Independent analysts have discovered a new rocket-launch facility in Iran with a capacity for ballistic-missile testing, Reuters reported on Thursday.
Jane's Intelligence Review used satellite photography to determine that a launch tower and pad, a rocket-staging area, and administrative and support sections have been built outside of the town of Shahrud after considerable construction over a three-year period, according to the wire service.
Countries in North America and Europe are troubled by Iran's recent pursuit of space capabilities, based on the notion that ballistic technology that Iran is using to put satellites into orbit could be alternatively fitted to deliver nuclear warheads.
Two other sites are also being prepared to service Iran's space program.
Matthew Clements, editor at Jane's, told Reuters that "imagery analysis of the Shahrud site suggests it will be a strategic facility used to test ballistic missiles, leaving the other two sites free to handle Iran's ambitious program of satellite launches."
Meantime, the inauguration of former nuclear negotiator Hassan Rouhani to the Iranian presidency has put the nuclear standoff between the Persian Gulf country and the Western world back on the global radar. Early statements by Rouhani give the appearance that he may be interested in resolving the international dispute over Iran's nuclear program.
This article was published in Global Security Newswire, which is produced independently by National Journal Group under contract with the Nuclear Threat Initiative. NTI is a nonprofit, nonpartisan group working to reduce global threats from nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons.