Sunday, August 22, 2010
Iran WMD Missile Delivery Systems
Iran WMD Missile Delivery Systems
A series of media reports in June last year centred on the issue of the DPRK acquiring cruise missile technology from Russia via Iran. The Japanese daily Sankei Shimbun, claiming ruling party and government agency sources, alleged that Iran had supplied the Kh-55 / AS-15 Kent to the DPRK for the purpose of reverse engineering. The Sankei Shimbun quoted a Defence Ministry source claiming 'They [Iran and DPRK] are linked by a network beneath the surface regarding the development of weapons of mass destruction.'
The sorry saga of the proliferation of the Soviet era Kh-55 missile is a case study in how the post Soviet apparatus of state in former Soviet republics has been unable to contain leakages of sensitive technologies.
Rumours that China and Iran had acquired examples of the Kh-55SM missile from the Ukraine had been circulating for some years, but without any robust data to validate these claims. This all changed with the Orange Revolution in the Ukraine and the collapse of the regime of pro-Russian president Leonid Kuchma, earlier accused of selling long range ESM systems to Saddam Hussein prior to Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Hrihory Omelchenko, deputy chairman of the parliamentary committee on organised crime and corruption, sent an open letter this January to the new Ukrainian president Viktor Yushchenko, in which he reported that government officials loyal to the former regime had actively obstructed investigations into the illegal export of the Kh-55SM missile to China and Iran.
The affair occupied considerable bandwidth in the Ukrainian and Russian media earlier this year. According to multiple sources, the illegal transaction was initiated in 2000, when two Russians, O.H. Orlov and E.V. Shelenko, both associated with the Progress export company, produced a false Rosvooruzheniye arms export agency contract document for the supply of twenty Kh-55SM missiles. This contract was provided to UkrSpetzExport, a Ukrainian equipment exporter. The two Russians were aided by the head of the Ukrainian Ukrazviazakaz company, Vladimir Evdokimov, a reservist in Ukrainian intelligence.
Omelchenko's letter claimed 'These cruise missiles were hidden on military depots of the Ukrainian Defense Ministry under the control of [the Defense Ministry] and under documentation signed by senior officials of the ministry, saying they were in fact designated as destroyed.'
A chain of front companies was used to cover the transaction, with six Kh-55SM missiles claimed to have been flown to China in April, 2000, and another six to Iran in June 2001. The deal included a KNO-120 ground support system for testing, initialising and programming the missiles. The destination of the remaining eight rounds was not disclosed. Iran is alleged to have paid US$49.5 million for the missiles, with Orlov and Shelenko earning US$600,000 for their efforts. Russian and Ukrainian media also allege that an Australian national was part of the transaction.
This transaction comes as no surprise to analysts familiar with contemporary Russian arms exports. US based analyst Dr Alexander Nemets disclosed some years ago that China was operating two parallel campaigns to acquire Russian weapons technology. One involved legal acquisitions via Rosoboronexport (formerly Rosvooruzheniye), the other not so legal acquisitions via the black market.
Iran's connections with the DPRK are also widely documented, and the export of DPRK ballistic missile technology to Iran provided a technological foundation for Iran's developing IRBM manufacturing infrastructure. Iran invested considerable effort in circumventing Western embargoes on exporting military technology, especially to maintain the large inventory of US aircraft and other equipment supplied during the reign of the Pahlavi regime.
The significance of the Soviet era Kh-55SM should not be underestimated. This is the most capable strategic cruise missile in service globally, other than the US AGM-86B ALCM and BGM-109B Tomahawk. It is the backbone of the Russian air launched nuclear deterrent, equipping the Tu-95MS Bear H and Tu-160 Blackjack A bombers.
Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)
•Kh-55 Granat References
•AS-15 Export to Iran
■Iran has no documentary evidence on missile deal with Ukraine IRNA 10 Apr 2005
■Yushchenko Confirms Missile Sales to Iran, China RFE/RL 01 Apr 2005
■Ukrainian Official Says Missiles Exported To Iran, China RFE/RL 18 Mar 2005
■Analysis: Kuchma's Ukraine Cruises Back Into The Spotlight RFE/RL 02 Feb 2005
■Ukraine Accused Of Selling Weapons To Iran RFE/RL 02 Feb 2005
Yulia Volodymyrivna Tymoshenko (Юлія Володимирівна Тимошенко, ˈjulijɑ ʋɔlɔˈdɪmɪriʋnɑ tɪmɔˈʃɛnkɔpron), née Hryhyan (Ukrainian: Грігян); (born November 27, 1960) is a Ukrainian politician. Tymoshenko was the Prime...
X-55 Long Range Cruise Missile
On 28 January 2005, Ukranian parliamentarian Hryhoriy Omelchenko issued an open letter to President Viktor Yushchenko that Ukraine had illegally sold cruise missiles to Iran. It's was a credible report, which names dates, names, the bank accounts, fictitious shell companies that were set up to extradite the transfer of money from Iran. Plus there was collaborating evidence to this whole affair. He refered to a paper company set up in Cyprus to channel money for the missiles.
Anti-corruption lawmaker Omelchenko was a ranking State Secret Services (SBU) officer and a deputy belonging to Yulia Tymoshenko's parliament faction. Omelchenko is the past head of the parliament's committee on combating organized crime and corruption and is also the Head of the Temporary Committee on Investigating the Murder of Georgiy Gongadze. He has requested that the Attorney General arrest Leonid Kuchma for his involvement with the murder of Internet journalist Heorhiy Gongadze.
On 18 March 2005 "Financial Times" newspaper of Britain reported that Ukrainian Prosecutor-General Svyatoslav Piskun had stated that Ukraine exported 12 cruise missiles to Iran and six to China in 2001. Piskun told the paper that none of the 18 X-55 cruise missiles (also known as Kh-55 or AS-15) was exported with the nuclear warheads they were designed to carry.
The newspaper said it was the first confirmation by a Ukrainian government official that the exports took place. The the X-55 has a range of 3,000 kilometers, more than enough to reach Israel from Iran. The US embassy in Kyiv is closely monitoring the investigation and wanted the findings of a reported secret trial over the missile exports to be made public.
The missiles themselves were not in very good shape, according to one US official. They were diverted from Soviet stocks left behind when the Ukraine declared its independence in 1991.
Prosecutors said the missiles were sold illegally, and were not exported by Ukrainian enterprises. Export documents known as end-user certificates recorded the recipient of the 20 Kh55 missiles as "Russia's Defense Ministry."
A government investigation into illicit weapons sales by officials loyal to former President Leonid Kuchma, who left office in January 2005, led to secret indictments or arrests arms dealers accused of selling missiles to Iran and China. At least three people were arrested and another three were indicted last year in connection with the illicit arms trade.
In 2000 Russian national Oleg Orlov and a Ukrainian partner identified as E.V. Shilenko exported 20 Kh55 cruise missiles through a fake contract and end-user certificate with Russia's state-run arms dealer and with a firm called Progress, a subsidiary company of Ukrspetseksport -- Ukraine's arms export agency. Orlov was detained 13 July 2004 in the Czech Republic, and as of early 2005 an extradition procedure was under way to return him to Ukraine for prosecution. Orlov and his partners were suspected of providing Iran with maintenance equipment and technicians to service the Kh-55 missiles.
Prosecutor General Svyatoslav Piskun was chief prosecutor under Kuchma and retained his job after Yushchenko, a Kuchma opponent, came to power in January 2005. Legislator Hrihoriy Omelchenko dismissed the statement by prosecutors as a "political trick" by Piskun to keep his post in the face of calls by pro-Yushchenko legislators for his resignation.
Lawyer Bogdan Ferents defends in court the sole defendant in the case on the sale of the missiles, director-general of the company Ukrainaviazakaz Vladimir Yevdokimov. The Kh-55 cruise missiles delivered by Ukraine to Iran and China in 1999-2001 "are not weapons", Ferents said, adding that the missiles were not complete with parts.
The missiles delivered to third countries were manufactured in 1987, and had a service life of eight years. The lawyer maintained that storage of the missile did not meet standards since 1992. Former Air Force commander Viktor Strelnikov and specialists who examined the missiles said that they were marked with the inscription "training".
Jane's Intelligence Digest, published on 18 March 2005, noted: "There is no doubt that the sale of the missiles to Iran and China could only have taken place with the knowledge and cooperation of senior Ukrainian officials. ... there is ... mounting evidence to suggest that the sale of missiles to Iran was undertaken with the assistance of the Russian security services."
Why Does Iran Want Cruise Missiles?
The half-dozen missiles sold to China are consistent with a Chinese interest in reverse-engineering these weapons to provide technical input into China's ongoing efforts to develop long range cruise missiles. But Iran is not known to have a long range cruise missile development program, and the dozen missiles aquired by Iran suggest the possibility that Iran hoped to equip these missiles with nuclear warheads, once Iran completed its atomic weaponization program.
Press reports noted that while Iran does not operate long-range bombers, it was believed that Tehran could adapt its Soviet-built Su-24 strike aircraft to launch the missile. But this totally misunderstands the multiple launch modes of this missile, which can also be launched from ships or from land based truck launchers. These later modes are certainly the ones relevant to Iran. The Soviet sea and ground launched versions of the missile had a small solid rocket motor that would boost the missile to cruising speed, and Iran would have to make some provisions to replicate this equipment. Such small motors would seem well within the reach of Iran's capability base.
Long range cruise missiles tipped with atomic bombs would provide an attractive capability for attacking Israel. It may be imagined that an Iranian atomic bomb would be somewhat larger and heavier than the Soviet nuclear charge the missile was initially designed to carry, but no so much larger as to preclude installation in the missile's nose. Absent unavailable data on Iranian atomic bomb characteristics, some reduction in the Kh-55's 2,500-3,000 km range would be anticipated, but not so much as to preclude reaching Israel at a distance of less than 1,500 km.
While Israel has invested considerable effort in developing the Arrow anti-missile system for countering Iran's ballistic missiles, Israeli capbilities to counter low-flying cruise missiles are less well developed. The X-55 cruise missile is much smaller than the Shehab 3, and consequently could be mounted on a much smaller launching truck, making it easier for the launcher garrison to evade detection.
Unlike a ballistic missile, it is hard to detect a cruise missile when it is launched. The KH-55 flies at medium altitude for the first part of its flight. Cruise missiles can fly at low altitude and weave in between mountain ranges to minimise the risk of detection. They are much more difficult for SAMs and other air defences to track or attempt to engage. The only way to effectively deal with cruise missiles is to use AWACS to guide in fighters. Even then its hard for the fighters' AAMs to engage the missiles. Trying to intercept cruise missiles over land is a difficult challenge for the defending side.
Basic computer maps used for navigation can be compiled from information bought from most countries with operational satellite systems. With the inflight navigation fixes periodically throughout its flight this would be good enough for a 1,500 km flight. With a simple low powered altimeter radio system it could avoid the ground quite easily.
With converted civilian planes, Iran could possibly launch these missiles from the middle of the Atlantic to hit the United States. This might require some fancy engineering on the part of Iran. The missiles could be mounted on launchers slung under the wings of a heavy cargo plane such as an IL-76, but Iran only has one such airplane in military service. Low-wing commercial aircraft would not provide sufficient ground clearance for such an installation. In principle commercial passenger aircraft could be modified with a bomb-bay, but the structural modifications required would be rather heroic.
A more attractive alternative might consist of arming small ships with single cruise missiles. The modifications required to launch such a small missile would easily escape detection.
Iran's merchant marine fleet is controlled by the state shipping company Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (IRISL). It serves now two container services from the port of Bender-e Abbas. One of them goes on a 30-day loop to East Asia, the other reaches Europe via the Suez in 22 days.
In 2003 it was estimated that Iran's merchant marine consisted of 130 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 4,715,242 GRT / 8,240,069 DWT. This was composed of 40 bulk, 36 cargo, 3 chemical tankers, 7 container, 1 liquefied gas tanker, 5 multifunction large-load carrier, 33 petroleum tankers, 8 roll-on/roll-off cargo, 1 short-sea passenger, and 10 other ships registered in other countries.
Iran's merchant marine fleet is doing relatively well, but the average age of 40% of its vessels is over 20 years, which makes it rather unfit for international competition. In October 2001 an agreement for manufacturing six ships was signed with Germany. The ships will be constructed with a total investment of $188 million in Bandar Abbas under German supervision.
Iran Shipbuilding and Offshore Industries Complex [ISOICO] is a qualified Iranian company, active as shipbuilder and shiprepairer of different types of vessels and contractor of offshore structures. It operates from a production premises on the Persian Gulf (37 km west Bandar Abbas City), shipping to any location offshore or onshore.
The activity of the Company started in the early 1990s as a workshop and a yard. The experience gained in this operation enabled the company to enlarge its sphere of activity to plants and mechanical plant components, then to multidisciplinary projects. Although the offshore experiences is short but ISOICO has played an important role in offshore market, constructing in its Bandar Abbas Yard.
ISOICO shipyard is capable of constructing any type of vessel up to about 4 x 80,000 DWT per year on its existing building berths mainly bulk carrier, containership and oil product carrier using advance technology, which after accomplishing the development in process (i.e. two Dry Docks) the constructing capability will increase for the vessel up to about 2 x 300,000 DWT VLCC or 2 x 140,000 m3 LNG carrier per year in addition to the existing capacity.
RKV-500 / SS-N-21 Sampson
The RKV-500 is the Soviet counterpart to American BGM-109 Tomahawak cruise missile. The RKV-500 and the Kh-55 employed by strategic bombers share the same airframe. The RKV-500 is designed to be launched through a submarine torpedo tube.
The RKV-500 was deployed onboard Soviet Navy's Akula, Sierra, and Victor III-class nuclear-powered submarines. The sea-based version SS-N-21 Sampson was reportedly deployed on the Yankee Notch submarines. Since the SSC-4 coastal defense variant is carried in a 25.6-in (650-mm) diameter canister, some analysts have suggested that the sub-launched variant is probably for launch only from 650-mm diameter torpedo tubes.
The upgraded RKV-500B featuring the same improvements than the Kh-55MS missile was deployed in the 1990s within the Russian Navy.
There are sketchy reports of an experimental derivative of the 3K-10 named the "3M-55 (SS-N-27)" that is intended for the antiship role. It has a warhead consisting of a solid fuel missile that performs a terminal attack at Mach 2.5.
TEHRAN, Iran – TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Sunday inaugurated the country's first domestically built unmanned bomber aircraft, calling it an "ambassador of death" to Iran's enemies.
The 4-meter-long drone aircraft can carry up to four cruise missiles and will have a range of 620 miles (1,000 kilometers), according to a state TV report — not far enough to reach archenemy Israel.
After an intermittent freeze on uranium enrichment that lasted several years, Iran resumed enrichment work in January 2006. Since early 2007, Iran has stepped up efforts at its underground commercial-scale enrichment plant at Natanz, with the installation of piping, wiring and control panels, and the installation and linkage of IR-1 (P-1) centrifuges in cascades. Iran has nearly completed the installation of three “units” at Natanz, with roughly 3,000 centrifuges each. As of the IAEA’s May 2010 report, 24 cascades of 164 machines were operating there on May 24, or about 3,939 centrifuges. All these centrifuges have been fed with UF6; a further 4,592 machines have been installed. According to an IAEA inventory in November 2009, Iran produced 969 kg of low-enriched uranium hexafluoride at the plant since November 2008, the date of the last verification. In all, as of May 1, Iran had produced about 2,427 kg of this material.
Work at the Natanz pilot plant has shifted away from the first-generation IR-1 centrifuges towards the development of more advanced machines, including the IR-2, IR-3 and IR-4. All of these machines have been tested with UF6. The IR-2 is a sub-critical machine with a single carbon fiber rotor and no bellows, according to a report by the Institute for Science and International Security. According to the IAEA, Iran is also testing a modified version of the IR-2. This modified IR-2, or one of the other, more advanced centrifuge models, is likely made with higher strength metals, like maraging steel. It is not clear whether Iran is able to manufacture, assemble and install any of these advanced machines in large quantities, as Iran may rely on foreign suppliers for some of the machine’s key materials and parts. However, Iran is working to make centrifuge operations entirely indigenous; at its Kalaye Electric research and development laboratory, Iran is developing not only centrifuge components, but also measuring equipment and vacuum pumps.
Iran has also continued to produce uranium hexafluoride (UF6) – a gas that can be enriched to make fuel for reactors or bombs – at its Uranium Conversion Facility (UCF) in Isfahan. From March 2004 through August 2009, Iran produced a total of 371 tons of this material.
At the same time, other parts of Iran’s nuclear program have progressed. Despite calls by the U.N. Security Council, the IAEA and Europe to abandon the project, Iran has pushed forward with its heavy water production plant at Arak, and with its 40-megawatt heavy water reactor nearby. The heavy water plant was inaugurated in August 2006, and, using satellite imagery, the IAEA has assessed the plant to be operational. The IAEA board indefinitely blocked Iran’s request for technical assistance for this project at a meeting in November 2007, over concerns that the reactor could be used to produce plutonium for weapons. During a visit by to the reactor in August 2009, IAEA inspectors confirmed that no reactor vessel was present and asked Iran to provide additional design information related to the reactor’s fuel and to fuel handling and transfer equipment. Inspectors’ access to the heavy water production plant is blocked, as long as Iran fails to implement the Agency’s Additional Protocol allowing for enhanced inspections. On May 23, 2009, Agency inspectors were able to visit the Fuel Manufacturing Plant; it was then operational and had produced natural uranium pellets to fuel the heavy water reactor. During a follow-on visit, in January 2010, inspectors confirmed that no new fuel assemblies had been produced since last May.
After years of delay, the light water power reactor at Bushehr, which is being built by Russia for over $1 billion, is nearing completion. Preliminary testing began in late February 2009 and start-up was then projected before the end of 2009. However, Russian officials have once again delayed start-up, which is now expected in March 2010. Delivery of the reactor fuel needed for start-up, some 82 tons, was completed in January 2008. The billion dollar reactor is expected to supply 1,000 megawatts of energy to the national power grid. Each year, the reactor will also generate spent fuel containing some 250 kg of weapon-useable plutonium – enough to fuel several dozen nuclear weapons after further processing. The spent fuel will be returned to Russia, in accordance with a protocol signed in February 2005.
Grounds for suspicion
Doubts about the peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear work have grown in response to Iran’s decision to limit its cooperation with the IAEA. In early February 2008, the IAEA presented member states, including Iran, with specific evidence that Iran had pursued work related to nuclear weapons. In its May 2008 report, the Agency listed eighteen documents supporting these allegations. Iran has called the documents “forged” or “fabricated,” but still refuses to help the Agency investigate their validity by providing access to individuals, records and sites. For instance, it has barred IAEA inspectors from interviewing Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, former head of the Physics Research Center who was reportedly described by the IAEA as the Iranian military official in charge of Iran's nuclear effort. Since May, the IAEA has made a number of proposals aimed at breaking this impasse -- none of which Iran has accepted.
The IAEA has also presented specific information showing that a company in Iran involved in uranium conversion was in touch with a team designing the inner cone of a missile re-entry vehicle that could, according to the Agency, “quite likely accommodate” a nuclear warhead. The IAEA wants Iran to explain documents and technical information that link Iran to the testing of high voltage detonator firing equipment, the development of exploding bridge wire detonators and an arrangement for underground, remote explosive testing. The Agency considers these activities to be “relevant to nuclear weapon R&D.”
The IAEA also wants clarification on Iran’s efforts to procure such potentially nuclear weapon-related items as spark gaps, shock wave software, neutron sources, corrosion resistant steel parts and radiation measurement equipment. These items might have been intended for use in interrelated studies on uranium conversion, high explosives testing and the design of a nuclear-capable missile re-entry vehicle.
The IAEA is still reviewing elements of Iran’s undeclared nuclear program, including the illicit import of centrifuge equipment in the late 1980s and 1990s. In November 2007, Iran finally turned over a one-page document containing a 1987 offer from the network run by Pakistani scientist A.Q. Khan. According to Iran, this is the only remaining evidence of the offer, which included supplying a disassembled P-1 centrifuge, centrifuge manufacturing specifications, blueprints for a “complete plant,” and materials to make 2,000 centrifuges. The offer also included auxiliary vacuum and electrical drive equipment, mechanical, electrical and electronic support equipment for the centrifuge plant, and a document on how to reduce UF6 to metal, and how to cast and machine enriched, natural and depleted uranium into “hemispherical forms.” Iran insists that it only received some components for two disassembled centrifuges along with supporting drawings and specifications.
After reviewing what the Agency described as “the limited documentation provided by Iran,” the IAEA concluded that its findings matched Iran’s statements about the 1987 acquisition of P-1 centrifuge technology. However, several questions about Iran’s early research and development work following this offer remain open, including the genesis of a 1993 offer of P-1 enrichment technology from the Khan network and the conditions under which Iran received a document on how to make hemispheres of uranium metal—an activity uniquely useful for bomb making.
As for the development of its more advanced centrifuge program, Iran is sticking to its unlikely story that after receiving a full set of drawings for Pakistan’s P-2 from the Khan network in 1996, during a meeting in Dubai, it conducted no work at all on the P-2 until 2002, and that it never received P-2 components. Iran has also insisted that it procured only a small number of magnets for the P-2. The IAEA was unable to substantiate evidence that Iran received 900 magnets from a foreign supplier during the period between 1996 and 2002 when Iran says it undertook no work on the P-2. As a result, the Agency has concluded its findings about Iran’s P-2 activities match Iran’s statements. Yet, Iran’s current pursuit of the IR-2 makes uncertainties about the program’s early development troubling.
Imports of nuclear-, chemical- and missile-related equipment have been indispensable to Iran’s weapon efforts. The latest report by the U.S. Director of National Intelligence on transfers of mass destruction and advanced conventional weapon technology, which covers 2008, repeats claims made many times in the past that Iran has continued to seek foreign assistance from entities in Russia, China, and North Korea. According to the report, China supplies “a variety of missile-related items” to Iran; and Russia provides assistance to Iran’s missile and “civilian nuclear program.”
The nuclear smuggling network run by Pakistani scientist A. Q. Khan is believed to have been the main supplier to Iran’s centrifuge enrichment program. Speculation as to exactly what equipment and material Iran received has been the subject of numerous media reports since Libya renounced its mass destruction weapons and the Khan network was revealed as Libya’s primary supplier. The IAEA has already confirmed that the enrichment programs in Iran and Libya relied on the same technology obtained from the same foreign sources. And Iran’s P-2 centrifuge design is the same as the one found by the Agency in Libya. The P-1 centrifuges Iran has installed at Natanz are of an early European design, similar to the machines that have been under the control of the Khan Research Laboratories (KRL) in Pakistan. If Iran indeed received the same package of nuclear goods as did Libya, then it is possible that Iran received the same Chinese-origin bomb design. Iran may also have received more sophisticated nuclear weapon designs from the Khan network. Such designs were found on computers seized from Swiss nationals Friedrich, Marco and Urs Tinner. The Tinners were a known part of the Khan smuggling network and the designs found on their computers would reportedly require only 15 kilograms of highly enriched uranium and would be small enough to fit atop Iran’s medium-range Shahab-3 missile.
China has also provided key assistance to Iran’s nuclear effort. Chinese entities have helped Iran prospect for uranium, have sold UF6 ready for enrichment and have provided Iran with blueprints, equipment test reports, and equipment design information for its uranium conversion plant at Isfahan.
Russia’s main contribution is the 1,000 MW light-water power reactor it has been building at Bushehr. As of December 2005, 700 Iranian experts had completed training at Russia's Novovoronezh training center, which is run by the Russian nuclear power agency Rosenergoatom. The training included a theory course, work on a nuclear power unit simulator, and work at Russian nuclear power plants similar to the Bushehr reactor. The Iranian experts will continue their training at the Bushehr reactor itself. In addition to the reactor, Russian entities are alleged to have supplied laser equipment for uranium enrichment, know-how for heavy water reactors, and help with heavy water and nuclear-grade graphite production.
Iran has also sought dual-use nuclear technology from some members of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), an organization of 45 nuclear supplier countries. According to the New York Times, seven NSG countries have denied Iran the purchase of nuclear-related materials at least 75 times, mostly since 2002. Iranian end users involved in these denied sales, according to the Times, include the government of Iran, the atomic energy organization, energy, engineering, aircraft and petrochemical companies, schools and universities, a plasma physics center, a helicopter support company and mineral research centers. Denied sales involved nickel powder, petrochemical plant components, compressors, furnaces, steel flanges and fittings, electron microscopes, radiometric ore-sorting machines, valves and tubing, lasers, a rotary drilling rig, a mass spectrometer and a nitrogen production plant.
China, Russia and North Korea have combined to supply Iran’s missiles. Iran’s 1,300 kilometer Shahab-3 missile is essentially an imported North Korean Nodong missile enhanced by Russian technology. It was distributed to Iran’s Revolutionary Guards in June 2003 and has since been tested several times. And it is widely assumed that if Iran fields a Shahab-4 missile, it will be a copy of Russia’s SS-4 missile. Both the Nodong and the SS-4 can carry a nuclear warhead. In January 2007, Russian defense minister Sergei Ivanov confirmed that Russia had delivered Tor-M1 air defense missile systems to Iran. Iran has already tested the missiles and will use them to defend key nuclear sites. North Korea, in addition to selling the Nodong missile, has furnished Iran a fleet of SCUD-B and SCUD-C short-range missiles, plus the factories to make them. Both the SCUD-B and SCUD-C have a diameter sufficient to accommodate a compact nuclear warhead.
From China, Iran has imported the 150 kilometer CSS-8 ballistic missile and a series of land-, sea-, and air-launched short-range cruise missiles. Many of these latter are anti-ship weapons.
In addition, Grigory Omelchenko, a member of Ukraine’s parliament, revealed in early February 2005 that a former officer in Ukraine’s secret police sold six unarmed Soviet-era cruise missiles to Iran between 1999 and 2001. The nuclear-capable missile, known as the KH-55 or the AS-15, has a range of up to 3,000 km and travels near the ground in order to avoid air defenses.
Chinese Arms Exports to Iran