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Nov 18th, 2010

Iran Tests New Air Defense Missile System

System said to have same capability as Russian S-300 missile

This photo released by the Iranian army claims to show a launch of the Shahin missile in war games outside the city of Semnan, east of Tehran, Iran, on Thursday, Nov. 18, 2010. (Photo: AP)

By Ali Akbar Dareini

November 18, 2010

TEHRAN, Iran — Iran has successfully tested a newly developed air defense missile system during the country’s biggest ever air defense drill, the country’s military announced Thursday.

Iran’s state television said the test was Tehran’s response to Moscow’s refusal to deliver the advanced Russian S-300 air defense system amid U.N. and international sanctions on the country.

Gen. Hamid Arjangi, a spokesman for the five-day exercise, said the system — known as Mersad, or Ambush in Farsi — and Shahin, or Hawk, were developed by Iranian scientists and is capable of identifying and hitting targets at low and medium altitudes. …

Iran was angered by Russia’s action and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has accused Moscow of caving in to “Satan.”

The Russian defense system is capable of shooting down aircraft and missiles at ranges of over 90 miles and at altitudes of about 90,000 feet. Israel and the United States had objected to the deal. …

Iran conducts several war games every year, as part of its military self-sufficiency program that started in 1992, and frequently unveils new weapons and military systems during the drills. Its claims of their effectiveness cannot be independently verified.

When Iran’s Defense Ministry announced Mersad’s development in April, it said the system would be used to launch Shahin missiles, a local version of the 1970s-era U.S.-manufactured Hawk missile. The Hawk has a range 15 miles with a 119-pound warhead and was sold to Iran before the 1979 Islamic revolution.

Iran has been looking to upgrade its air defenses, especially as Israel has refused to rule out an airstrike over concerns by the United States and its European allies that Tehran is developing nuclear weapons. …

Full story


6/28/2011 Update

Iran: Our Missiles Can Reach U.S. Bases, Israel

Image: Iranian clerics look at a Shahab-1 missile
Iranian clerics look at a Shahab-1 during military exercises on Tuesday, June 28, 2011. (Photo credit: Raouf Mohseni / ISNA via AFP — Getty Images)

Reuters and The Associated Press via
June 28, 2011

TEHRAN, Iran — A senior Iranian Revolutionary Guard commander claimed on Tuesday that his country has the ability to produce missiles with an even greater range than those currently in its arsenal.

But Amir Ali Hajizadeh, commander of the Guard’s Aerospace Force, stressed that Tehran will not manufacture such missiles because Israel and U.S. bases in the Gulf are already within reach.

The remarks came as Iran conducted a second day of large-scale military maneuvers, part of 10 days of war games that are the country’s latest show of force amid a standoff with the West over Iran’s disputed nuclear program.

Hajizadeh said Tehran’s arsenal already boasts missiles with a range of about 1,250 miles that were specifically designed for Israel and U.S. targets. The two missiles in Iran’s possession that have such a range are the Shahab-3 and the Sajjil.

“There is no threat from any country to us other than the U.S. and the Zionist regime,” Hajizadeh was quoted as saying by the semiofficial Fars news agency. “The range of our missiles has been designed on the basis of the distance to the Zionist regime and the U.S. bases in the Persian Gulf region.”

Hajizadeh said Iran “possesses the technology” to manufacture missiles with a range greater than 1,250 miles, but said “we have no intention to produce such missiles.” He did not elaborate. …

Western intelligence reports say Iran is seeking to acquire the capability to produce intercontinental missiles with a range of up to 3,750 miles, a claim Iran has denied.

Close target

Hajizadeh said some U.S. bases in Iraq and Afghanistan are as close as 75 miles from Iran’s borders and can easily be hit by Iran in case of an attack.

The Revolutionary Guard, which is in charge of Iran’s missile program, kicked off the war games on Monday by unveiling underground smart missile silos [link added], claiming that medium- and long-range missiles stored in them are ready to launch if Iran was attacked.

The silos are widely viewed as a strategic asset for Iran in the event of a U.S. or Israeli strike on its nuclear facilities.

As part of the 10-days of military exercises, Iran on Tuesday also fired 14 missiles, including Shahab-1, Shahab-2 and Shahab-3 as well as Zelzal missile.

The Iranian-made surface-to-surface missiles, with a maximum range of 1,250 miles, were fired simultaneously at a single target, the official IRNA news agency reported.

‘Source of delight’

Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said Iran’s military capability was for purely defensive purposes but the country is happy if its show of strength rattles the West.

“The westerners’ concern is a source of delight for us, because we will not allow any country to have a greedy approach towards our country’s interests and territorial integrity,” Mehmanparast said. …

Full story


6/29/2011 Update

Iran Conducting Secret Ballistic Missile Tests

Image: Iran's missiles can target Israel, US Afghan bases
Ballistic missile Zelzal is launched during the second day of military exercises, codenamed Great Prophet-6, by Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards at an undisclosed location in Iran, on Tuesday, June 28, 2011. (Photo credit: EPA)

Reuters and The Associated Press via
June 29, 2011

LONDON — Britain’s foreign secretary said Wednesday that Iran had conducted covert tests of ballistic missiles alongside a 10-day program of public military maneuvers.

William Hague told the House of Commons that there had been secret experiments with missiles and rocket launchers.

“Iran has … been carrying out covert ballistic missile tests and rocket launches, including testing missiles capable of delivering a nuclear payload,” Hague said in a statement covering the Middle East and North Africa.

Iran has said it intends to triple its capacity to produce 20 percent enriched uranium, “levels far greater than is needed for peaceful nuclear energy,” he said.

Britain believes Tehran has conducted at least three secret tests of medium-range ballistic missiles since October [2010]. …

Iran, at loggerheads with the West over its nuclear program, is carrying out a 10-day military exercise in a show of strength it hopes will warn Israel and the United States against any attack. The U.S. and its allies insist it is aimed at developing atomic weapons — a charge Iran rejects.

As part of the exercise, it test-fired surface-to-surface missiles Tuesday with a maximum range of 1,250 miles.

A senior Iranian Revolutionary Guard commander said Tuesday that his country has the ability to produce missiles with an even greater range than those currently in its arsenal.

But Amir Ali Hajizadeh, commander of the Guard’s Aerospace Force, stressed that Tehran will not manufacture such missiles because Israel and U.S. bases in the Gulf are already within reach.

Full story


1/1/2012 Update

Iran Navy Tests Surface-to-Air Missile in Drill

Image: Iranian warship
Photo: Ebrahim Noroozi / AFP — Getty Images

The Associated Press and Reuters via
January 1, 2012

TEHRAN, Iran — Iran’s navy said Sunday it test-fired an advanced surface-to-air missile during a drill in international waters near the strategic Strait of Hormuz, the passageway for one-sixth of the world’s oil supply.

Iran’s state TV said the missile, named Mehrab, or Altar, is designed to evade radar and was developed by Iranian scientists. …

A leading Iranian lawmaker said the sea maneuvers serve as practice for closing the Strait of Hormuz if the West blocks Iran’s oil sales. …

A spokesman for the exercise, Rear Adm. Mahmoud Mousavi … said the missile that was tested Sunday is one of the newest in the navy’s arsenal.

“It’s equipped with state-of-the-art technology and a built-in system that enables it to thwart jammers,” Mousavi told state TV. One way to deflect surface-to-air missiles is to confuse their guidance systems.

Also Sunday, Iranian scientists produced the nation’s first nuclear fuel rod, a feat of engineering the West doubted Tehran was capable of, Iran officials said Sunday. …

Full story


1/2/2012 Update

Iran Tests Missile That Could Hit U.S. Bases, Israel

Reuters and The Associated Press via
January 2, 2012

Iran said Monday it had successfully test fired a long-range missile during its naval exercise in the Gulf, flexing its military muscle to show it could hit Israel and U.S. bases in the region if attacked. Iran test fired its second long-range missile during a naval exercise in the Gulf, state TV’s website quoted a senior navy commander saying Monday. …

“We have test fired a long-range shore-to-sea missile called Qader (Capable), which managed to successfully destroy predetermined targets in the Gulf,” deputy Navy Commander Mahmoud Mousavi told the official news agency IRNA. …

Iran test fired its second long-range missile during a naval exercise in the Gulf, state TV’s website quoted a senior navy commander saying Monday.

“Today our Nour (Light) surface-to-surface long range missile was also successfully launched,” said deputy navy Commander Mahmoud Mousavi. …

Full story


2/29/2012 Update

Fears Grow of Israel-Iran Missile Shootout

Iran’s Revolutionary Guards test fire a missile during military maneuvers at an undisclosed location Sept. 27, 2009. (Photo credit:

By Robert Windrem
Senior investigative producer

February 28, 2012


With tensions between Israel and Iran running sky high over the latter’s nuclear program, U.S. officials and military analysts are growing increasingly concerned that Israel will launch a multi-phase air and missile attack that could trigger waves of retaliatory missile strikes from Tehran.

Such a shootout could quickly spiral into a regional conflict that would potentially force the U.S. to intervene to protect its interests.

The emerging consensus among current and former U.S. officials and other experts interviewed by NBC News is that that an Israeli attack would be a multi-faceted assault on key Iranian nuclear installations, involving strikes by both warplanes and missiles. It could also include targeted attacks by Israeli special operations forces and possibly even the use of massive explosives-laden drones, they say.

The Iranian response to such an attack is uncertain, but many experts and officials believe it is likely to include retaliatory missile strikes. Iran has more missiles in its arsenal than Israel, according to some estimates, and has the capability of striking targets in most Israeli population centers. …

Given the immense difficulties in carrying out successful air strikes on the four key Iranian installations using its warplanes alone — as laid out last week by the New York Times, U.S. officials say Israel would be likely to coordinate such airstrikes with waves of missiles. This would greatly increase the chances of penetrating fortifications that Iran has built to protect some of its key installations and overwhelm Iran’s air defenses, said the former and current U.S. officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity. …

The Center for Strategic and International Studies outlines these options for an Israeli strike on Iran. Click here for full-size chart. (Image: Reuters)

Israel has as many as 100 Jericho ballistic missiles – both short- and medium-range – as well as submarine-launched cruise missiles, though the officials say they believe the latter are unlikely to be used. The short-range Jericho I missiles would be of no use in an attack on Iran, because the targets are far beyond its 300-mile range. However, the  medium-range Jericho II’s are capable of  hitting targets as far as 900 miles away – or as far east as Tehran. Israel also tested a Jericho III intercontinental ballistic missile in 2008 and Israeli media have reported that it may have deployed one or more of the weapons, which would put all of Iran within reach.

The missiles would most likely be launched from the Hirbat Zekharyah missile range, midway between Israel and the Mediterranean Coast, according to “Critical Mass: the Dangerous Race for Superweapons in a Fragmenting World,” by William E. Burrows and Robert Windrem, and various Israeli press reports. …

Iran has no capability to defend against a missile strike, said [Christopher J. Ferrero, a professor of diplomacy at Seton Hall University in New Jersey and an expert on Middle East missile forces]. …

What Iran does have is hundreds of Shahab 3 medium range ballistic missiles, according to U.S. estimates. The Shahab 3 also has a range of roughly 900 miles.

Israel, possibly supplemented by U.S. shipborne anti-missile systems – the Aegis Standard Missile-2 — could intercept and destroy some of the incoming Iranian missiles, said Ferrero. But the numbers favor Iran, he said.

“I believe that (the Iranians) have a sufficient inventory that they could overwhelm those missile defenses and still get enough missiles through to cause damage,” he said. …

Additionally, U.S. intelligence estimates say Iran has supplied Hezbollah with more than 40,000 short-range rockets and missiles since 2006. However, U.S. officials are uncertain whether Hezbollah would follow Iranian orders, and risk Israeli retaliation or, if they did, how many they would fire.  The majority of the rockets and missiles are unguided.  Israel and the U.S. have worked on a short-range missile defense system called Iron Dome, but there are concerns that waves of attacks could overwhelm the system.

Also open to question in U.S. and Israeli military circles is whether an Israeli attack would meet its objective: setting back the Iranian nuclear program anywhere from two to five years.

U.S. officials say Israel would be likely to concentrate its attacks on four key Iranian nuclear complexes. Key facilities within those complexes – the Natanz and Fordo centrifuge facilities, both south of Tehran; the Arak research reactor, southwest of Tehran; and a uranium hexafloride production and research facility near the city of Isfahan – are protected by heavy fortifications, they said.

The Jerichos are stored in tunnels in limestone formations around Hirbat Zekharyah and rolled out for firing. They would likely be used as part of a one-two punch, the officials say. The first attack would be carried out by Israeli strike fighters and would be intended to breach the heavily fortified outer ceilings of the facilities. The second (and possibly even third) wave would be missile attacks aimed at destroying the facilities within, the officials said. …

Missile attacks would be coordinated with fighter-bomber attacks (presumably, the Israelis’ F-16, F-18 and extended-range F-15I Strike Eagle). The missiles would have to be launched so that warheads strike targets following the strike fighter attacks.  Because of the short flight time, minutes rather than hours in the case of the aircraft, the missile launch would almost certainly take place at the last possible moment to ensure the secrecy of the overall attack. …

Beyond the strike fighters and the missile force, U.S. officials suggest the Israelis could use two other “weapons” against Iran.

The first is special operations forces that would be secretly inserted into the country. At the least, they could be employed to illuminate aim points for laser-guided bunker-busting bombs. At the most, they could launch their own attacks on facilities, particularly those believed to contain enriched uranium.

The other is a new generation of large drones with wingspans approaching those of a Boeing 777  (almost 200 feet). Costing $30 million each, the Heron drones are capable of remaining airborne for 40 hours at a time and have a range of 4,600 miles. While they can be equipped with surveillance and electronic warfare equipment, some officials call them “strike drones,” meaning they could be loaded with explosives and used to attack Iranian targets.

While the initial days of an Israeli-Iranian conflict would probably be bloody, most experts say that the open warfare would be expected to wind down within days or weeks, since neither side has the ability to occupy the other’s territory or enough missiles to sustain attacks. …

Full story


8/22/2012 Update


Upgraded Iranian missiles unveiled (NBC News, Aug. 21, 2012) — New Iranian missiles have been put on display in Tehran — an exhibition that appears to be a warning to Israel. President Ahmadinejad says the short-range missiles are meant for defense, not attack. But in Israel people are watching warily. NBC’s John Ray reports. (02:16)


Topical reports on this site

Image: Iranian Karrar drone aircraft
Iran unveils ‘Ambassador of Death’ bomber — This photo released by the Iranian Defense Ministry in August 2010 reportedly shows a launch of the Karrar drone aircraft, which Iran says is the country’s first domestically-built, long-range, unmanned bomber aircraft. (Photo credit: Vahid Reza Alaei / AP)

Iran Preps to Fire Up Nuke Plant (Oct. 25, 2010)

Iran Starts Up Nuclear Plant (Aug. 21, 2010)

Iran Claims Israel Plans Attack on Nuclear Sites (June 27, 2010)

McCain: ‘Pull Trigger’ on Iran (April 15, 2010)

Israel Dragging US into Iran War? (March 21, 2010)

Iran Ramps Up Nuclear Program (Feb. 22, 2010)

Iran Now a ‘Nuclear State’ (Feb. 11, 2010)

Iran, North Korea Threat Level Rises (Dec. 13, 2009)

Obama Demands Access to Nuke Site (Sept. 26, 2009)

Saddam Feared Iran More Than U.S. (July 9, 2009)

Psychological Profile of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (June 11, 2009)

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
threat assessment

Bush Nixed Israeli Plea to Hit Iran (Jan. 11, 2009)


FROM THE ARCHIVES: One Year Ago — November 18, 2009

Bachmann Reels in CNN

cnn michele2

One year ago today, I pointed out that CNN, like most of the mainstream media complicit in propagating a superficial, sanitized image of U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann, had taken the bait.


FROM THE ARCHIVES: Two Years Ago — November 18, 2008

Iranian Approval for U.S.-Iraq Pact

Image: Iraq Cabinet
The Iraqi Cabinet approved a U.S.-Iraqi security pact, Nov. 16, 2008, following months of difficult negotiations. (Photo credit: Iraqi Government / AP)

Two years ago today, on Nov. 18, 2008, I reported that Iran praised the Iraqi Cabinet for approving a U.S-Iraq status-of-forces agreement and that Michael Hanna, an analyst at the Century Foundation in New York, said a continuing but finite presence of U.S. troops in Iraq could benefit Iran because it provides “retaliatory options” as Tehran pursues a nuclear program opposed by the West.

2 Responses to “Iran Unveils New Missile System”
  1. Immelman for Congress » Blog Archive » Iran Drone Shootdown Claim Says:

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