WASHINGTON, May 20 (KUNA) -- US Defense Secretary Robert Gates confirmed to lawmakers on Wednesday reports that Iran conducted a successful medium-range ballistic missile test.
Gates confirmed at the House Appropriations Committee hearing that Iran test-fired a new advanced missile, with a range of up to 1,200 miles. However, given problems with its engine, Gates said the range is likely to be lower.
"The information that I have read indicates that it was a successful flight test," Gates confirmed at the House Appropriations Committee hearing, adding that Irans test-fire of the new advanced missile has a range of roughly 2000-2,500 kilometers.
"Because of some of the problems theyve had with their engines we think at this stage of the testing, it's probably closer to the lower end of that range, " Gates said he did not have information on whether the missile hit its intended target.
Appearing on Capitol Hill, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton refused to comment specifically on the missile report, but issued a general warning that a nuclear armed Iran would "spark an arms race" in the Middle East.
White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said report raised President Barack Obamas concern about Irans missile development program and held "the strong belief that the pursuit of those programs does not strengthen the security of Iran but instead make them less safe". (end) hy.bs KUNA 202249 May 09NNNN