Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Ashoura missile test?

Contradictory statements exist on whether the new Iranian Ashoura missile was tested or not.

One of the firsts to report on the Ashoura test was Jane’s. According to its information – as of November 26 - Iran is preparing to test-launch the Ashoura. At Spacewar.com one can read that the Ashoura tests were already conducted and timed to coincide with the Annapolis conference. The New Delhi IPCS published a few days later on December 5 an article on the implications of Iran’s Ashoura test. The article starts off by saying that “Iran claimed to have carried out a successful test of its long-range missile”. The Russian news agency ITAR-TASS is more cautious. It reported on December 7 that Russia has no data to confirm reports by Iranian leaders that Teheran has tested a new long-range ballistic missile Ashoura.

These reports provide no information on the sources on which their statements on the test-launch are based on.

The Iranian news agencies contain no reference to a missile test. The Fars News Agency writes that the Iranian Defense Minister Mostafa Mohammad Najjar did not give details about the missiles besides stating that Iran has built the Ashoura. The same is true for the Alalam News. Even the AP refers to the official Islamic Republic News Agency, IRNA, and reports that the Defense Minister “did not say whether Iran had test fired the Ashoura or had plans to do so”.

Iran is not known for being modest in reporting about its achievements in the military field. For that reason it can be assumed that a test-launch of the Ashoura would have been publicized widely. Even if it ended in a failure the officials would have come up with a creative way to celebrate the “partial success”.

Due to the lack of such announcements it can be assumed we still have to wait a while, before the missile reaches the testing level. But it is a nice way to see that the propaganda works.

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