IRANIANS STARTING TO UNDERSTAND TRUMP AND DETERRENCE?
It was reported on Fox News that Iran pulled a Safir ballistic missile/rocket from its launch pad prior to a presumed test-firing following the U.S. enacting new sanctions against the government and twelve companies involved in the Islamic Republic’s missile programs.
Keep in mind that the Iranians had initially threatened in response to the sanctions to test their missile systems, radar and command and control. The new U.S. sanctions were imposed after Iran test-fired a BM-25 Musudan, a single-stage, nuclear-capable, Intermediate-Range Ballistic Missile (IRBM) believed to have a range of 2,500 – 4,000 kilometers in violation of United Nations Security Council Resolution on January 29th.
Shortly after the Iranians test-fired the Musudan IRBM, they returned to the same launch site at Semnan and cleaned up the site for a second launch, and placed the Safir on the pad. The Safir’s important to Iranian missile development rests in the fact that it is the first Iranian-produced expandable-launch vehicle. In the past, it has been used by the Iranians to launch satellites going back to 2009. But the Safir is the very type of rocket that you could add two more stages to and develop an Inter-Continental Ballistic Missile. Going through the motions of cleaning the launch pad, and readying a Safir, to only then take it from its launch site is puzzling, unless the Iranian government feared further sanctions or other action by the Trump administration and the international community.
Observers will also be happy to know that Safir means “Ambassador” in Persian.