IRAN ‘PLAYING WITH FIRE’
A day after the Trump administration slapped new sanctions on the Islamic Republic of Iran and President Trump cautioned Iran that, “it was playing with fire” and that he was not Obama. Iran remains undeterred and is back at it with regard to its long-range missile program.
Starting today, Iran is conducting military exercises to test domestically-produced missiles, radars, command and control, and cyber warfare systems. The stated aim of the exercises is to “showcase the power of Iran’s revolution and to dismiss the sanctions.” The Iranian Revolutionary Guards are reportedly conducting the exercise in a 13,515-square-mile area in remote Semnan province in northern Iran. General Amir Ali Hajizadeh, Commander of the Guard’s Airspace Division, also brazenly warned that, “If the enemy does not walk the line, our missiles come down on them.”
At the same time, the North Korean analysis site, 38North.org, revealed that recent Iranian test, likely relied on a liquid-fueled engine originally developed by the Isayev Design Bureau for the Soviet R-27 Submarine-Launched Ballistic Missile (SLBM). This report, if true, is important for two reasons, one it shows increased cooperation between Iran and North Korea, and two it would provide the key element to an Iranian domestically-produced Inter-Continental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) by providing a tested engine. Fox News made a similar claim in July of 2016 saying Iran tested a BM-25 missile, built with an R-27 engine produced by North Korea.
The BM-25 Musudan is a single-stage nuclear-capable, Intermediate-Range Ballistic Missile believed to have a range of 2,500 – 4,000 km with a 500 kg – 1,200 kg payload. With North Korean assistance, it could be the basis for a larger, longer range, nuclear capable, missile for Iran that could eventually threaten North America.
This leads once again to the question, can an opponent with an apocalyptic view be deterred by threat of destruction.