WASHINGTON -- Iran once again thumbed its nose at the West on Wednesday, testing an upgraded long-range missile that can reach as far as southeastern Europe. It can also hit any target in Israel.
The test comes as the Muslim nation continues its march toward nuclear weapons.
Iran's Stocking Stuffer: A Long Range Missile
Those looking for some encouraging news out of Iran this Christmas season should prepare to be disappointed. The Iranians' latest stocking stuffer for the West is an upgraded version of the long range Sajjil-2 missile.
Iranian military officials boasted that the high-speed, surface-to-surface weapon has radar-evading capability. Its range is 1,200 miles, putting all of Israel and parts of Europe in its cross-hairs.
The missile test comes as Western leaders are busy debating climate change in Copenhagen, Denmark.
One of those leaders, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, said the test underscores the need for tougher international sanctions against Iran over its nuclear weapons program. But with Iran's allies, Russia and China, continuing to drag their feet, it's unlikely he'll get them.
The new Sajjil-2's debut came just one day after U.S. lawmakers in the House passed legislation that would impose sanctions on foreign companies that supply refined gas to Tehran.
However, the Iranian regime continues to scoff at the possibility of such sanctions and President Barack Obama's repeated attempts at diplomacy.
U.S. Losing Patience
As the mullahs push full speed ahead with their nuclear program, administration officials admit they're losing patience
"I don't think anyone can doubt that our outreach has produced very little in terms of any type of positive response from the Iranians," Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said.
In recent days, western diplomats have expressed concern that Tehran had been testing a neutron initiator. It's a key element of the nuclear weapons cycle that has no peaceful purpose. So the window for meaningful action against Iran may be closing rapidly.
The U.S. military is currently preparing a missile defense drill that would simulate an Iranian attack.
Meanwhile, leaders in Israel say that all options - including a military strike - remain on the table regarding Iran's nuclear program.