The recent Iranian ballistic missile trials did not involve new, groundbreaking projectiles, but they are a reminder of the creeping progress being made by Iran’s missile program, a security expert told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday.
Tal Inbar, of the Fisher Institute for Air and Space Strategic Studies in Herzliya, said images of the missile launches released by Iranian state media on Tuesday show three images of underground launch sites.
Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps on Wednesday announced that it had launched two additional missiles – which it claims are “capable of reaching Israel” – striking mock targets in the southeast of the country. An Iranian television news broadcast showed the testing.
“I do not think these are new missiles,” Inbar, head of the Space Research Center at the Fisher Institute, said on Tuesday.
“The Iranians said throughout negotiations over their nuclear program that missiles are not relevant to the talks.
That they will continue to develop them,” he added.
Although the UN has separate sanctions on Iran’s missile development, Iranian test launches such as those this week encounter condemnation at the international body, but “no operative consequences,” Inbar said.
“What is happening here is that Iran is showing that its entire missile program is designed to deter anyone who can threaten it, from Gulf states like Saudi Arabia, to the US, to Israel. It continues to develop its missile capabilities, both in terms of the missile development, and the protected underground launch bunkers,” Inbar said. “This is how these launches should be seen. They do not represent dramatic breakthroughs by some unimaginable missiles.”
Iran’s entire family of ballistic missiles, including the Shihab 3, the Ghader 110 and the Imad, all represent cumulative progress on the same model. The longest-range projectiles have ranges approaching 2,000 km., Inbar said.
In the future, any of these missiles could technically be used to carry nuclear warheads, he added.
Israel’s range of ballistic missile air defense systems, like the Arrow 2 and Arrow 3 – with the latter intercepting threats in space – and David’s Sling, which is currently going operational, are all designed to deal with such treats.
“As the Iranian threat increases, our systems also improve,” Inbar said. “I don’t think you will find someone who is minimally responsible, and who says there can be a 100 percent successful interception rate,” he added.
The recent Iranian trials are “a reminder – in case we forgot – that the Iranians have capabilities, and that we continue to prepare against them.”