Iran missile system tested, rhetoric sharpened on eve of NATO summit
Iran missile system: Iran tested a new air-defense system and lashed out at NATO as the military alliance prepared to meet this weekend in Lisbon, Portugal. Iran has long sought homegrown air defenses.
Iran tested a new air-defense system and stepped up its anti-West rhetoric Thursday on the eve of NATO's annual meeting in Lisbon. At the top of the military alliance's agenda are plans for a missile-defense network in Europe – primarily aimed at Iran’s growing ballistic missile capabilities – and the nine-year war in Afghanistan.Skip to next paragraph
Subscribe Today to the Monitor
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad declared that NATO had no future, likened the array of sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program to be no more bothersome than a “mosquito,” and warned against “thinking as aggressors.”
“We regard NATO decisionmakers as politically backward, and their decisions are of no significance to us, because they are incapable of playing a role in future developments,” Mr. Ahmadinejad declared. “Experience shows that NATO leaders have had a wrong interpretation of international events and all their decisions are based on false information.”
Besides the rhetoric, which comes as Iran and world powers prepare to sit down Dec. 5 to discuss Iran’s nuclear programs, the Islamic Republic also this week launched a five-day air defense exercise to showcase home-grown capabilities.
Iran has frequently made exaggerated and unverifiable claims of military prowess and self-sufficiency. But as pressure from outside grows about Iran’s nuclear ambitions, and Iran’s economy increasingly feels the bite of sanctions, analysts say, the latest repeated claims of invincibility sound more political than potent.
Iran claims to have developed an air-defense system as effective as the Russian S-300, which it has sought to buy for years to protect its nuclear installations. Moscow canceled the deal in September after a fourth round of UN Security Council sanctions was placed on Iran.
Experts doubt that Iran has replicated the Russian S-300, which defends against aircraft and cruise and ballistic missiles, and has a range of 90 miles. The US and Israel, anxious that Iran in fact wants to build a bomb, have not ruled out military strikes; Iran says its atomic effort aims only to produce nuclear power.