Pentagon: Iran improving missiles to target vessels (YNetNews.Com -Yedioth Internet) Yitzhak Benhorin Published: 07.10.12, 23:27)
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Report submitted to Congress also reveals Tehran has ´methodically
cultivated network of sponsored terrorist surrogates capable of
targeting US, Israeli interests´
WASHINGTON - The Iranian army is continuing to improve the accuracy
and destructive power of its long-and-short-range ballistic missile
force, according to a Pentagon report that was submitted to the US
The report, which was obtained by Bloomberg News, said that as part
of the improvements, Iran´s military is designing a maneuvering
weapon to target vessels
The June 29 report, which was signed by Defense Secretary Leon
Panetta, states that Tehran "has boosted the lethality and
effectiveness of existing systems by improving accuracy and
developing new submunition payloads" that extend the destructive
power over a broader area than a solid warhead.
According to Bloomberg, the report found that the improvements are in
tandem with routine ballistic- missile training that "continues
throughout the country" and the addition of "new ships and
Bloomberg said the report also addresses the Islamic Republic´s
nuclear program and the assistance it offers to Syria, Hezbollah,
Hamas and Iraqi Shiite groups. It also repeated the US assessment
that Iran with "sufficient foreign assistance may be technically
capable of flight-testing" an intercontinental ballistic missile by
"There was a theme that Iran is improving the accuracy and lethality
of its missiles," Bloomberg quoted Congressional Research Service
Iran analyst Kenneth Katzman as saying.
"US government reports have previously always downplayed the accuracy
and effectiveness of Iranís missile forces," he added.
Senior diplomats from the European Union and Iran are scheduled to
meet on July 24 for technical talks on Tehran´s disputed nuclear
program to try to salvage diplomatic efforts to resolve the decade-
The meeting in Istanbul will be the second in a series of discussions
to clarify technical aspects of Tehran´s activity.
It follows an agreement by Iran and six world powers in June to use
such talks to decide whether diplomacy tackling broader political
issues should continue in the face of vast differences in views over
the nature of Iran´s nuclear ambitions.
Iran, which denies its work has any military dimensions, wants
international sanctions lifted before it makes any concessions, and
formal recognition of a right to enrich uranium. But the six are
loath to make concessions before seeing evidence of Iranian
willingness to address their concerns.
New sanctions went into place in the past few weeks, with EU
governments imposing an embargo on Iranian oil on July 1.
The Pentagon´s report predicted that Iran "would present a formidable
force while defending Iranian territory.
"We assess with high confidence" that over the past 30 years
Iran "has methodically cultivated a network of sponsored terrorist
surrogates capable of targeting US and Israeli interests. We suspect
this activity continues," it said.
The report further claimed that the Islamic Republic is continuing to
develop ballistic missiles capable of reaching regional adversaries,
Israel and Eastern Europe, including an extended-range Shahab-3 and a
2,000 kilometer (1,240 mile) medium-range ballistic missile.
Anthony Cordesman of the Center for Strategic and International
Studies in Washington was quoted by Bloomber as saying that the
report appears to verify that Iran has actively deployed a new solid-
fuel intermediate-range ballistic missile and that the Shahab-3 has
improved accuracy and submunitions.
Cordesman said the report also revealed that Tehran is looking to
improve its missile counter-measures against US and Gulf Cooperation
Council missile defenses and poses a potential new threat to Gulf
Iran, like China, is "developing and claims to have deployed short-
range ballistic missiles with seekers that enable the missile to
identify and maneuver toward ships during flight," the report stated.
"This technology also may be capable of striking land-based targets,"
the Pentagon´s report said. Reuters contributed to the report
(Copyright 2012 © Yedioth Internet 07/10/12)
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