Iran tested a cruise missile called “Sumar” that is capable of carrying nuclear weapons in addition to test-firing a medium-range ballistic missile on Sunday, German newspaper Die Welt reported Thursday, citing unspecified intelligence sources. No comment was immediately available from Germany’s BND foreign intelligence agency or from Iranian authorities.
The newspaper said the Sumar cruise missile was built in Iran and travelled around 600 km in its first known successful test. The missile is believed to be capable of carrying nuclear weapons and may have a range of 2,000 to 3,000 km, the paper said, citing intelligence sources.
Cruise missiles are harder to counter than ballistic missiles since they fly at lower altitudes and can evade enemy radar, confounding missile defence missiles and hitting targets deep inside an opponent’s territory.
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But the biggest advantage from Iran’s point of view, a security expert told Die Welt, was that cruise missiles are not mentioned in any United Nations resolutions that ban work on ballistic missiles capable of carrying nuclear weapons.
News of Iran’s reported cruise missile test came hours after the White House put Iran “on notice” for its ballistic missile test and signalled that it could impose new sanctions, taking an aggressive posture toward Tehran that could raise tensions in the region.
Iran confirmed on Wednesday that it had test-fired a new ballistic missile, but said the test did not breach the Islamic Republic’s nuclear agreement with world powers or a U.N. Security Council resolution endorsing the pact.