Western Intel Docs Say Iran’s Missiles Now Capable of Reaching Europe
Iran’s foreign ministry stressed that the country would not create missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads after the US and its French and British allies accused Tehran of test-launching a ‘nuclear-capable’ medium-range ballistic missile last week in violation of the UN Security Council resolution on the Iran nuclear deal.
Iran has considerably expanded its missile testing in 2018, and now has missiles capable of reaching some European countries, Western intelligence documents seen by Germany’s Welt am Sonntag newspaper have alleged.
According to the newspaper, the expanded testing may be a violation of the UN resolution endorsing the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) Iran nuclear agreement, which called on Iran “not to engage in ballistic missile-related activities designed to use nuclear weapons.”
Tehran has maintained that it is in full compliance of the nuclear agreement, and that its missile tests were aimed at ensuring the country’s defence. Earlier this month, Iranian Armed Forces spokesman Abolfazl Shekarchi said Iran would continue its missile testing without asking any other countries for permission.
Iran tested at least seven medium-range missiles in 2018, as well as five short-range and cruise missiles, according to Welt. This included testing of three variants of the Shabab-3 medium-range missile, which has an estimated range of 1,000-2,000 km. The country also tested at least two Qiam-1 short-range ballistic missiles, which have a range of 750 km, and at least one Khorramshahr medium-range ballistic missile with a 2,000 km range. The country also launched five solid-fueled Zolfaghar tactical missiles (a variant of the Fateh 110), which have an estimated operational range of 300 km; two of the launched missiles were thought to have targeted Daesh (ISIS)* terrorists in Syria.
By comparison, Welt’s sources said that there were only four tests of medium-range missiles, and one of a short-range missile, in 2017.
Welt calculated that if Iran were to stage its missiles in the country’s northwest, they could target countries in southeastern Europe. These countries include Romania, Bulgaria and Greece. The newspaper did not give any indication as to why Tehran might feel the need to target these countries.
Nothing that Germany and its US, French, and British allies have expressed concerns regarding Iran’s spike in missile testing, Welt admitted that given the increased accuracy of medium-range missiles, it’s conceivable that Iran may be increasing its testing for conventional munitions.
Notwithstanding Washington’s unilateral withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal in May, Tehran and other signatories to the landmark 2015 nuclear deal remained committed to the treaty. Fellow signatories Russia, China, France, Germany and the United Kingdom as well as the European Union condemned the US withdrawal, while the International Atomic Energy Agency has stressed that Iran remains in full compliance with the accord.
Iran is believed to possess over 1,000 short and medium-range missiles in its arsenal, and was reported to have ramped up testing after the US withdrawal from the JCPOA.