Thursday, January 25, 2007

Iran's Missile Program

Iran wants to launch satellites into space. That's a very ominous development considering that the technology to launch a satellite into space is quite useful if you want to extend your ballistic missile range to hit targets further away. The Iranians currently have the ability to hit most targets within 1,000 miles of the Iranian borders. That means everyone from Turkey to Saudi Arabia to Israel and Egypt and even China and the former Soviet Republics are fair game.
The Iranian space launcher has recently been assembled and "will liftoff soon" with an Iranian satellite, according to Alaoddin Boroujerdi, the chairman of the Iranian parliament's National Security and Foreign Policy Commission.

The move toward an independent space launch capacity is likely to ratchet up concern in the U.S. and Europe about Iran's strategic capabilities and intents. Orbiting its own satellite would send a powerful message throughout the Muslim world about the Shiite regime in Tehran.

U.S. agencies believe the launcher to be a derivation of the 800-1,000-mi. range Shahab 3 missile. A Shahab 3 fired from central Iran could strike anywhere in Israel, Saudi Arabia, the entire Persian Gulf region and as far west as southern Turkey.

There are concerns in the West that space launch upgrades, however, could eventually create an Iranian intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) with a range of nearly 2,500 mi., giving Tehran the ability to strike as far as central Europe, well into Russia and even China and India.

The U. S. Defense Intelligence Agency has told the Congress that Iran may be capable of developing a 3,000-mi. range ICBM by 2015.

"But ultimately, their space program aims to orbit reconnaissance satellites like Israel's "Ofek," using an Iranian satellite launcher from Iranian territory, says Uzi Rubin, the former head of the Israel Missile Defense Organization. Rubin made his assessment in a report for The Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.

"A reconnaissance satellite of reasonable performance should weigh about 300 kg. [660 lb.] Once Iran learns how to put 300 kg. into earth orbit, it could adapt the satellite launcher into an ICBM that could drop more than 300 kg anywhere in the world.
If you engage in a dual track, you'd be working on both the satellite technology and the ICBM technology at the same time.

Now, ponder the consequences of Iran's teaming up with the North Koreans on nuclear technologies and missile technology. The Axis of Evil indeed. Indeed, the partnership appears to violate UN resolutions on prohibiting such conduct - as if that means anything to either the Iranians or North Koreans.

No comments: