The Hard Lessons Keep Coming: Iran’s Leap in Missile Technology

BY Glen Tschirgi
6 years, 9 months ago

The only thing worse than being wrong about something of great importance is being right about something of great importance and not being able to crow about it because the reality is so awful.

So when conservatives warned that Obama’s naive policy of the “open hand” of diplomacy to the mad mullahs of Iran was a quick path to a nuclear Iran, there is absolutely no joy in seeing these predictions take place before our very eyes.

First there was the news some weeks ago which we covered in the post, “Game Over.” That post dealt with the estimation of an Iranian nuke perhaps as soon as this Fall.

Those in denial insisted that Iran was still at least one year or more away from developing its own nuclear weapon and that Iran could not field even a missile of 2000 km range until 2015 at the earliest.

Now comes the news via Newsmax and Ken Timmerman that the Iranians have successfully tested three, different missile technologies, two of which appear to directly relate to nuclear weaponization.

Iran has made dramatic progress in its ballistic missile programs over the past year, unveiling three new missiles it claims are already in production, including an innovative design that could be a “game-changer” if used against U.S. aircraft carriers, an Israeli expert widely considered one of the world’s top authorities on Iranian missile programs says.

Also significant were three unannounced tests of longer-range missiles most experts believe were designed to carry a nuclear warhead.

The longer-range missiles are the Shahab-3 and the Sejiel-2.   The Shahab-3, modified, can strike up to 1600 km away, more than enough to hit major U.S. military bases in the region as well as Israel.   The Sejiel-2 is a solid-fuel rocket that has a 2,000 km range.  These missiles were tested several times, secretly, which is odd behavior for the regime:

In the past, Iran has announced all of its missile tests, often with great fanfare, even when they were a failure, said Uzi Rubin, the father of Israel’s “Arrow” anti-missile program.

One of the unannounced missile tests involved a variant of the Shahab-3, which has been successfully test-fired many times since it was first flown in 1998 and is now in active deployment with Revolutionary Guards Air Force units.

Because the missile has been tested successfully so many times, Rubin believes failure was not why the longer-range missile tests were kept quiet. “I believe it was policy,” he told a breakfast meeting on Capitol Hill hosted by the National Defense University Foundation.

The latest United Nations Security Council resolution imposing sanctions on Iran, which passed in June 2010, expressly forbids Iran from conducting tests of “nuclear-capable” missiles.

“The fact that Iran did not disclose those tests is tantamount to admitting they were of nuclear-capable missiles,” Rubin said.

In October 2010, Iran carried out an unannounced test of its Sejil-2 missile, sometimes known as the “Ashura.” The Sejil is a solid propellant missile with a range of approximately 2,000 kilometers (1,200 miles) that was first flown successfully in November 2008.

So the despots of Iran are taking enormous pains to have at least two, reliable missile systems ready that, by all accounts, can carry a nuclear warhead.  Not only that, the despots now have missiles (although not, presumably, in any great quantity as yet) that can directly threaten large parts of Europe.

The map below, while outdated, nonetheless shows the effective coverage of a 2,000 km-range missile based in Iran.

Funny.  That missile defense system that the U.S. had promised to provide to eastern European allies like Poland and the Czech Republic would have come in handy.  Too bad Obama caved in to the Russians and decided that Iranian missiles posed no threat to Europe.

Or as Timmerman puts it:

Both China and Russia are believed to have intervened with the U.N. Security Council to suppress the report by the U.N. experts panel investigating violations of U.N. Security Council sanctions on Iran.

Uzi Rubin believes the Obama administration has abstained from revealing Iran’s recent long-range missile tests “in support of Russia’s claim that Iran cannot threaten Europe.”

The lack of an Iranian missile threat was a key justification used by the Obama White House to cancel plans in early 2009 to deploy missile-defense radar and ground-based interceptors in Poland and the Czech Republic.

Cancelling U.S.-made missile defense in Europe was a major demand of the Russian government, and was touted by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as a key factor in her “reset” of U.S.-Russian relations.

Rubin also speculated that the Obama administration “wants to say that sanctions are working, so if they say that Iran’s missile tests have been successful, they wouldn’t look too good.”

But not to worry.  According to the story and headline in The Washington Post on this subject, a “senior” Revolutionary Guard commander promised that Iran won’t manufacture missiles with ranges beyond 2,000 km.

Growing up, I had an almost morbid fascination with the time period between the end of World War I and the beginning of World War II.  I could never understand how Great Britain, France and the U.S. allowed Germany to violate the clear terms of the armistice by re-arming, taking control of the Rhineland and stoking again the fires of militarism.  Hitler and the Nazis seemed like such an obvious threat.  How could the victors of World War I put their collective heads in the sand to such an absurd degree?

Now I am beginning to understand.

No one seems to be paying any, real attention to the steady, remorseless march of the Mad Mullahs to deploy nuclear weapons.  We hear nothing from the President– of course not, that would serve only to point out his international fecklessness even further.  We hear nothing from the Government Media outlets like the New York Times or Washington Post, except a dry note on a back page.  There is no worry.  No reaction.   No sense of crisis.  Indeed, from my recollection of the last Republican debate, not a single candidate mentioned the threat of Iran.  We have time for Libya and Egypt and Syria and even a tiny, terrorist outpost called Gaza, but the real menace to peace in the 21st century is completely ignored.   Worse yet, there are serious political leaders, people aspiring to the presidency, who are openly calling for defense cuts and a pared down military capability.

Another hard lesson learned that will cost us dearly in the near future.


  1. On July 8, 2011 at 10:30 am, Warbucks said:

    The Taliban is back on the air this morning back inside Pakistan:

    I listen to a broad political range of radio stations. Yesterday “Hot Talk 560” , San Fracisco market area carried a political analysis of a buried news report on a speech delivered by Mrs. Clinton announcing overseas that the US is backing the Muslim Brotherhood and at The Brotherhood is supporting the formation of a transparent, democratic form of open government in Libya. The strategy is to appeal to Muslim Yuppies that seek liberty and freedom and pull them into alliance with The Brotherhood.

    Has anyone else heard this?

  2. On July 12, 2011 at 1:54 pm, Warbucks said:

    Wali Karzai was reported assassinated as of Tuesday.

    Still trying to get a handle on events unfolding in the region.

    — The reported “alleged” backing of The Muslim Brotherhood in an official US speech delivered by Mrs. Clinton.
    — The Taliban back on the air inside Pakistan.
    — Wali Karzai assassinated.
    — Draw down of troop schedule.
    — US Election cycle.
    — Pakistan threatens to pull out troops from frontier regions.
    — Resolute affirmation by Pres. Obama to continue drone strikes in Pakistan
    — Gen. Petraeus switching chairs into CIA
    — Leon Penetta taking over Sec. of Def. role.
    — Casualties reported high
    — Gen Petraeus publicly reviewing weapons coming from Iran, declares, we will not continue to ignore these facts.
    — Leon Penetta states “we’ve almost won in Iraq and Afghanistan”
    — War power resolutions in congress on Libya seem to go nowhere giving the Presidency near imperial powers.

    I have no sense of direction as to what it all means but my guess is a commando arrest of “Ghadafi & Son, Inc.” CEO, big war crimes news to distract us all and some really, really nasty stuff done not too quietly in Iran. If anyone else knows what’s going on, please let me know? I’m more confused than ever.

  3. On July 12, 2011 at 2:04 pm, Warbucks said:

    How’s the Muslim Springtime thing working out for everyone? Are we all brothers now?

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This article is filed under the category(s) Iran and was published June 28th, 2011 by Glen Tschirgi.

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