DATE=7/16/2000 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT TITLE=ISRAEL/IRAN MISSILE (L-ONLY) NUMBER=2-264461 BYLINE=ROSS DUNN DATELINE=JERUSALEM CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: Israel has warned that Iran's successful testing of a medium-range ballistic missile will accelerate a deadly arms race in the Middle East. Ross Dunn reports from Jerusalem that Israel's top army officer says the Iranian missile program threatens not only the Jewish state, but also the entire region. TEXT: The Israeli army's chief of staff, General Shaul Mofaz, has expressed strong concerns following Iran's successful testing of the Shahib-Three missile. The surface-to-surface ballistic missile has a range of 13-hundred kilometers, making it capable of hitting targets in Israel. General Mofaz says Iran also wants to acquire non- conventional weapons of mass destruction. That development would make Tehran a threat not only to the Jewish state, but also to all countries in the Middle East within range of its missiles. The Iranian Defense Ministry told Iranian State television that the Islamic Republic had no intention of using its missiles to attack other countries. But this reassurance is not accepted by Israeli and U- S defense officials. Defense Department spokesman Ken Bacon says Iran's test of a medium-range missile shows its determination to build longer-range weapons of mass destruction. Israeli defense officials predict that Iran will have nuclear weapons within five-years. Israeli Deputy Defense Minister Ephraim Sneh says his country has no choice but to strengthen its own missile program. He says Iran has a stated policy of wanting to destroy the Jewish state, and this means Israel should develop weapons that are two to three times as advanced as those possessed by the Islamic Republic. (SIGNED) NEB/RD/ALW/RAE 16-Jul-2000 08:51 AM EDT (16-Jul-2000 1251 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .