Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei at NAM 390.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
US intelligence agencies have assessed that as early as 2015, Iran will be set to test an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), that has the capability to strike the United States, a released Pentagon report states.
"Iran has ambitious ballistic missile and space launch development programs and continues to attempt to increase the range, lethality, and accuracy of its ballistic missile force," the report says.
"Iran could develop and test an ICBM capable of reaching the United States by 2015."
The US Department of Defense assessment was compiled by The National Air and Space Intelligence Center (NASIC) at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, together with the Defense Intelligence Agency’s Missile and Space Intelligence Center and the Office of Naval Intelligence.
The report also stated that China and North Korea were rapidly proliferating the developments of nuclear warheads capable of hitting the United States, as well as supporting the development of advanced Iranian missile capabilities.
"Iran has an extensive missile development program, and has received support from entities in China, and North Korea," the report says.
Not only is Iran closing in on such power capabilities, but is also actively training for its use.
"Iranian ballistic missile forces continue to train extensively in highly publicized exercises," the report says, "these exercises enable Iranian ballistic missile forces to hone wartime operational skills and evolve new tactics."
This report comes following a July 5 test failure of an American missile defense system.
Four US Republican lawmakers on Friday urged Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel to conduct another test of the missile defense system this year after last week's test failure, and to make development of a next-generation interceptor a top priority.
The lawmakers said the cause of the failed July 5 missile defense test was not yet clear, but they argued that President Barack Obama's cuts in spending on missile defense had reduced funding for needed tests and maintenance of the system.