The Message in Tehran’s Missile Tests
Fox News, November 12, 2008
Alireza Jafarzadeh (Foreign Affairs Analyst)
Just a week after the
election and President-elect Obama’s reiteration that a
nuclear armed Iran is “unacceptable,” the ayatollahs’ regime
is putting its belligerence on display in back-to-back
missile tests, hoping to exact concessions from the West.
Aptopix Obama 2008
Reacting to Obama’s remark, former Revolutionary Guards commander and current Majlis Speaker Ali Larijani reiterated his regime’s unbending nuclear ambitions, and insinuated that it is the United States that needs to change its approach vis a vis Tehran’s nuclear drive. Larijani said Obama “should understand that the change he talked about is not a change of color or a superficial or tactical change. The expectation is that these changes will be strategic.”
Tehran is facing mounting dissent, aggravated by factional infighting and economic crisis. The regime believes the missile tests are a show of might, to the world and particularly to its fast-shrinking domestic base.
The missile tests are part and parcel of Tehran’s nuclear weapons program. In February 2008, the main Iranian opposition, National Council of Resistance of Iran, released detailed information obtained by the Resistance network inside Iran, confirming that Tehran is working on the manufacture of nuclear warheads at a site called Khojir. This heavily secured military and Defense Ministry site is a vast, 120-square kilometer area southeast of Tehran. It is riddled with various facilities and tunnels dedicated to nuclear and missile projects. The project was codenamed 8500 and nicknamed the Nuri Industry. The warheads are being designed for installation on Shahab 3 missiles, the most advanced version of which has a range of 2,000 kilometers.
Iran’s military commanders have boasted that they have their fingers on thousands of missile triggers, aimed at 32 U.S. targets in the Middle East, and declared they will plunge the region into “raging fire.”
Although the ayatollahs’ missile-rattling can hardly disguise their growing political weakness, if they are not stopped we are looking at a nuclear-armed state-sponsor of terrorism with an aggressive agenda that extends beyond neighboring Iraq. The next administration needs to recognize this fact, with finality.
Alireza Jafarzadeh is a FOX News Channel Foreign Affairs Analyst and the author of "The Iran Threat: President Ahmadinejad and the Coming Nuclear Crisis" (Palgrave Macmillan, 2007).
Jafarzadeh has revealed Iran's terrorist network in Iraq and its terror training camps since 2003. He first disclosed the existence of the Natanz uranium enrichment facility and the Arak heavy water facility in August 2002.