The Pentagon will simulate an Iranian missile attack in a missile defense test next month, news reports said a day after Iran test-fired a Saijjil-2 medium-range missile. The launch of the Sajjil-2, which has a 1,200-mile range and is capable of reaching Israel and parts of Europe, hardened the West's resolve for sanctions on Iran's nuclear program.
Though the timing appears to be a coincidence, Time Magazine reports that the Department of Defense will simulate the launch of an Iranian intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) to test the ability of American interceptors in January. Previous missile defense tests have used fake North Korean missiles to test American defenses.
The ICBM has a longer range than the Sajjil-2, and is as of now only a hypothetical threat from Iran. Due to the more pressing threat of missiles such as the Sajjil-2, the US earlier this year halted a proposed land-based missile defense system that would have protected against ICBMs in favor of a ship-based system for defending against shorter- and medium-range missiles.
The Christian Science Monitor reported Wednesday that Wednesday’s launch was the “latest twist in the strategic stand-off between Iran and the West, especially over its nuclear ambitions.” Iran has defied UN Security Council demands that it freeze uranium enrichment and has failed to provide a clear answer to a UN-backed nuclear deal in which much of Iran’s low-enriched uranium would be removed from the country in exchange for fuel for a research reactor. Tuesday the US House of Representatives voted to give President Barack Obama power to levy sanctions on Iran.
The missile launch also came amid new concern in the international community over Iran’s alleged accumulation of technical knowledge for building a nuclear weapon, reports the Associated Press.
Several U.S. officials familiar with the reportedly-secret Iranian technical document said that its authenticity has not been confirmed, but that it is part of a broader pattern of evidence suggesting Iran is laying groundwork to build a nuclear weapon. Iran has consistently insisted its nuclear program is for civilian purposes
The Times of London first reported Sunday on an Iranian document that reportedly describes a plan for a device used to detonate a nuclear bomb. The Times of London reports that the failure to reach a nuclear deal with Iran has raised concern of a nuclear arms race in the Middle East.
While the West may be doing all it can to curb Iran’s nuclear ambitions it is helping many countries in the Middle East to obtain civilian nuclear technology.
Ehud Barak, the Israeli Defence Minister, said that failure to enforce Iranian compliance with the International Atomic Energy Agency, the UN nuclear watchdog, could lead to a race for nuclear weapons. “Think of Egypt or Turkey or Saudi Arabia,” he said. “They can hardly afford not being nuclear if Iran turns . . . nuclear.” […]
The international community is trying to balance legitimate energy needs with limiting access to rogue states such as Syria, whose suspected nuclear plant was bombed in 2007.
The Christian Science Monitor
The Christian Science Monitor