Tags: Iran | Israel | Tehran | Iran | Soumar | missile | Israel

Tehran Unveils New Soumar Long-Range Cruise Missile

By    |   Tuesday, 10 March 2015 12:26 PM

Iran on Sunday unveiled the new Soumar long-range ground-to-ground cruise missile, a weapon with a range of almost 1,500 miles enhancing the Islamic Republic's capability of targeting U.S. ships operating in the Persian Gulf as well as the Arab Gulf states, Israel, Russia, and parts of Eastern and Central Europe.

In unveiling the weapon, Iranian Defense Minister Hussein Dehqan said the missile further enhances Tehran's power projection and deterrent capability. He also announced that the Qadr and Qiyam two other long-range missile systems had been transferred to missile units operated by Iran's Revolutionary Guards, and that in the coming year, Tehran will continue to upgrade its long-range missile forces, the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs reported Tuesday.

The Soumar missile is believed to be a replica of a Soviet-era KH-55 cruise missile, smuggled out of Ukraine more than a decade ago, which eventually ended up in Iranian hands. The Iranian military has long insisted on opening production lines inside that country. Ever since foreign states refused to sell weaponry to the regime during the 1980-88 war with Iraq, Iran has made developing indigenous weapons production capability a top priority.

When combined with similar long-range missiles already in Iran's possession, the cruise missile unveiled Sunday will "expand the threat radius of the missiles" in possession of Iran's Revolutionary Guard, writes retired Israeli Defense Force Col. Michael Segall, a senior analyst at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.

Just last week, the Revolutionary Guard simulated the destruction of a replica of a U.S. aircraft carrier near the Strait of Hormuz.

"American aircraft carriers are very big ammunition depots housing a lot of missiles, rockets, torpedoes and everything else," the Guard's navy chief, Adm. Ali Fadavi, said on Iranian state television, adding that a direct hit by a missile could set off a large secondary explosion.

Last month, Fadavi said his force is capable of sinking American aircraft carriers in the event of war.

By taking this belligerent posture at this time, Tehran "is signaling to the West that it has no intention of giving up its long-range missile program [the missiles are capable of carrying nuclear warheads] or discussing it in any form during the nuclear talks" now taking place with the United States, Segall writes. "Iran also signals that it intends to keep developing missiles as part of building up its deterrence."

Iran "can install these missiles on battleships and submarines and increase their range," he adds.

Another ominous sign is that "Iran keeps refusing to let the International Atomic Energy Agency explore aspects of the 'weaponization' linkage between the nuclear program and the missile program."

Iranian Brig. Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh, commander of the Revolutionary Guard's Aerospace and Missiles Force, vowed during Sunday's ceremony that Iran would never discuss its defense programs especially cruise missiles as part of nuclear talks.

Iran is using its long-range missile program to provide a protective umbrella to its Middle Eastern allies, including Iraq, Syria and Lebanon to its west, and Yemen to the south.

This umbrella "also facilitates the ongoing supply of rockets to the terrorist organizations that surround Israel from the north (Hezbollah, now in the Syrian Golan Heights as well as on the Lebanese front) and south (Islamic Jihad and Hamas in Gaza), which Iran regards as its first line of defense," Segall writes. "Iran recently added its Hothi proxies in Yemen on the Saudi border."

Removing U.S. and international sanctions from Iran in the event a nuclear agreement is signed "will further accelerate the Iranian missile program, one of the flagships of Iran’s symmetrical struggle with the West," he concludes.

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Iran on Sunday unveiled the new Soumar long-range ground-to-ground cruise missile, a weapon with a range of almost 1,500 miles - enhancing the Islamic Republic's capability of targeting U.S. ships operating in the Persian Gulf as well as Israel.
Tehran, Iran, Soumar, missile, Israel, United States
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2015-26-10
Tuesday, 10 March 2015 12:26 PM
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