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Iran unveils missile it claims can travel 900 miles – enough to hit US bases

Iranian Kheibar Shekan missile. (Tasnim News Agency/Released)
February 09, 2022

This is a breaking news story. Please check back for updates as more information becomes available.

Iran unveiled a new missile on Wednesday that it claims can travel up to 900 miles, placing more U.S. bases in the Middle East within its potential striking distances.

Iran’s state-run Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) announced the new missile, dubbed the “Kheibar Shekan,” claiming the missile could fly 1,450 kilometers (about 900 miles). The reported 900-mile flight distance puts U.S. bases in Iraq and the Arabian peninsula range of a potential attack.

Other Iranian state-run media outlets, such as Tasnim News Agency, also publicized the unveiling of the missile.

“#Iran’s newly unveiled Kheibarshekan (meaning Castle Buster) strategic missile can hit the targets within a range of 1,450 kilometers with pinpoint accuracy,” Tasnim tweeted.

The unveiling of this new missile comes ahead of the 43rd anniversary of the Iranian revolution, which concluded in February of 1979 and led to the formation of Iran’s modern Islamic government.

The new missile also comes as President Joe Biden’s administration continues negotiating for a restart of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.

Kheibar refers to an oasis in modern-day Saudi Arabia, which had been controlled by Jewish tribes prior to the rise of Islam as a religious movement. Muslim warriors took control of the oasis during the Battle of Kheibar in 628. The term Kheibar Shekan means Kheibar buster and thus refers to a Muslim defeat of a Jewish tribe.

According to IRNA, the new missile uses a solid fuel system as opposed to liquid fuel. With solid fuel, a rocket or missile can be stored with the fuel onboard in a ready-to-use state, while liquid fuel must be stored separately and a rocket or missile has to be fueled as a separate step before launch. Solid fuel also allows missiles to be more easily moved and even placed on mobile launchers. Solid fuel is also considered a key feature for intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM).

IRNA reported the new missile takes can be prepared to launch six times faster than similar missile models and is a third lighter than those similar missiles.

The Iranian news agency said the missile is highly accurate and “enjoys high maneuverability” to help it evade missile defenses.

Tasnim reported Maj. Gen. Mohammad Hossein Baqeri, the chief of staff of the Iranian Armed Force, said Iran will continue to expand its missile quantities and capabilities to challenge “aggressors, the global arrogance and the homicidal Zionists” — terms Iran uses to refer to the U.S. and Israel.