Understanding Iran’s claims of testing new ballistic missile – analysis

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Iran’s decision to test a new long-range missile has raised eyebrows in the Middle East and the West.

Iran’s missiles are in the spotlight now, in part because of the country’s threat to Europe and the long range of these missiles. Iran has supplied armed drones to Russia and its missile program is increasingly being recognized as a growing threat outside the Middle East.

The missile used by Iran in its latest test is a Fourth generation Khorramshahr-class missile It is called Khyber.

The Khorramshahr class missiles have been tested since 2017, and both France and the US have talked about test firings. The US has described the development of such missiles as a serious threat and has stated that it opposes further development involving such missiles.

Iran is believed to have been barred from carrying out these actions by UN Resolution 2231, but has nevertheless continued to conduct these tests and seek the technology for the same. Increase in its missiles and their range.

Iran’s Defense Minister Brigadier General Mohammad-Reza Ashtiani speaks at a press conference during the unveiling of a new surface-to-surface fourth generation Khorramshahr ballistic missile named Khyber in Tehran, Iran May 25, 2023. (Credit: WANA (West Asia News) Agency via Reuters)

Iran announced the launch of the missile during state ceremonies marking the anniversary of the 1982 battle in Khorramshahr, which took place as part of their brutal war with Iraq.

Iran’s Defense Minister was present at the ceremony, and IRGC chief Ismail Qani also spoke at an event in Dezful, north of Khorramshahr, commemorating the war with Iraq. Iranian media and officials have discussed the history of the IRGC during the war with Iraq, highlighting how the missile tests are tied to Iran’s concept of governance and its own history.

Iran believes it needs more such missiles, which are made locally, to demonstrate its power around the region and not be forced to fight on its territory as in the 1980s. To be.

Response from the West as missile development continues

“Iran’s development and proliferation of ballistic missiles poses a serious threat to regional and international security and remains an important non-proliferation challenge,” US State Department spokesman Matthew Miller told reporters.

A spokesman for Iran’s foreign minister rejected Western criticism of the missile. He also drew comparisons to the 1980s and argued that the West supported the Saddam regime against Iran.

Iran’s Defense Ministry has said it is the most advanced version of a class of Iranian missiles, pointing to the use of an advanced engine system and a navigation aid system with a larger warhead.

“The missile also uses active stage guidance and control, middle stage guidance and control,” Iran’s Fars News reported. Iranian state media said the fourth-generation missile is “precision-guided” with a 2,000 km range and a 1,500 kg warhead.

Reports from Iranian state media also characterized it as a “stealth” missile that could evade radar and said it was liquid-fuelled and could be prepared for launch quickly.

As per reports, it bursts out of Earth’s atmosphere and travels up to Mach 16, re-enters the atmosphere at Mach 8 and boasts of a unique guidance and control system that can adjust its trajectory as It travels to outer space and re-enters Earth. Atmosphere.

Iran claimed that it was “invisible” to radar, although it was unclear whether any of Iran’s claims could be independently verified.

The Russian media announced the success of this missile test as the two countries are working together. For Moscow, it is likely that any Iranian success with missiles and drones would help Russia distract the West from its own war in Ukraine.

Iran’s Advances in Missile Technology

New missile test adds to long list of Iran claims Achievements in Missile Technology, Iran is not developing these missiles in secret, it prefers to flaunt them. In February, Iran said it had developed a cruise missile with a range of 1,650 km. Amir Ali Hajizadeh, the aerospace commander of the Revolutionary Guards, said in November they completed the development of a hypersonic ballistic missile.

Iran has continued rapid missile development in the wake of the 2015 Iran deal, possibly redirecting some resources from the nuclear program to the missile program in the years following 2015, before continuing to rapidly enrich uranium over the past several years. kept.

In this picture taken on December 31, 2022, a missile is launched during an annual drill off the coast of the Gulf of Oman and near the Strait of Hormuz in Iran. (Credits: IRANIAN ARMY/WANA (West Asia News Agency) VIA Reuters)

In February 2019, Iran stated that it had built a new Hovaizeh cruise missile with a range of 1,200 km as part of the celebration of the 40th anniversary of the Iranian Revolution. At the time, it also displayed what it claimed was a Khorramshahr 2 medium-range ballistic missile with a range of 2,000 km. It also unveiled the Dezful medium-range missile with a range of 1,000 km, which is an upgrade to the Zolfagher missile. These were solid fueled missiles.

The country has kept pace with this development; is working on a new space launch vehicle and a new Shahab-3 missile, which was claimed in November 2019 to be equipped with a dynamic re-entry vehicle. Later these forms were called Imad and Ghadar.

In December 2021, Iran also tested the Sejil missile in practice. Iran also tested the Zuljanah space launch vehicle in March 2022, and in September 2022Iran also showed off the Rezvan liquid-fuelled missile, which it said had a range of 1,400 km.

Therefore, Iran’s new test of a missile adds to a long background of its tests and claims of new missiles. It often gives new names to these missiles, even if they are very similar to already known missiles with some updates. Iran claims new capabilities for these missiles, such as “microscopic accuracy” and Ability to defeat air defense.

Overall, the new missile test should be seen in the context that Iran often claims and brags about testing missiles with new capabilities during historical anniversaries.

taking into account the fact Iran has exported missile technology to the Houthis in Yemen and Hezbollah; as well as sending actual missiles to Syria, Lebanon, and Iraq; The threats of missiles should be taken seriously. The overall threat to countries like Israel is that these missiles have large warheads and may be part of a larger campaign by Iran to weaponize its nuclear program.

In addition, Iran’s recent claims about the missiles’ speed and their ability to evade radar or electronic warfare are significant, although it is impossible to determine whether they are accurate. The overall picture is that Iran likes to grab headlines with new missile tests.

While the country has an impressive and dangerous arsenal of missiles, a test of a new system does not verify its capabilities and firepower. Iran conducts these tests publicly, knowing it will get headlines and condemnation. If it secretly wanted to develop missile capabilities that were a major threat, it could not even publicly claim new capabilities.