A report by the International Institute of Strategic Studies warned of Iran’s expanding arsenal of Ballistic missiles, UAVs, and cruise missiles, calling for scrutinizing Iran’s battle force beyond its nuclear program and its proxies’ willingness to use Iranian weapons against its enemies when it is too cautious about doing it by itself.

The Britain-based institute’s report said, “Iran’s ballistic missile systems, supplemented by cruise missiles and UAVs, are intended not only for deterrence but for battle, including by Iran’s regional partners.”

In this new report, the IISS provides a detailed assessment of Iran’s missiles and the manner and purposes for which it has been proliferating them.

The IISS report said that Iran has roughly 20 different ballistic missiles, as well as cruise missiles and UAVs. For now, all of Iran’s ballistic missiles apparently adhere to a self-imposed range limit of 2,000 kilometers. Iran’s priority is to improve precision, notable in several missile systems.

According to the report, Iran’s space program is not a mere cover for development of intercontinental ballistic missiles, notwithstanding mutually applicable technologies and capabilities. Solid-fuel space-launch vehicles of the type that have been recently introduced have more carry-over potential, however, than the liquid-fuel launchers that Iran earlier relied upon. For example, an Iranian spokesman claimed that the Zoljanah, revealed on 1 February 2021, was capable of being launched from mobile launchers, indicating the potential dual-use nature of the system.

The report also tracks the evolution of Iran’s missile doctrine, which over the past decade has changed from relying solely on punishing would-be attackers by striking cities and other high-value targets, to also prioritizing improved precision to be able to deny potential foes their military objectives.

Iran is expanding its capacity to strike across the region through the continuing development and introduction of armed UAVs and cruise missiles. For example, in September 2019, the 700km-range 351/Quds-1 missile was used to strike the Saudi Aramco Khurais oil-field facility; the attack was claimed by Yemeni Houthi rebels but likely planned and executed by Iran.

Beginning with the Chinese supply of Silkworm systems in the mid-1980s, Iran has also deployed an array of short-, medium-, and long-range anti-ship missiles. Iran has provided the 35km-range Nasr and 120km-range Noor to Hizbullah, and more recently to the Houthis.

Like its ballistic missiles, support for regional actors has become a prime pillar of Iran’s military posture. Iran’s proliferation activity has focused on the Syrian regime and non-state actors in Gaza, Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, and Yemen. Even though its support for some of these actors goes back to the early 1980s, it is only in the last two decades that Tehran has begun to supply them with more strategic-weapons systems, including heavy-artillery rockets and ballistic missiles, as well as their production technology. This proliferation benefits Iran in several ways: as force multipliers, as an extension of Iran’s deterrence capabilities, as a way to field test systems and tactics, and as a way to execute attacks with a degree of deniability. Iran uses four complementary strategies to supply its non-state actor allies with UAVs, artillery rockets, and ballistic missiles: direct transfers, upgrades to existing missiles and rockets, the transfer of production capabilities, and provision via third parties.

Iran’s missile proliferation efforts have profoundly destabilizing consequences for the region by providing powerful force multipliers for unaccountable non-state actors. This development raises questions in terms of command and control, as well as attribution. What exact degree of operational control Iran asserts over its various partners can be difficult to discern. The fact that Iran, usually known for carefully calibrating its actions, is willing to supply these systems and have them used in combat by allies seems to demonstrate a greater willingness to take risks, as well as a more offensive outlook for Iran’s missile program in general.

Source » shafaq