TEHRAN, Iran — Iran on Wednesday test fired an upgraded version of an advanced missile capable of hitting Israel and parts of Europe, an apparent show of strength aimed at discouraging attacks on its nuclear facilities.
The test of the medium-range Sajjil-2 fueled calls for tougher sanctions against Tehran, which has resisted U.N. demands that it rein in its nuclear ambitions. Iran touted the launch as a success proving it can deter any U.S. or Israeli military strike against its nuclear facilities.
“This is a matter of serious concern to the international community and it does make the case for us moving further on sanctions. We will treat this with the seriousness it deserves,” British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said after talks with U.N. chief Ban Ki-Moon in Copenhagen.
Britain’s Foreign Office said Iran has the “clear intention to extend the range of its missiles,” calling the launch “the wrong signal to send when the international community is trying to find a diplomatic solution” to its growing nuclear program.
Wednesday’s test was the third for the Sajjil-2 since it was unveiled in May. The missile has the longest range of any in Iran’s arsenal, about 1,900 kilometres — putting Israel, Iran’s sworn enemy, and U.S. bases in the Gulf region well within reach. It could also reach parts of southeastern and eastern Europe.
Iran has dramatically accelerated its domestic missile program in recent years, part of a bid to depict itself as a military and technological power and reduce its past reliance on purchases abroad.