Iran Missile Test

Iran’s test of a new, longer-range ballistic missile on Wednesday as part of a series of ballistic missile tests on that day should be a clear sign to Russia that there is “reason to be worried” about Iran, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said at a Pentagon press conference on July 9. He said Russia should take notice, and consider this new development in its assessment of Iran’s intentions and the utility of a ballistic missile defense system in Europe oriented against Iran. Gates said he did not think Russia would supply Iran with long-range missiles “anytime soon.” He acknowledged that the rhetoric is heating up between Iran and Israel, noted Israel’s recent Iran-oriented wargames and Iran’s missile test, and warned all parties to think hard about the consequences of pushing things too far. As for the US, Gates said that diplomatic and economic measures will continue to be the best means to address Iran’s pursuit of nuclear arms. The Iranian tests on July 9, which the White House condemned, came one day after the United States and Czech Republic signed an agreement on the placement of a sophisticated tracking radar in the Eastern European country next decade as part of the BMD system that the US champions to protect Europe from missile threats. The US is still negotiating with Poland on the placement of anti-missile interceptors in that country to round out the system. Iran said it launched a second series of missiles yesterday, but the US disputed this claim, saying there was evidence that only one was launched.