It was reported in January 1998 that the R-12 design had been sold to Iran. However at the time of state acceptance of the Shahab 3 in July 2003, Iranian Defense Minister Admiral Ali Shamkhani denied reports that Tehran planned to develop the Shahab-4, and said Iran had increased the accuracy and explosive load of the Shahab-3 instead.
It was earlier claimed by Ali Shamkharni, the Iranian Minister of Defence, that the Iranian Shahab-4 missile would be used as a satellite launcher. Demonstrating missile prowess by orbiting a satellite has been a traditional method for states to announce their entry into the nuclear-capable club.
The Shahab 4 space launch version, according to Israeli sources, would have consisted of two storable propellant liquid propellant stages. The first stage would be based on 1950's-era Russian R-12 IRBM technology. The second stage would be based on R-17 (Scud) technology acquired by Iran via North Korea. Such a launch vehicle would require a small solid rocket motor kick stage to orbit a minimum (under 100 kg) satellite.
In February 1997 Israel provided US intelligence agencies with a copy of a $7 million contract between NPO Trud and the Iran for equipment related to the R-12. This was later proven to be untrue (the contract related to turbines for gas pumping stations, and were unrelated to rocketry). Other Russian contributions were alleged to have included wind tunnel, software, and mathematical modelling services from TsAGI, Polyus for laser gyro systems, and development of a solid-fuel capability. Chinese Great Wall Industries was providing Iran with telemetry equipment.
In August 1998, Iranian television showed what appeared to be a mock-up of a clam-shell nosecone with a small satellite inside and a model of a space launch vehicle with a bulbous payload section, apparently based upon the Shahab 3 joint North Korean/Iranian IRBM.
However at the time of state acceptance of the Shahab 3 in July 2003, Iranian Defense Minister Admiral Ali Shamkhani denied reports that Tehran planned to develop the Shahab-4, and said Iran had increased the accuracy and explosive load of the Shahab-3 instead.
Standard warhead: 1,400 kg (3,000 lb). Maximum range: 2,000 km (1,200 mi). Boost Propulsion: Storable liquid rocket.
AKA: Shehab 4.
Gross mass: 26,900 kg (59,300 lb).
Payload: 1,400 kg (3,000 lb).
Height: 22.81 m (74.82 ft).
Diameter: 1.65 m (5.40 ft).