Iran successfully test fired a new generation of ground-to-ground missile called "Sajjil" on November 12. Sejjil is a two-stage missile that carries two engines and burns combined solid fuel.
The missile is a defensive tool and guarantees the national security and Iran's borders, Cultural Deputy Head of the Armed Forces Headquarters Brigadier General Masoud Jazayeri told the Iranian students news agency.
Iran's Defense Minister Brigadier General Mostafa Mohammad Najjar Monday said the newly-developed missile, Sejjil, has a longer range than Shahab and enjoys an improved technology.
"This missile is a two-stage weapon with two combined solid-fuel engines," the minister told FNA, highlighting the differences between the two medium-range missiles.
Prior to the Wednesday test, Iran's missile capability was measured by its medium-range ballistic missile known as the Shahab-3, which means "shooting star" in Farsi, with a range of at least 800 miles (1,300 kilometers) which was improved and promoted to 1,200 miles (2,000 kilometers) in 2005.
Iran's Shahab-3 missile has been known to use liquid fuel. Missiles using liquid fuel are less accurate than those using solid fuel.
Najjar described Sejjil as a missile with completely new capabilities, reminding that Sejjil has a range of around 2,000 kilometers (1,200 miles).
"Shahab 3 is a one stage missile, but Sejjil operates in two stages, Shahab 3 uses liquid fuel but Sejjil uses solid fuel and its range is much more than Shahab 3," he explained.
The defense minister described Shahab 3 as a precise missile with a distinct mission.
He further hailed the rapid launch of the Sejjil missile, saying, "Sejjil is readied for operation very fast and this is one of its very good capabilities."
Najjar rejected the US claims over Iran's advancing missile might, saying that "military developments (of Iran) are only intended to ensure regional security."
His remarks came following a White House's warning statement against Iran on Wednesday after the launch of Sejjil.
Iran successfully test-fired a new generation of surface-to-surface missile with an extraordinary high capability Wednesday morning. The missile was launched from a site in western Iran near the Iraq border towards a target 800 km away.
Sejjil, which means "clay stone," is a reference to a story in the Koran in which God's birds use clay stones to fight against enemy troops riding elephants.
Tehran launched an arms development program during the 1980-88 Iraqi imposed war on Iran, to compensate for a US weapons embargo. Since 1992, Iran has produced its own tanks, armored personnel carriers, missiles and a fighter plane.
But Iranian officials have always stressed that the country's military and arms programs serve defensive purposes.
"This missile test was conducted within the framework of a defensive, deterrent strategy ... and specifically with defensive objectives," Najjar said.
"Boosting the defensive capabilities of Iran, such as the (successful) test-firing of the Sejjil missile, is a cause of gladness for our friends, while it naturally disturbs the enemies of the system of the Islamic Republic."
Najjar had also earlier said that Sejjil had been manufactured at the Iranian Aerospace department of the Defense Ministry.
"Our missile potential in general and the new missile in particular are just for defensive and preventive purposes and no threat to any country," Iran's Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hassan Qashqavi told reporters in Tehran on Monday.
"But whenever we make such tests, there are various reactions which are however irrelevant," he said in dismissing concerns voiced in some Western countries.
The successful launch of Sejjil is viewed as an achievement that military analysts believe marks a significant jump in Iran's missile industry and technology.
"This is a whole new missile," Uzi Rubin, former director of Israel's Ballistic Missile Defense Organization, told Jane's . "Unlike other Iranian missiles, the Sejjil bears no resemblance to any North Korean, Russian, Chinese or Pakistani (missile technology). It demonstrates a significant leap in Iran's missile capabilities.
"This missile places Iran in the realm of multiple-stage missiles, which means that they are on the way to having intercontinental ballistic missile capabilities," he added.
Video released by Iranian tv clearly shows a two-stage missile with a guidance system on the second stage and a triconic re-entry vehicle identical to that of the Shahab-3. However, the Sejjil's diameter appears greater than the 1.25 m of the Shahab.
The new missile utilizes composite solid-propellant fuel and unlike the Shahab-3 medium-range ballistic missile (MRBM), which is launched only vertically, the Sejjil could be launched at a variable angle.
Iran's latest missile test followed intensified threats of military action by US and Israel against Iran's nuclear facilities, which the West claims form part of a covert weapons program, but has not proof to substantiate its allegations. Tehran vehemently denies the charge.
Military analysts believe that Sejjil shows the Islamic Republic's capability to defend its soil.
Solid fuel missiles are more accurate than the liquid fuel missiles of a similar range currently possessed by Iran.
Tim Ripley, an analyst at Jane's Defense Weekly, said, "Two stages could increase a missile's range."
Iran has said it would respond to any attack by targeting US interests and America's staunch ally Israel, as well as closing the Strait of Hormuz, a vital route for world oil supplies.
Tehran test-fired nine missiles in July, including one which could reach Israel and US bases in the Middle East.
Last week, Iran's military said US helicopters had been seen flying close to Iran's border and that it would respond to any violation.
It followed a cross-border raid last month by US forces into Syria, a move that was condemned by Damascus and Tehran.
The US attack on the Syrian village of Sukkariyah on October 26, has raised speculation about the likelihood of a US unilateral strike on the Islamic Republic.
Speculations that Israel could also bomb Iran mounted after a big Israeli air drill in June. In the first week of June, 100 Israeli F-16 and F-15 fighters reportedly took part in an exercise over the eastern Mediterranean and Greece, which was interpreted as a dress rehearsal for a possible attack on Iran's nuclear installations.
Both Washington and Tel Aviv possess advanced weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear warheads.
Iran has, in return, warned that it would target Israel and its worldwide interests in case it comes under attack by the Tel Aviv. Iran has also warned that in case of an attack by either the US or Israel, it will target 32 American bases in the Middle East and close the strategic Strait of Hormoz.
An estimated 40 percent of the world's oil supply passes through the waterway.
In a Sep. 11 report, the Washington Institute for the Near East Policy says that in the two decades since the Iran-Iraq War, the Islamic Republic has excelled in naval capabilities and is able to wage unique asymmetric warfare against larger naval forces.
According to the report, the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps Navy (IRGCN) has been transformed into a highly motivated, well-equipped, and well-financed force and is effectively in control of the world's oil lifeline, the Strait of Hormuz.
The study says that if Washington takes military action against the Islamic Republic, the scale of Iran's response would likely be proportional to the scale of the damage inflicted on Iranian assets.
Meantime, a recent study by the Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS), a prestigious American think tank, has found that a military strike on Iran's nuclear facilities "is unlikely" to delay the country's program.