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Friday, March 13, 2009
Iran missile, nuclear threat 'real, dangerous' - Russian analyst

"The real threat is that Iran, which is already ignoring all resolutions and
sanctions issued by the UN Security Council, will be practically
'untouchable' after acquiring nuclear-power status, and will be able to
expand its support of terrorist organizations, including Hamas and
Hezbollah," the expert said.

Iran missile, nuclear threat 'real, dangerous' - Russian analyst
17:35|12/ 03/ 2009
http://en.rian.ru/russia/20090312/120537431.html

MOSCOW, March 12 (RIA Novosti) - Russia and the West would be making a big
mistake if they ignored or underestimated the potential missile and nuclear
threat coming from Iran, a Russian military expert said on Thursday.
"Iran is actively working on a missile development program. I won't say the
Iranians will be able to develop intercontinental ballistic missiles in the
near future, but they will most likely be able to threaten the whole of
Europe," said Maj. Gen. Vladimir Dvorkin, head of the Moscow-based Center
for Strategic Nuclear Forces.
Some Western and Russian sources claim that Iran may be currently running a
program, dubbed Project Koussar, to develop a totally different missile with
a range of 4,000-5,000 km (2,500-3,300 miles).
"Iran has long abandoned outdated missile technologies and is capable of
producing sophisticated missile systems," Dvorkin said at a news conference
in RIA Novosti.
Iran successfully launched last year an upgraded Shahab-3 ballistic missile
as part of a navy exercise, dubbed Great Prophet 3, in the Persian Gulf and
the Strait of Hormuz.
With a reported range of 2,000 kilometers and armed with a 1-ton
conventional warhead, the Shahab-3 puts Israel, Turkey, the Arabian
peninsula, Afghanistan and Pakistan within striking distance.
Western powers led by the United States, along with Israel, accuse Tehran of
attempting to develop nuclear weapons and ballistic missile technology for
their delivery. Iran says it needs its nuclear program for the peaceful
generation of electricity and missile program for space exploration.
Iran has consistently defied international demands to halt its nuclear
program and insists it plans to use enriched uranium fuel produced at a
uranium enrichment facility at Natanz in its first domestically-built
nuclear power plant, in the town of Darkhovin, which is scheduled to become
operational in 2016.
Tehran announced in late February that it had 6,000 operating centrifuges at
Natanz and was planning to install a total of 50,000 over the next five
years.
Commenting on the Iranian nuclear program, Dvorkin said the potential danger
of its military aspect was not the possibility of a nuclear strike against
some countries, but the ability to assume a more bold approach in dealing
with the international community after becoming a nuclear power.
"The real threat is that Iran, which is already ignoring all resolutions and
sanctions issued by the UN Security Council, will be practically
'untouchable' after acquiring nuclear-power status, and will be able to
expand its support of terrorist organizations, including Hamas and
Hezbollah," the expert said.
He added that the possession of nuclear weapons by Iran could force
non-nuclear countries to seek similar weapons and ballistic missile
technologies thus starting a nuclear race and increasing the possibility of
a nuclear conflict.
Dvorkin has had a role in writing all major strategy documents for the
Strategic Nuclear Forces and the Strategic Missile Forces. As an expert in
the field he participated in preparing the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces
(INF) Treaty and the START I and START II pacts, and has made a significant
contribution to formulating Soviet and Russian positions at negotiations on
strategic offensive arms control and reduction.

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