Iran: Intercontinental missiles targeting the US?
According to intelligence reports, Iran’s missile program is a direct threat to the United States, as Iran may be developing intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) under the guise of its space program.
The Iranian space program and missiles
Iran has been working on its space program, using technologies similar to those of intercontinental ballistic missiles. This has led to concerns that advances in space technology could be used to develop long-range ICBMs.
According to the American Institute for Peace, the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) space program has added complexity and raised international concern.
The US Intelligence Community and Israeli intelligence services have reached similar conclusions about the targets of Iran’s ballistic missile program.
Many nations have expressed interest in and worry about the Iranian space program. Concerns have been raised regarding the potential for misuse of the rockets and missiles that Iran has developed as part of its space program.
In 2009, Iran successfully launched its first satellite, Omid, marking the beginning of the country’s formal space program. Since then, Iran’s space program has flourished, with the country putting a number of satellites into orbit. In order to launch satellites, conduct space research, and monitor Earth, the program has focused on creating homegrown technologies.
However, the international community has criticized and scrutinized Iran’s space program because of its ties to the country’s missile development efforts. The fact that the technology behind space launch vehicles can be adapted for use in creating ballistic missiles is cause for concern. Concerns about regional security and stability have been sparked by allegations that Iran is using its space program as a front for developing its missile capabilities.
Iran’s missile program has come a long way since it was first started. The Shahab series, the Sejjil missile, and the Zolfaghar ballistic missile have all been displayed there. Because they can deliver conventional or nuclear warheads to targets in the region, these missiles have caused concern among neighboring countries and the international community.
In response to security concerns regarding Iran’s missile technology, the UN Security Council has passed three resolutions restricting the country’s missile activity. Many nations have demanded that Iran end its ballistic missile program and start acting in accordance with international law.
Iranian officials have responded to the allegations by insisting that the country’s space program serves only peaceful purposes, such as telecommunications and remote sensing, while its missile development is a completely distinct endeavor. Iranian officials have denied charges that their missile program threatens regional security, and they have defended the country’s right to pursue space exploration under international law.
Concern and discussion over Iran’s space program and missile development efforts have persisted for some time. Iran claims it has a right to peaceful space research, but the international community is wary because of the dual-use nature of the technology at play. In light of Iran’s space program and missile development, diplomatic initiatives and conversations are essential to address these issues and ensure regional stability.
Cooperation with North Korea and Russia
North Korea is believed to have obtained technology to miniaturize its nuclear weapons and mount them on top of its missiles. Given the history of technology sharing between Iran and North Korea, sharing that technology with Iran is not out of the question.
In February, CIA Director William Burns stated that the United States believes Russia may be helping Iran advance its missile technology in exchange for economic aid.
UN Security Council Resolution 2231
In Resolution 2231, the UN Security Council strongly discouraged Iran from building ballistic missiles capable of delivering a nuclear weapon. Iran, though, has kept working on improving its missile program.
In April of 2020, Iran sent its first satellite into orbit on a Ghaem-100 rocket. The rocket’s technology was most likely adapted from the Hwasong missiles developed by North Korea.
Statements by Iranian officials
In November 2020, Seyyed Majid Mousavi, deputy commander of the IRGC Aerospace Forces, stated on Iranian television that Iran possessed ICBM capability.
In November 2022, Nassir Hosseini, a personal representative of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, announced that the Ghaem-100 missile is a solid-fuel intercontinental missile and satellite carrier.
The concern is growing as Iran advances its ICBM technology, which could directly threaten the United States with cooperation.