News Brief – June 27, 2011
Iran’s Revolutionary Guard unveiled underground missile silos on Monday as it began 10 days of military exercises, the country’s latest military show of force amid a standoff with the West over its nuclear program.
State TV broadcast footage of deep underground missile silos, claiming that long-range missiles stored in them are ready to launch at short notice.
A spokesman for Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) said that Iran had been using missile silos for 15 years and that the latest generation of silos were controlled from control centres far from the launch pads.
Fars News Agency quoted the IRGC spokesman in charge of the drills, General Asghar Qelich-Khani, as saying:
“The silos are a part of the swift reaction unit of the [IRGC] missile brigade; missiles are stored vertically, ready to be launched against pre-determined targets.”
He added that Iran has “numerous” underground missile silos, which surveillance satelittes could not detect.
The sites are seen as part of precautionary measures to launch retaliatory strikes in the event of a U.S. or Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities.
Another unidentified Guards officer told state TV that “only few countries in the world possess the technology to construct underground missile silos. The technology required for that is no less complicated than building the missile itself.”
Israel accuses Iran of receiving assistance from North Korea to build the silos although Iran denies this.
These latest disclosures are only likely to heighten tensions with the West. As the silos make Iran’s ability to retaliate in the event of a U.S. or Israeli strike all the more difficult to neutralise.