Iran unveils new missile with announced regional range

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran on Wednesday unveiled a new missile with a reported range that would allow it to hit both U.S. bases in the region and targets inside its arch-enemy Israel.

State television reported that the missile uses solid fuel and has a range of 900 miles. It’s called the Khaibar-buster, a reference to a Jewish castle overrun by Muslim warriors in early Islam.

The report says the missile has high accuracy, is entirely made in the country and can defeat missile shield systems. The information has not been independently verified.

The closest point from Israel to Iran is about 620 miles away. Iran has missiles that can travel up to 1,250 miles.

The report comes as talks continue in Vienna to revive Tehran’s tattered nuclear deal with world powers. Iran, which has long said it does not seek nuclear weapons, insists its missile program is only a deterrent.

Meanwhile, US President Joe Biden spoke with King Salman of Saudi Arabia on Wednesday. The White House said Biden briefed the Saudi leader on multilateral talks aimed at bringing Iran back to compliance. Former President Donald Trump pulled the US out of the deal in 2018.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Wednesday that a deal was “in sight” but warned that “if not done in the coming weeks, nuclear advances in the ‘Iran will make it impossible’ for the United States to return to the agreement.

Earlier in January, Iran tested an engine for a solid-fuel rocket designed to launch satellites. Satellite carriers typically use liquid fuel, but solid-fuel rockets can be adapted to mobile launchers that can be driven anywhere on a major road or rail network. Pure solid fuel rockets are mostly associated with ballistic missile systems.

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