Thursday, April 27, 2006

Iran's New Missiles

Reuters is reporting that Iran has received its first batch of BM-25 intermediate-range ballistic missiles (IRBMs) from North Korea. The wire service is basing its account on recent comments from the chief of Israeli military intelligence chief (Major General Amos Yadlin), who told a lecture audience that a small number of BM-25s have arrived in Iran.

As we noted in late January, the BM-25s are former Russian sub-launched ballistic missiles (SS-N-6s), that were "de-nuked," reconditioned and sold to Pyongyang, which is now transferring them to Tehran. Land-based versions of the missile are believed to have a range of 2500-4000 km, allowing Iran to reliably target Israel, along with much of eastern and southern Europe.

We use the word "reliably" because Iran's own efforts at building an intermediate range missile have been largely unsuccessful. Acquiring the BM-25 would give Tehran a ready, intermediate range strike capability, and substantially reduce the time/effort required to develop its own IRBMs. Many analysts believe Tehran could conduct a test launch of an imported BM-25 later this year--while the world community grapples with the issue of Iran's nuclear program, and how to deter it.

Along with its "intimidation" value, the BM-25 offers another advantage to Iran. The original missile (the SS-N-6) was designed to carry a nuclear warhead. As Tehran moves toward development of its first nuclear weapons, there are issues of size and weight to contend with. Fitting an early nuclear warhead on the BM-25 might be easier that trying to mate it to a medium-range missile, like the Shahab-3.

When the German press first reported Iran's suspected purchase of the BM-25, it raised an important question: if Iran was still years away from having the bomb, why was aggressively acquiring a proven nuclear delivery system? Rapid introduction of the BM-25--something that we're still waiting to see--might be an indication that Iran's nuclear efforts are more advanced that we believe, and Tehran will have the bomb sooner than expected.


blert said...

We've been over this before: she already has bombs.

Now the focus is on mating them to rockets.

NO OTHER POWER has ever tackled this engineering until the weapon was 'dialed in'.

Heavy water is a breeze to make -- if you've got the wallet. With it in hand you can build primitive converter reactors all too easily.

I am in no position to turn over any more cards: I have no intention to further accelerate what is already out of hand.

Any illusion that getting the bomb these days is anything much more than a financial exercise -- well, I can't stop the dream.

The idea that Iran is actually going to fill up revealed installations with massive quantities of priceless cascade trains: absurd on its face.

Like late war Nazi production Iran is going to spread her 'toys' all over the country side.

Which means that under no circumstances do you want to nuke their production plants. You need to 'debrief' them.

Their most valuable assets go to bed every night.

However, you'd better be at the trigger with counter-force nuclear weapons systems. You can't let any of their NBC get through.

Delay in this enterprise is on par with avoiding a biopsy. Iran is nuclear cancer.

M. Simon said...


You ought to go over to Belgravia Dispatch and read some formerly sane folks whistling in the dark.

They truly believe Bush is the problem. He starts wars without rhyme or reason.

BTW if you read my comments there be warned that I am prone to bouts of unannounced sarcasm.

Howard said...

I have the opinion that the Iran mullas are lying in their teeth, running a Saddam style bluff. They have bupkis. They will need a minimum of 54,000 P-2 centrifuges running day and night for a year to get a maximum of two bombs. There is no indication anywhere that they have even a fraction of that number. Bootleg manufacture of a P-2 is impossible because of the difficulty in making the rotor.

I repeat: they are bluffing.