Introduction – May 13, 2017
As with so many official statement on Iran from the U.S., what follows is a mix of fact and disinformation. Although Iran has undoubtedly made progress in its missile development program, whether or not is developing nuclear weapons is open to question.
In fact only two weeks ago the U.S. State Department certified Iran’s compliance with the nuclear deal agreed with the P5 + 1 group of countries.
Meaning that Iran doesn’t have a program to develop nuclear weapons, as the Director of U.S. National Intelligence might be seen to imply.
Such ambivalence got the U.S. and its partners involved in the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Iran’s progress in developing its missiles has undoubtedly been a factor in deterring a similar Anglo-American military campaign. Is the Western public gullible enough to be duped into a repeat performance? Ed.
Iran ‘is still developing ballistic missiles that could carry nuclear warheads in violation of UN resolution’
Amanda Ulrich – Daily Mail May 13, 2017
Iran is continuing to work on ballistic missiles that would be capable of carrying nuclear weapons over thousands of miles, according to US Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats.
Coats described the growing threat of Iran’s missile program in a written testimony to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence on Thursday.
‘Iran’s ballistic missiles are inherently capable of delivering WMD [weapons of mass destruction], and Tehran already has the largest inventory of ballistic missiles in the Middle East,’ he wrote.
‘We judge that Tehran would choose ballistic missiles as its preferred method of delivering nuclear weapons, if it builds them.’
The missiles could also be used by the Islamic Republic to launch a nuclear weapon. As Coats noted: ‘Iran continues to be the foremost state sponsor of terrorism.’
Earlier this week, Iranian leaders announced that two ‘home-made’ satellites will be launched in the next few months, sparking fears that the machines will act as a disguise for continued work on missile technology.
‘Tehran’s desire to deter the United States might drive it to field an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM). Progress on Iran’s space program could shorten a pathway to an ICBM because space launch vehicles use similar technologies,’ Coats wrote.
In January 2016, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) was implemented between the US, the EU and other world leaders to ensure that Iran’s nuclear program would be exclusively peaceful.
Coats pointed out that despite Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei’s ‘conditional support’ for the deal, he remains ‘highly distrustful of US intentions.’
Testing missiles is not technically a breach of JCPOA, but certainly goes against the spirit of the agreement in a sense. The language in one portion of the resolution is ambiguous, stating that Iran is ‘called upon’ not to create or test these types of missiles, but it does not explicitly state that it is forbidden to do so
‘Tehran continues to leverage cyber espionage, propaganda, and attacks to support its security priorities, influence events and foreign perceptions, and counter threats -including against US allies in the region,’ Coats wrote.
The amount of time it would take for Iran to produce enough fissile material for a nuclear weapon is estimated to be from a few months to a year.
Just last month, a parade held in Tehran for National Army Day showcased the country’s wealth of missiles, tanks, armored vehicles, fighter jets and radar systems.
And on May 3, the Iranian military conducted a missile test from a submarine in the Strait of Hormuz, but the test reportedly failed.
‘Iran continues to develop a range of new military capabilities to monitor and target US and allied military assets in the region, including armed UAVs [drones], ballistic missiles, advanced naval mines, unmanned explosive boats, submarines and advanced torpedoes, and anti-ship and land-attack cruise missiles,’ Coats wrote.