Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Iran Test Fires Long Range Missiles Capable of Hitting Israel; US Strategic Interests

It's that time of year again. Iran is once again carrying out war games and testing its latest batch of ballistic missiles.

The Iranian regime claims that this latest batch is capable of hitting Israel and US bases in the Middle East - oh and that the war games are a message of peace to the region:
The head of the Revolutionary Guards' aerospace division emphasized Iran's preparedness to strike Israel and U.S. interests in the event of any attack on Iran.

"The range of our missiles has been designed based on American bases in the region as well as the Zionist regime," Commander Amir Ali Hajizadeh told the semi-official Fars news agency.

Washington and Israel have said they do not rule out military strikes on Iran if diplomatic means fail to stop it developing nuclear weapons.

Tehran denies its nuclear program is aimed at building bombs.
IRNA said the Guards fired nine Zelzal missiles, two Shahab-1s, two Shahab-2s and one upgraded Shahab-3 missile.

Iranian officials have previously announced that the Shahab 3 can reach targets up to 2,000 km away, putting Israel and U.S. bases in the Gulf within reach.

A long-time enemy of the U.S., Iran has been emboldened by what it sees as U.S. military defeats in neighboring Iraq and Afghanistan. Both countries are still home to large troop numbers and Washington has other bases in the Gulf that Iran could choose to target.

"The Americans have reduced our labors," Hajizadeh told Fars. "Their military bases in the region are in a range of 130, 250 and maximum 700 km in Afghanistan which we can hit with these missiles."

The 'Great Prophet 6' war games, to be carried out on land and sea, are a "message of peace and friendship to countries of the region," Hajizadeh said on Monday.
The war games are about intimidation and threats, particularly to the US and Israel. It's about getting countries that might be on the fence about Iran's nuclear program to contemplate silence because they're now within range of Iranian missiles.

There are also reports that Iran has built missile silos around the country:

This development is hardly surprising given the way that Iran has attempted to carry out covert nuclear technology development including the use of underground bunkers to hide the work from spy satellites and to harden the sites against potential military strikes. It's why the US and other countries are hard at work developing bunker-busting missile technologies - to overcome the difficulty in hitting and destroying hardened targets.

Iran is also preparing to launch a missile with a monkey into space:

That's seen as a step towards being able to send a man into space (if Iran follows the development cycle on rockets/missiles in the US, Russia, and China) - successive missiles that have heavier lift capabilities and the ability to send payloads to orbit as well as carrying heavier payloads. Military use is not ruled out either - as such missiles would extend the reach of the Iranian regime to threaten targets far outside the Middle East.

Curiously, some of the footage showing missile launches doesn't show the launch vehicles and the missiles being fired - only showing missiles flying in the air. That could be done on purpose so as to avoid misfires or missiles that failed to fire as they should have.

Other footage above shows anti-aircraft guns firing and other equipment on the ground, so it is likely that this was done on purpose to avoid having to doctor photos showing the missile launches when they actually failed to fire.

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