Hezbollah claims 'pinpoint' Iranian missiles added to its arsenal

The Lebanese Shiite militant group and close ally of Iran said it has received more advanced missiles, with greater range, as talks over Iran's nuclear program wind down in Vienna.

Hussein Malla/AP
Hezbollah members at a march in Beirut earlier this month to commemorate Ashura, which commemorates the 7th Century Battle of Karbala, where Hussein, a grandson of Mohamed revered by Shiites, was killed.

On the eve of a deadline in nuclear talks between six world powers and Iran, Lebanon’s militant Shiite Hezbollah organization has revealed that it has acquired advanced Iranian missiles with “pinpoint accuracy” that it could use against Israel in any future war.

“They [the Israelis] are well aware that Hezbollah is in possession of missiles with pinpoint accuracy, and thanks to the equipment Hezbollah acquired, and with the Islamic Republic’s support and Hezbollah’s readiness for any future war, [the next] war will be much tougher for the Israelis,” Naim Qassem, the deputy head of Hezbollah, said in an interview with Iran’s Tasnim news agency.

Sheikh Qassem’s comments on Hezbollah’s enhanced missile capabilities and the threat they pose to Israel came amid waning hopes that a deal could be struck by a Monday deadline in Vienna between Iran and the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council – Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States plus Germany, the so-called P5+1. The six leading nations want Iran to curb its uranium enrichment capacity, which could be used to make nuclear weapons, in exchange for a lifting of international sanctions.

By late Sunday, negotiators were reportedly looking  for a way to extend the talks beyond the deadline.

Watching the Vienna talks closely from the sidelines is Israel. Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, has said he is concerned that any final deal between the P5+1 and Iran will be insufficient to curb what he says is Iran’s goal of building nuclear weapons. Iran says its nuclear program is for civilian use only.

In an Israeli cabinet meeting Sunday, Mr. Netanyahu said that Israel is delivering a “firm stance” to its allies in insisting that Iran should not be allowed to become a “nuclear threshold state”.

“Therefore, no deal would be preferable to a bad deal that threatens Israel, the Middle East and all of humanity,” he said.

If there is no diplomatic breakthrough in Vienna, the drumbeat for military action against Iran will almost certainly be heard once more, raising tensions in a region already ravaged by conflict and radicalism.

Over the past decade, Iran has turned Hezbollah into a powerful military force with weapons capabilities unmatched by any other non-state actor. In May, a top Israeli army general said Hezbollah’s arsenal “would not shame any army in the world”.

Iran’s considerable military and financial investment in Hezbollah is intended to bolster Iran’s deterrence against a possible attack on its nuclear facilities. If Israel chooses to bomb Iran’s nuclear plants, it must first assess the response of Hezbollah in neighboring Lebanon.

The stronger Hezbollah’s military capabilities, the greater the stakes for Israel in launching an attack on Iran. Twenty years ago, Hezbollah’s arsenal of unguided 12-mile range rockets allowed it to pepper parts of northern Israel only. Today, the missiles suspected to be in Hezbollah’s arsenal could slam half a tonne of high-grade explosive into specific targets in Tel Aviv, such as the Israeli defense ministry or Ben Gurion International Airport.

Two weeks ago, a senior officer in Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) said that Iran had provided Hezbollah with its indigenously produced Fateh A-110 short-range ballistic missiles.

“Considering the range of their [Hezbollah’s] missiles, they are able now to attack targets from southern to northern parts of the occupied territories [Israel],” said Brigadier General Sayed Majid Moussavi, the IRGC’s air defense commander, according to a report by the Iranian Fars news agency.

The specific missile system to which Moussavi and Hezbollah’s Qassem referred is likely to be the 4th-generation version of the Fateh which has a range in excess of 186 miles and can carry a 1,430 pound warhead. Armed with that missile, Hezbollah could launch it from its camouflaged bases in southern Lebanon and hit Israel’s nuclear reactor at Dimona in southern Israel, 140 miles south of the border with Lebanon, achieving a degree of reciprocity for any Israeli air strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.
Real news can be honest, hopeful, credible, constructive.
What is the Monitor difference? Tackling the tough headlines – with humanity. Listening to sources – with respect. Seeing the story that others are missing by reporting what so often gets overlooked: the values that connect us. That’s Monitor reporting – news that changes how you see the world.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.

QR Code to Hezbollah claims 'pinpoint' Iranian missiles added to its arsenal
Read this article in
QR Code to Subscription page
Start your subscription today