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Tehran missiles 'can reach Israel'

Iran has acquired North Korean ballistic missiles that could reach cities in Israel, according to Israeli and Western sources.

An unspecified number - believed to be in double figures - of the missiles known as Rodong-1 (pronounced "Nodong"), were delivered to the Islamic Republic early this year, according to an Israeli intelligence report. Also known in the west as Scud-D, the Rodong has a range of 1,500km (900 miles), capable of reaching all of Israel with the exception of Eilat in the far south.

The Israelis complain that several European countries are attempting to cast doubts on the missile deliveries. "Continental European governments are too busy trading with Iran to notice our reports,'' an Israeli diplomat said. "The Europeans believe they can nudge President Rafsanjani into moderation as they lend Iran money and, in the case of Germany, co-operate on intelligence and security matters.''

But the Israelis say that Iran, with the help of Libya, has acquired the technology to equip the Rodong with conventional warheads with four times the destructive power of the Scud-B missiles used during the Gulf war. More than 200 Scud-Bs have already been sold by the North Koreans to Iran.

The Iranians deny the claims and accuse the Israelis, the Americans and the British of conducting a propaganda war against the Islamic Republic. The Israelis insist that Iran has acquired at least a dozen Rodongs.