Iran unveils new missile systems on second day of drills

Reuters – Nov 13, 2012

Iran unveiled new missile and artillery systems on Tuesday, Iranian media reported, on the second day of large-scale military exercises which officials said were aimed at sending a warning to those threatening the Islamic Republic.

Played out against a backdrop of high tension between Iran and the West over Tehran’s nuclear program, the “Velayat 4″ manoeuvres across a vast swathe of the eastern half of the country have focused on air defenses.

Israel has threatened to strike Iran’s nuclear sites if diplomacy and Western sanctions fail to stop the country’s atomic program, which the United States and its allies believe is aimed at developing an atomic bomb, a charge Tehran denies.

The three domestically-built missile and artillery systems would be a significant boost to Iran’s military defenses, said Farzad Esmaili, head of Iran’s air defense headquarters.

“The low-altitude missile system ‘Ya Zahra 3′ is completely indigenous and Iranian and has been designed and produced to suit internal needs,” Esmaili was quoted as saying by the Iranian Students’ News Agency (ISNA).

He said the second missile system named ‘Qader’ was highly mobile and could be deployed in less than 30 minutes, while a new artillery system named ‘Safat’ could escape detection by enemy surveillance.

“Today and tomorrow, the most significant firing of missiles in the … exercises will take place,” Esmaili said, according to state television.

Western experts say Iran often exaggerates its weapons capabilities, although there are concerns about its longer-range missiles.

The military drills come less than a week after the U.S. Pentagon said Iranian planes opened fire on an unarmed U.S. drone over international waters on November 1.

Iran said it had repelled “an enemy’s unmanned aircraft” violating its airspace.

MISSILE TESTS

Iranian officials have threatened to strike U.S. military bases in the region and target Israel if its nuclear sites are attacked.

In August, it said it test-fired a short-range missile called the Fateh-110, which it said was capable of striking land and sea targets at a range of around 300 km (180 miles).

In July, Iran said it had successfully test-fired medium-range missiles capable of hitting Israel, and tested dozens of missiles aimed at simulated air bases.

Michael Elleman, a missile expert at the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) think-tank, said he could not assess Iran’s latest claims, but said in the past the Iranian military has modified and upgraded weapons procured from abroad and said they were Iranian-made.

“Iran has a history of unsubstantiated boasts about its weapons and indigenous capabilities,” Elleman wrote in an e-mail to Reuters on Tuesday. “Iran, while increasingly capable in the field of engineering and program management, is years away from creating new air defense systems on its own.”

The missiles that receive the most attention in the West are those with longer ranges, including the Shahab-3, with a reach of 1,300 km (800 miles), as they may be capable of carrying a nuclear payload, if Iran was able to make a small enough bomb. Iran denies it is pursuing nuclear weapons.

The IISS said in a report this year there was mounting evidence that the tightening of sanctions on Iran “has stymied efforts to develop and produce the long-range ballistic missiles capable of striking potential targets in western Europe and beyond.”

(Reporting by Yeganeh Torbati in Dubai and Fredrik Dahl in Vienna, editing by Rosalind Russell)

Source

Comment – Nov 13, 2012

The opinions of ‘Western experts’ on Iran’s capability, or lack of, in developing its own weapons technology should be treated with a little caution, if not downright scepticism.
Comments like “Iran has a history of unsubstantiated boasts about its weapons and indigenous capabilities”, are made without anything to substantiate them. Indeed there has been absolutely nothing in recent years to demonstrate this claim as fact.
For decades “Western experts” have had no real contact with Iran’s capabilities and in recent years none beyond their experiences with Iraq. So beyond a different country, upon what basis do these ”experts” base their conclusions?
Iran has spent nearly thirty years developing its own indigenous defence industry, a field that is very much off limits to “Western experts”.
In the face of embargoes, Iran has developed its defence industry out of necessity and like they say: necessity is the mother of invention.
Significantly, the only direct contact the West has had with Iranian weapons technology in recent years doesn’t reflect well on either the opinions of these so-called “experts”, or Western weapons technology.
The first hands-on encounter the West had with Iran’s abilities came when the Islamic Republic’s experts took control of a U.S. RQ-170 Unmanned Aerial Vehicle as it flew over Iran nearly two years ago.
Even as Iranian experts flew the RQ-170 to an airfield to land, its U.S. controllers were still unaware that someone else was flying one of America’s most advanced drones.
After landing, Iran’s experts were able to disassemble the RQ-170, examine it and retrieve a potential treasure trove of intelligence.
More recently an Iranian built drone flown by Hezbollah penetrated Israeli airspace. Loitering undetected over sensitive areas for nearly thirty minutes before being shot down by Israeli jets, it is thought to have gathered intelligence on Israeli nuclear sites and secret IDF bases.
A number of telling points emerge from this:
● First, the drone was able to penetrate one of the worlds most closely watched and highly defended airspaces and loiter undetected for nearly 30 minutes.
● Iran claims that this is not the first time its UAV’s have flown over Israel, just the first time one has been detected and shot down.
● Finally, unlike their counterparts in Iran, Israel was unable to take control of the Iranian built drone. Instead, they were forced to shoot it down and in the process lost potentially valuable intelligence. 
In both these encounters, Iran’s military technology has proved to be on par with that of the West, if not slightly better. In other words it would be highly dangerous to underestimate and dismiss Iran’s weapons technology, as “Western experts” are doing in the above article.
So often today “experts” of one sort or another are used to endorse a product or viewpoint that it’s not beyond the bounds of possibility that they could encouraged, financially or otherwise, to endorse one particular perspective.
I’m not saying this is what happened in the above article, I’m only offering it as one possible suggestion. 
For example, the powerful U.S. Zionist lobby could discreetly reward weapons “experts” for making disparaging comments to the press about Iran’s capabilities regarding weapons technology. By portraying Iran as less formidable than it might be, those “experts” would help reduce an obstacle in the minds of many Americans to a U.S. led strike on Iran.
This isn’t beyond the bounds of possibility. The Zionists are desperate for a U.S. led strike on Iran and desperate men are likely to resort to desperate measures.
It’s true I’m not an “expert” on anything. My view on this is based on my own instincts and the input of reliable psychic friend whose advice has proven so consistent I would be a fool to ignore it.
According to my psychic friend “Iran is much more advanced” than most Western commentators give it credit for. So I’m going to close this article with my own selected comments, which are in distinct contrast to those above.
Quoted by Press TV, Omar Lamrani, a military analyst with the Texas-based global Security think tank Stratfor told US News on Monday:
“The Iranians are demonstrating to themselves and the world that their air defenses are at the highest state of readiness.
“What we know for sure is they are making progress,” the analyst said. “They are becoming more independent from foreign markets.”

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