Tehran is exploiting the chaos in Iraq to smuggle and hide a stockpile of short-range ballistic missiles, US intelligence and military officials claim.
The missiles pose a threat to American allies and partners in the region, including Israel and Saudi Arabia, and could endanger American troops, officials told The New York Times.
According to the officials, Iran was using Iraqi Shi’ite militias to move and hide the missiles. The Iranian-backed militias have effectively taken control of a number of roads, bridges, and transportation infrastructure in Iraq, easing Tehran’s ability to sneak the missiles into the country, officials said.
Intelligence officials would not discuss the precise model of ballistic missile Iran has sneaked into Iraq. But short-range missiles have a range of just over 600 miles, meaning that one fired from the outskirts of Baghdad could strike Jerusalem.
European Powers: Iran Developing’ Nuclear-Capable Ballistic Missiles’
France, Germany, and the United Kingdom said in a letter to the UN circulated Wednesday that Iran is developing “nuclear-capable ballistic missiles.”
Ambassadors from the three countries urged UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to inform the council that Iran’s missile activity is “inconsistent” with a council resolution endorsing the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran.
The letter cites footage released on social media April 22, 2019, of a flight test of a previously unknown Shahab-3 medium-range ballistic missile “equipped with a maneuverable re-entry vehicle.” The letter says: “The Shahab-3 booster used in the test is a Missile Technology Control Regime category-1 system and as such is technically capable of delivering a nuclear weapon.”
In addition to the April 22 flight test of the new Shahab-3 missile variant, the letter cited four examples of Iranian nuclear-capable missiles
The Europeans’ letter says these activities “are the latest in a long series of advances in Iranian ballistic missile technology” and “furthermore, Iran continues its proliferation of ballistic missile technology in the region” in violation of the Security Council resolution.
The Security Council has scheduled a December 19 meeting to discuss the implementation of the 2015 resolution on the Iran nuclear deal.
[Sources: The New York Times, AP, CBN News]