New Iranian launch-site will test missiles, experts believe

JERUSALEM (JTA) — A newly constructed rocket-launch site near Tehran is likely to be used for testing ballistic missiles, experts say.

The new launch site, located near the town of Shahrud, about 60 miles northeast of Tehran, does not have storage facilities for liquid rocket fuel used in Iran’s space program, leading analysts to believe that it will be used to test ballistic missiles that use solid fuel, according to the British Telegraph newspaper.

Satellite images of the site were published this week in IHS Jane’s Military and Security Assessments.

Analyses of the images, which point to missile launching, come weeks after Iran said it would use the new launch site to launch satellites as part of its space program. The site is is close to an existing Iranian space center.

Western countries worry that the long-range ballistic technology used to shoot Iranian satellites into space could be used to carry nuclear warheads.

Newly elected Iranian President Hassan Rohani said earlier this week that he is ready to enter direct negotiations with the West over his country’s nuclear program, saying that his country is “very seriously determined to solve the nuclear issue.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has called Rohani “a wolf in sheep’s clothing” and said that the talks are a ploy to allow Iran to continue enriching uranium.  

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