA-Net-Weekly intelligence sources, try and astound the world by producing a three-stage ballistic missile – all of whose stages are powered with solid fuel.
According to Western intelligence, the scientific and technical teams working on the Sajil/Shehab project have been segregated from the space/2,500 km-range missile, but both are now supervised by the Office of the Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei. The program's overall objective is to turn out hundreds of missiles in quantities for overwhelming US and Israel missile shields.