U.S. tells Iran to not test
any more missiles


Pentagon plumbing Iran's latest missile
tests for clues on Iranís capabilities

Pauline Jelinek

Associated Press

July 9, 2008

The Pentagon is studying Iran's latest missile test to figure out exactly what was launched and what it shows about Tehran's missile capabilities.

The White House is calling on Iran to refrain from any more tests. (I did not make that up!) And Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Wednesday the tests are more evidence that the world needs the U.S. missile defense system.

It will remain unclear how significant the test was until it is fully analyzed, said Defense Department officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity, because they were not authorized to talk publicly about the ongoing assessment.

Defense officials said an early assessment shows that U.S. tracking systems detected seven missile launches. Pentagon intelligence assesses that the launches were part of what it called "troop training." Officials noted that the test came during Iran's "Noble Prophet" exercise ó an exercise also held twice in 2006, each time including multiple missile launches.

On Capitol Hill, Undersecretary of State William Burns said Iran is trying to foster the perception that its nuclear program is advancing. (Where is the evidence of that?)

But Iran's "real progress has been more modest," Burns said in testimony prepared for a House committee. Iran has not yet perfected enrichment and U.N. sanctions have hurt its ability to obtain technology for missile programs, he said.

Burns told the House Foreign Affairs Committee that the administration is pursuing a longtime goal of persuading Iran to change its course, using economic sanctions to "clarify the price of defiance."