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It was not surprising that the first response to the killing of Soleimani by the Iranian state was through its cross-border missiles that targeted the base of al-Assad, as Iranian ballistic and non-ballistic missile systems remain a source of concern to everyone, because Iran has invested heavily in developing a homemade missile system that can reach For all the surrounding Arab capitals, as well as reaching the Israeli depth .. In this article, a detailed explanation of the story of these missiles and the extent of their destructive ability in the event of a regional war.

On that day seven years ago, the Iranians in eastern Tehran were on a date with unusual moments of panic, when their windows were shattered, their buildings were shaken, and a huge tongue of flame suddenly shed their sky over a huge explosion, and at first glance it seemed that America or Israel had crossed the threshold of verbal threats One of the sophisticated bombs fell over the Persian capital, before the Iranians later realized that the source of their panic was an uncharacteristic explosion (1) at al-Ghadeer missile base in Baid Ghaneh, 30 miles from the Iranian capital.

To this day, the Iranians or others do not know much about the "Al-Ghadeer" incident that bears the name of this controversial missile base, a base whose name has been associated with massive propaganda campaigns for pieces of weapons of the same name, such as "Ghadir" submarines and "Ghadir" missiles, but outside Iran, where it reveals Satellites details almost everything above Earth. The base was clearly known and famous for its intense activity and distinctive aquamarine buildings, which became a sign of the preferences of the most important man in that facility, and the brigadier, "Hassan Tahrani Moghaddam" (2), who is today known as the father of the missile program Iranian.

Brigadier Hassan Tahrani Moghaddam (Communication sites)

"Tahrani" was one of the few figures whose reputation in the West has become more famous in Iran itself, with being the most prominent officer in the Iranian Aerospace Force of the Revolutionary Guards, the Iranian ballistic missile project engineer, the chief responsible for missile designs, the communications and external procurement officer for the missile program, and the founder of the center The rockets in the Revolutionary Guards, and who subsequently supervise the establishment of the missile program for the Lebanese "Hezbollah" itself, and the official of the Self-Sufficiency and Industrial Research Organization, and before that the commander of the northern wing of the guards, and the owner of the military record that made him high on the list of wanted heads of the intelligence services, even if it was not revealed That officially.

Iran has never provided enough information about the explosion that shook the hearts of the Iranians, leaving 17 dead of the best generals and soldiers of the Revolutionary Guards, led by Tahrani himself, satisfied with a solemn funeral provided by the Iranian guide, Khamenei, but the leaders in Tehran were aware that what they lost in that It goes beyond the mere killing of prominent military commanders, and their more sophisticated military program has just suffered a severe blow that it will not be able to recover from any time soon.

Since then, the killing of Tahrani remains a mystery unresolved, despite the official Iranian narration proving that the explosion that killed the presenter and his companions was due to a technical error and not to a targeted targeting process, the occurrence of the incident following a series of assassinations against Iran's nuclear scientists during the past years, contributed In raising the ceiling of speculation about the involvement of external intelligence services, it appears that Tehran did not want to admit that the Mossad’s arms of arms probably overlooked tampering with the streets of Tehran to the fortified military posts sponsored by Revolutionary Guards.

Over the following years, the mention of “Tahrani” and his missiles has long subsided in favor of Tehran’s nascent nuclear program that attracted the world's attention, but the Iranian missile’s father mentioned the spotlight again, when a picture of him was published in an Iranian forum on the Internet in 2017, and a mysterious box bearing the name of it “Shahroud’s facility,” an image that later led to a startling conclusion: shortly before his death, it appears that Tehrani oversaw the development of a second secret facility in the remote Iranian desert in Shahroud, 300 miles from his first facility, and by examining satellite images the buildings soon emerged in color. Featured again, but this time in the heart of the Iranian desert.

Investigations (3) on the mysterious “Shahrud” facility have sparked a new wave of controversy over Iran's missile activity, especially when analyzing the ground scars left by the missile tests on the ground, which suggest that Iran not only develops its conventional arsenal of short and medium-range missiles, but may have entered To the era of developing long-range missiles or an advanced space program, in a qualitative development of the arsenal of Iranian missiles that were inaugurated in a primitive form in the mid-eighties, to develop gradually year after year, provoking more panic, not only to Iran's neighbors but in Washington itself.

(4) Iran's missile ambitions date back to the era of the Shah’s rule during the pre-Islamic era. During that period - in the early seventies in particular - the Iranian army was one of the best equipped armies in the Middle East, and perhaps in the entire world, possessed in the heart of it An emerging and ambitious program for short-range missiles, but after the Islamic revolution in 1979, the army was dismantled from within through ideological purification operations, and procurement and training programs were reduced, not to mention the flight of many trained military personnel, especially in the Air Force, leaving the Iranian army with its various units in a lamentable condition His weakness and dislocation.

Iran entered the furnace of an eight-year war with Iraq, one year after its revolution, in this case of military deterioration, especially in the Air Force, and although Iran was still technically and militarily superior to the Iraqi army, it found itself unable to Achieving air superiority, and while Iraqi missiles rained heavily on Iranian cities, Tehran was clearly unable to deliver precise strikes to targets inside Iraq.

In order to achieve a balance of deterrence in the face of Baghdad, Tehran decided (5) early that it needed to possess its own arsenal of missiles, and in order to achieve this, manufacturing was not an Iranian target at the time, focusing its first efforts on importing and assembling short-range Scud missiles, and in 1985 The then Iranian Parliament Speaker Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani headed a high-level delegation that shuttled to Libya, Syria, North Korea and China on a special shopping tour for the missile dream.

Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, a former Iranian parliament speaker (Reuters)

The efforts of “Rafsanjani” came quickly to fruition, and the same year did not end before Iran actually got its first batch of short-range R-17 الصواريخ missiles, one of the Scud B models from Libya, which can fly close to 300 km. Carrying an explosive head weighing up to a thousand kilograms, and despite the fact that those missiles were highly weak guided, they were sufficient to achieve Tehran's goal of setting fire to Iraqi cities within what was later known as the "city war" between Tehran and Baghdad.

But Tehran soon exhausted its stockpiles of Libyan missiles to go to a new supplier, North Korea, this time with a more ambitious deal, as Tehran offered to participate in financing the Pyongyang missile program in exchange for transferring technology to it and obtaining the priority concession in obtaining the missiles once they leave. Of production lines. Indeed, the first batch of North Korean Scud missiles was delivered in 1987, and it was rumored at that time that Iran had acquired its share of the missiles even before the missiles were deployed to the North Korean army, and during the following months, Iran obtained nearly a hundred missiles, all of which were used in succession in the war with Iraq. , Adding more fire to the flames of the already burning skies as a result of the largest missile war in the Middle East until that time.

In the end, the Iran-Iraq war ended without a clear winner after it left nearly a million people dead, but its end did not end Tehran's ambitions to possess the missiles but made them more thirsty, and before the war itself ended, Iran entered into negotiations with North Korea to buy its latest missiles from Scud C.

Scud C missiles (networking sites)

Scud C is powered by liquid fuel, which is the longest and widest range of Scud B missiles while expanding fuel tanks to carry larger quantities of it. The missile's range is estimated at 500 km when carrying an explosive head weighing 700 kg. Although Iran obtained its share of the Scud C already in 1991, its ambitions at that time exceeded the voracity of acquiring the missiles, turning Tehran's primary interest into acquiring the technology necessary to produce missiles locally, an old goal that appears to have begun in Tehran planning to achieve it accurately and vigorously sooner than everyone thinks. .

The need for ballistic missiles in the time of the Iraqi war, as well as Iran's enmity quickly rooted with Israel, led to a rapid development in the Iranian missile industry, prompting Iran to advance its early missile production, a ground artillery missile known as "conflict" and launched by a missile launcher. Mobile, "Conflicts" is the first clear achievement of the missile development team that was founded by "Tehrani Moghaddam" during the Iran-Iraq war.

By the end of the war, Muqaddam found himself in a relatively better position to conduct more research and experiments on more advanced missiles and seek to conclude technology transfer agreements, to achieve this goal already in 1993 when North Korea decided to provide Iran with Scud missile production technologies, as well as dispatch Some Korean specialists to help train the Iranians to produce their own missiles.

And intuitively, (6) versions of the first missiles were simulation models for the existing Scud missiles, and it started with the Shahab (1) missile, which is a replica of the Scud B missile. Iran later succeeded in manufacturing between 2000-3000 units of it, and it works with liquid fuel. It can carry a warhead of up to 1,000 kilograms with a distance of 186 miles, but it lacks accuracy as does the original Scud B missile, and Iran later developed a longer-range version of the missile itself under the name "Shahab 2", and is able to travel a distance of up to About 300 miles.

In 1998, Iran launched a test missile for the "Shahab 3", an updated version of the "Nodong" missiles produced by North Korea for the purpose of hitting American bases in Japan from the Korean peninsula, and although the missile's range is originally about 600 miles, it is believed Iran has developed its capabilities to a range that exceeds 2000 km. However, despite the huge boom made by the Shahab missiles in terms of the missile's range, it is technically and annoyingly late for the Iranians at the level of accuracy, making it inappropriate for use on the battlefield to hit specific and vital targets such as airports and military installations, As it is appropriate for cases of indiscriminate destruction that can cause widespread public panic in any country as a whole.

In order to overcome these shortcomings, Tehran (7) subsequently issued a new version of the "Shahab 3" missiles under the name "Ghadeer 1", and provided it with a new generation of warheads known as "Imad", heads believed to give the missiles more stability and ability On maneuvering, with greater accuracy although it has a relatively lower range, but Iran has gradually begun to realize the constraints associated with relying on liquid fuel rockets, and has begun to develop more militarily feasible solid fuel missiles.

Unlike the qualitative superiority of solid fuel missiles in terms of range and accuracy, it maintains a specific advantage which is that it can be filled with fuel and stored for a long time, unlike liquid fuel missiles that require instant fueling before launch, which is difficult to hide, and was one of Iran's first steps in the field of Solid fuel technologies are the production of a short-range surface-to-surface missile, "Meshak", a primitive Soviet-style missile in the 1980s with the help of Chinese technology, which was launched five times during urban warfare.

Although the solid fuel missiles disappeared from the Iranian scene for a long time, they suddenly returned (8) in 2002 with the testing of a new solid fuel missile called "Fatih 110", a single-stage missile with a range of at least 200 km, and was manufactured on The Chinese CSS8 missile model. Surprisingly, Iran claimed at the time that it had manufactured the solid fuel for the missile at the Defense Research Institute, and Iran later announced that it had developed a naval version of the "Fateh" missiles that the Americans believed were capable of targeting Merchant and marine ships in the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz.

In May 2009, Iran made a major leap in the conduct of solid fuel missiles when it successfully tested the "Sajil 2" missile, a two-stage surface-to-surface missile that Iran had successfully tested several times since then, with a range of between 2,000 to 2,500 kilometers, and it is claimed Capable of carrying a full-weight warhead of the same distance, and later in 2015, Iran (9) detonated a surprise by disclosing that it had manufactured a cruise missile with a range of 2,500 km, a major development that meant that Iran's missiles were no longer able to target the Middle East. Only, but eastern and southern Europe entered the Iranian missile range for the first time.

Throughout its history, Iran has been a defensive force (10) in the first place, (11) mainly due to geography. While the mountainous terrain provided Iran with a great deal of defensive immunity, it dyed it a lot of isolation as well and imposed permanent restrictions on its ambitions for external expansion. And ethnic and later sectarian distinction further increased Iran's isolation in particular from its Arab environment, which imposed on it a unique social and cultural blockade.

Tehran city mountains (Reuters)

The Iraq-Iran war came to impose on Iran a greater share of that isolation and to prove at the same time its severe lack of balance of deterrence with its opponents. With the Iraqi missiles falling on Iranian cities and the flight of their residents by the thousands for the first time, the Iranian morale was destroyed and Tehran found itself obliged to end the war, and since then The missiles in Iran's military conscience turned from a mere weapon to a complete method of warfare, eventually stabilizing (12) as a major component of Iran's deterrence strategy.

Unlike in an environment densely packed with hostiles and competitors, Iran, unlike its neighbors and competitors in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Israel in the first place, does not have any access to advanced Western military technologies, nor does it have any high-level security guarantor, and with its large population and relatively limited resources , It has less luxury to boost its military spending compared to Saudi Arabia, for example, which has 9 times Iran's military budget, or even the United Arab Emirates, whose population does not exceed one tenth of Iran's population, and in return has a defense budget that exceeds Iran's defense budget by at least half.

By translating those facts on the ground, Iran found itself possessing a more backward weapons system at the technical and operational level even from its weakest neighbors, so the security equation that it developed was mainly based on possessing deterrence that reduces the chances of a war in which Iran is directly involved. (13) The trinity of Iranian deterrence is based on three main pillars, the first of which is Iran's theoretical ability to threaten navigation in the Strait of Hormuz, and the second is its ability to operate proxy violence in multiple locations outside its borders, whether through permanent armed agents such as Hezbollah or through criminal cells As in Europe and Latin America, and finally, its ability to deliver striking strikes to its enemies remotely comes with its arsenal of short and medium-range missiles.

Each leg of that security triangle has its share of obvious advantages and disadvantages. On the one hand, efforts to close the strait can lead to striking the stability of financial and global markets and the loss of Iran, any international support in Europe and Asia, so Iran always keeps it as a last and exceptional option, and at the time At the same time, Tehran's ability to ignite conflicts at a distance and carry out explosions outside its borders is significantly reduced compared to the 1990s, for example, so that the missiles turn into a first and perhaps only strategic option for Iran.

Even if those missiles are not able to deliver decisive strikes at military targets or vital infrastructure banks, simply having the ability to launch mass population fires in major population centers is a matter of achieving Iran's current goals, and causing cumulative effects that perfectly match the "doctrine of resistance". The Iranian ", a doctrine that does not depend on achieving decisive short-term victories, but assumes that victory comes primarily through steadfastness and attrition of the enemy for as long as possible, so it is not surprising that all of Iran's proxies and armed movements supported by them use weak guided missiles as primary weapons.

Indeed, Iranian officials have often discussed their missile power using terminology borrowed from classical deterrence theory. For example, after launching the first test of the Shahab-3 missile in July 1998, Ali Shamkhani, then Iranian Minister of Defense, briefly outlined his vision of Iranian deterrence theory, which is based on absorbing any initial strike so as to cause minimal damage. Then, deliver a strong retaliatory strike that will prevent any third strike from occurring as long as possible.

Indeed, Iran experimented (14) the effectiveness of that missile-based deterrent system indirectly in the recent past, when the Hezbollah arsenal derived from Iran in 2006 succeeded in inflicting severe economic and political damage to Israel during the war that the two parties fought in that. The year, although most of Hezbollah's missiles at the time were relatively short-range artillery rockets, but their strikes incurred the Israeli economy $ 3.5 billion in losses, after Israeli companies were forced to close and paid the authorities to spend huge amounts of money on insurance and calling in the reserves.

Today, Hezbollah - as well as Iran itself - has a more robust missile arsenal of 130,000 missiles with a longer range and improved accuracy, including Fateh, Fajr and even original Scud missiles, while Iran has strengthened and deployed its missile arsenal On wider geographical areas, especially in Syria, which today hosts Iranian medium-range missiles and field factories to install the missiles.

These missiles are likely to enable Iran and its proxies to strike their direct opponents in Tel Aviv and Riyadh if they want to, while Israel lacks sufficient strategic depth due to its small geographical area and the exposure of basic infrastructure sites such as oil, water, electricity, and even chemical weapons stocks, even with Tel Aviv's possession of a multi-layered missile defense system, including a system of Iron Dome to intercept relatively short-range missiles, the "David Sling" system against long-range missiles, and finally the "Arrow-Arrow" system of medium and long-range ballistic missiles, this network remains vulnerable to saturation if it outperforms The number of rockets fired is based on the number of available interceptor missiles, while in Riyadh the situation remains more fragile with the Patriot missile defense systems, which have proven limited (15) limited effectiveness in more than one occasion, and will not be sufficient to confront the missile barrage that Iran and its proxies can rain if the two sides enter a war directly.

Missiles provide Iran with an asymmetric deterrent force in front of larger and better-equipped forces, a force that requires relatively little material and technical investment compared to other military capabilities, especially air capabilities, so it remains the preferred option for small powers to gain relative deterrence against larger forces by possessing a capacity To cause massive damage to it, and to impose huge defense costs on it by paying it to install expensive missile defense systems, yet what worries the world - and the United States in particular - for a long, previous period are not the relatively limited Iran’s current guided missiles capable of hitting Israel, as much Iran's alleged ambitions to possess long-range or intercontinental missiles may be able to threaten the authority of the "civilized" world at the center of its strongholds.

At the present time, there are 5 countries (16) around the world that possess missile arsenals capable of hitting any target from the east to the west of the globe, which are the United States, Russia, China, Britain and France, where these countries possess intercontinental ballistic missiles with a range of 13 thousand km, Not to mention other countries that possess intercontinental missiles such as Pakistan and India, and other countries that have military programs of medium or long-range missiles.

Even Tehran's direct opponents in Tel Aviv and Riyadh have sophisticated missiles that can hit Tehran deep for more than two decades at best, but none of these massive missile arsenals - regionally and globally - do not arouse the same amount of controversy and terror as Iranian missiles, due to this. On the one hand, the political approach of Iran's missile program is associated with the growing concerns about its nuclear ambitions, meaning that Iran's missile program has always been seen as a lever to deliver its expected nuclear weapons, and on the other hand it is linked to long-term concerns of the United States of possessing what it always describes as "states". The rogue "missile capable of hitting the United States or its close allies in its European surroundings.

Missile launchers in the Israeli occupation state (Reuters)

Washington has long carried long-term fears that these countries possess their classifications of advanced missile systems since the famous Cuban missile crisis in the early sixties, when the Soviet Union agreed with Cuba to build secret bases for launching medium-range missiles that could hit entire American territory, in response to Washington's deployment of missiles. A bull in Britain, Jupiter missiles in Italy and Turkey, putting Moscow in the range of more than 100 American missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads.

The Cuban missile crisis represented the most prominent chapter of the Cold War, and almost put the world on the verge of a real nuclear war, but one of its long-term effects (17) was the deep concerns that were born in Washington of the damage that cheap weapons such as missiles with a primitive nuclear bomb could face in the face American power, let alone highlight the magnitude of the risk that a small force that might not adhere to the traditional rules of political and military interactions within the international system can pose.

Later, the American failure to contain North Korea, which had two advanced nuclear and missile deterrence programs, contributed to these concerns, especially after Pyongyang has demonstrated beyond any doubt its ability to deliver its nuclear weapons to the American shore in Seattle and San Francisco, which is what It increased the concerns of the United States not only about Korea, but more about Iran, which is located in an ocean of American bases and military blocs, and contributed to maximizing these concerns in particular the long history of missile cooperation between the two countries on the basis of solidarity against America, and mutual isolation in a region of American allies and even nuclear ambitions, where the United States strongly believes that Pyongyang is the main supporter of Iran's missile program, and that its contribution to it far exceeds that of Tehran's traditional allies in Moscow and Beijing.

The truth is that this American belief afflicts a great deal of the truth, as 19 engineers from North Korea oversee plans to develop and improve Iranian missiles, and the Islamic Republic uses North Korean plans to build secret sites that provide protection for underground missiles, and experts travel regularly between the two countries. To assist the efforts of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards to develop nuclear warheads and guidance systems, North Korea also continues to provide Iran with some of its advanced missiles, on top of which are the mid-range Mossudan missiles that the Pentagon believes Iran acquired in 2005 and developed for a long time, before launching in 2007 under the name of Khorramshahr (20). ), And has a range of 2,000 km.

In response to these long-term concerns about the ability of Iranian missiles, successive American administrations have developed consecutive plans to defend Europe against the potential impact of these missiles, the most prominent of which (21) came during the era of President George W. Bush in 2007 when he announced a plan to establish a missile defense structure in Europe that would deploy ten systems Missiles in Poland and a radar system in the Czech Republic, a plan launched in response to Tehran’s missile launch of a 2,600-km Sajil missile, which gives it the ability to hit Poland and several other European Union countries, with fears of a close ability to develop ICBMs beyond its range. 4000 km.

These fears were reinforced in particular with the opening of Iran of its space center in Samnan province in 2008, and its success early next year in successfully launching the two-stage space Safir missile to put the Omid satellite into orbit, to be followed later by the launch of Iranian satellites using the Safir missile that is capable in terms of Theory of carrying a nuclear warhead, before Iran later revealed a more sophisticated version of an ambassador under the name "Simorg" with the ability to carry a vehicle weighing 500 kg.

With the expansion of the infrastructure of Iranian space operations, Western concern increased (22) from the shift of satellite launches to experimental labs for launching intercontinental missiles, but Washington concluded in the end that this shift is not possible due to the presence of large technical differences (23) between launchers. Space missiles, which are powered by long low-propulsion engines with long operating times, are necessary for the satellites to travel to their orbits, and between intercontinental missiles that require different engines to propel them to higher altitudes.

As a result, the Obama administration has embarked on a strategic assessment of the Iranian missile threat, concluding that Tehran will not be able to manufacture intercontinental ballistic missiles any time soon, and that the greatest threat from Iran lies in its nuclear program and its medium-range missiles capable of reaching Europe, so the administration engaged in lengthy talks with Tehran to curb its nuclear ambitions, while launching an alternative initiative to Bush's plan to defend Europe that included the deployment of SM-3 interceptor missiles in order to counter the potential threat of medium-range missiles coming from Iran.

The Obama administration's strategy centered mainly on the nuclear program and the separation of its approach to the nuclear and missile files has eased the pressures on Iran's missile program, giving Iran an opportunity to expand its missile tests, and it is estimated (24) that Iran has fired at least 23 ballistic missiles since the signing of the nuclear agreement From 2015 until the beginning of this year 2018, of which 10 were at least 10 medium-range ballistic missile launches, theoretically capable of carrying nuclear warheads.

To coincide with this, the Trump administration came to the White House in early 2017 with a clear agenda to destroy Iran's nuclear deal, and the ballistic threat was brought to the fore of the conflict again, as part of a broader plan to undermine the Iranian regime altogether, or renegotiate a new deal that includes wider restrictions not only On Iran's nuclear ambitions, but also on its missile program and military activities outside the borders in Syria, Yemen and Lebanon.

However, that American desire clearly overlooks the theoretical differences between Tehran's military nuclear ambitions, between its missile program and their position in Iran's deterrence strategy, while Iran's nuclear program was a negative deterrent, meaning that it is designed primarily as a bargaining chip with the West and international powers in the face of successive sanctions. And a strategy to protect Iran's most important military programs, the missiles remain the main positive deterrence plan (25) of the Iranian regime that enables it to engage effectively in various theaters, and to pursue its interests without direct fear of retaliation within Iran itself, which is another lesson that Iran has learned from its war with Iraq On the limits of its traditional military ability, which prompted it to invest for decades in militias and local agents in order to compensate for the military advantages of its opponents.

For Iran, militias and missiles are two sides of the same coin, which are relatively “low-cost deterrence.” Funding costs for militias, no matter how disproportionate, are the costs of developing conventional military capabilities that require investments that cannot be borne by Iran's dilapidated economy, assuming that the world will allow them to do so, and as much as Missiles are the most prominent example of low-cost military deterrence. With every dollar that Tehran spends on easy-to-produce missiles, it forces its opponents to invest hundreds of millions of dollars in expensive missile defense systems, and with every extra kilometer in the range its missiles cut, Tehran expands the cycle of terror, and remains This is a satisfactory equation for the balance of deterrence, even if no single missile was actually launched, but like all of Iran's defense strategies, it remains effective only until the moment when Iran resorts to launching these missiles heavily from its territory above the heads of its enemies already, and that is the moment when it will be believed. These opponents say that a costly war on everyone against Iran will be more expensive than a long-term plan to contain it.