Iran unveiled a new version of a ballistic missile with a range of 2,000 kilometers (1,242 miles), enough to hit areas of Israel, local media reported Thursday.
The Kheibar missile — the latest version of the Khorramshahr, which is Iran’s longest-range missile to date — was unveiled alongside a replica of the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem’s Old City, in a live broadcast on state television.
The announcement of the missile came days after Israel’s IDF Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi and other top military officials warned of a possible war with Iran over its nuclear program.
Iran’s defense minister, Mohammad-Reza Ashtiani, said the missile was unveiled as part of moves to “provide comprehensive support to our friends and countries that are on the path of fighting against the domination system.”
“Our message to Iran’s enemies is that we will defend the country and its achievements,” Ashtiani said, Reuters reported citing Iran’s state news agency IRNA. “Our message to our friends is that we want to help regional stability.”
IRNA said the Kheibar is “a liquid fuel missile with a range of 2,000 kilometers and a 1,500-kilogram warhead.”
Its name references the ancient town of Khaybar — located in modern-day Saudi Arabia — known for a decisive 7th-century battle in which the army of Prophet Muhammad defeated its thousands of Jewish residents.
According to state media, the speed of the high-mobility tactical missile “can reach Mach 16 outside the atmosphere and Mach 8 inside the atmosphere.”
Iran unveils the newest generation of Khorramshahr ballistic missile, a medium-range precision-guided projectile named Kheibar pic.twitter.com/Wz214e6NfJ
— PressTV Extra (@PresstvExtra) May 25, 2023
On Tuesday, Israel’s top military commander Halevi cautioned that Iran was drawing close to the point when Israel would be forced to act against its nuclear program.
“Iran has made more progress in uranium enrichment than ever before. We are also closely examining other aspects of the [Iranians’] path to nuclear capability,” Herzi said at a conference hosted by the Institute for Policy and Strategy of Reichman University in Herzliya.
“Without going into details, there are possible negative developments on the horizon that could prompt action,” Halevi said.
Israel sees Iran as an existential threat and has repeatedly said it will act alone if necessary to prevent the Islamic Republic from obtaining nuclear weapons, including a strike on its facilities.