In what could potentially be a violation of a United Nations bylaw barring the development of ballistic missiles, Iran test fired a new precision-guided ballistic missile on Sunday.
Under terms set by the UN, Iran is forbidden from broadening its missile program to include nuclear-capable warheads within its arsenal. Similarly, the UN Security Council forbids third-party nations from stimulating Iran’s missile capability in any way.
Named “Emad,” the Islamic Republic News Agency televised video of the missile launch which was declared a success by Iranian officials.
An improvement to the Iranian Shabab-3 missile, the Emad is a guided system which can be steered to its target. Unlike the Shabab-3, the Emad is estimated to have an enhanced range of 1,600 miles and able to deliver a payload of 1,650 pounds.
In a televised news conference, Iranian Defense Minister Hossein Dehghan told Fars News Agency:
“The Emad missile is able to strike targets with a high level of precision and completely destroy them. . . . This greatly increases Iran’s strategic deterrence capability.”
Despite the UN ban on this missile type, Dehghan added: “We don’t seek permission from anyone to strengthen our defense and missile capabilities.”
Defense analysts weighed in to assess the successful launch and project future Iranian military potential considering this new addition to Iran’s weapon cache.
Israeli defense analyst Uzi Rubin said: “The Emad represents a major leap in terms of accuracy. It has an advanced guidance and control system in its nose cone.”
Other experts, however, offered a slightly different version of Iran’s newfound capabilities. International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) senior fellow Michael Elleman suggested the Iranians remain years away from perfecting a missile system for use.
“It would probably take Iran many years and dozens of flight tests to master the new guidance technology,” said Elleman.
This is a brazen move by Iran.
Assisted by the lifting of crippling sanction and the unfreezing of assets, Iran releases anger through a missile test and broadcasts it to the world.
Despite claims by the Iranian defense ministry the Emad’s purpose is peaceful and defensive in nature, exhaustive examination by defense experts argue otherwise.
This was no photo-op; it is substance. Worse, the UN’s pesky rule-of-law restrictions are publicly flouted by top Iranian officials.
[Reuters] [Photo courtesy Fars News Agency]