Bloomberg: U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said, while Iran was trying to show it is “tough” by test- firing a ballistic missile able to hit Israel, any use of the weapon would invite consequences understood by Iranian leaders. By Edward DeMarco
Nov. 2 (Bloomberg) — U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said, while Iran was trying to show it is “tough” by test- firing a ballistic missile able to hit Israel, any use of the weapon would invite consequences understood by Iranian leaders.
The Iranian government is “not unaware that the security environment is one in which, if they actually were to do something, Iran would suffer greatly,” Rice told a radio interviewer today in Cincinnati, according to a transcript.
Iran announced the test-firing of a Shahab-3 missile capable of traveling 2,000 kilometers (1,243 miles), a range that puts Israel’s major cities within reach.
The test, which took place during military exercises, came as the U.S. is pressing the United Nations Security Council to impose sanctions on Iran for defying a UN deadline to stop enriching uranium.
President George W. Bush says Iran’s nuclear program is a cover for weapons development, while Iranian officials insist the effort is aimed at producing energy in the oil-exporting nation. Iran, a signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, says the uranium is needed to supply power stations.
Iran’s latest claim for the missile’s range is “plausible,” said Duncan Lennox, editor of Jane’s Strategic Weapon Systems journal, in a telephone interview from London. The test illustrates “a continuation of Iran’s development of missile capabilities, no less and no more,” he said.
Bush has said he wants a diplomatic solution to the nuclear dispute. He hasn’t ruled out military action. U.S. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack described the test as “saber rattling” that “underscores the fact that Iran is, at this point in time, with this regime, not a source of stability in the region.”
A draft UN resolution, drawn up by European governments and backed by the U.S., would freeze the financial assets of people or “entities” associated with Iran’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs. Russia and China have said the proposed penalties go too far and more talks with Iran are needed.
Rice predicted in the radio interview with the “Bill Cunningham Show” that those objections would be overcome.
“I think they will go along,” Rice said. “As a matter of fact, they are pledged to — from the last resolution we had — that we will seek sanctions under a Security Council resolution.”
Iran’s war games, which began today, involve the four forces of the Revolutionary Guards, its commander, Yahya Rahim Safavi, was cited as saying by the Fars news agency. The maneuvers are mainly “a show of national power and determination for widespread defense in the face of threats,” he said.
Iran’s military exercises follow naval maneuvers led by the U.S. in the Persian Gulf earlier this week.