Iran's defence minister defends test of missile capable of hitting Israel
TEHRAN (AFP) Jul 09, 2003
Defence Minister Ali Shamkhani on Wednesday defended Iran's testing of a ballistic missile capable of hitting arch-foe Israel, saying the army needed to be assured the device was functional.

"Naturally, when a product is made, it needs to be tested so it can be delivered. Such a test creates confidence for the buyer," the rear admiral and minister told the Iranian student news agency ISNA.

He also shrugged off US fears over the Shahab-3 medium-range missile which is based on North Korea's No-Dong and Pakistan's Ghauri-II and has a range of 1,300 kilometers (810 miles).

"If the Americans are angry after the Shahab-3, they can die angry," Shamkhani was quoted as saying.

On Monday, the Iranian foreign ministry confirmed the Islamic republic had conducted a final test of its Shahab-3, and said the ballistic missile could now be turned over to the armed forces.

In response the White House said Iran's missile and alleged unconventional arms programmes threatened global stability and security, and that it was working with allies to defuse the danger.