BY THE ISRAEL PROJECT—
Amid the turmoil of uprisings and protests across the Middle and North Africa, Iran has covertly and illegally stepped up its production of long-range missiles with help from North Korea and 10 times smuggled weapons to Hamas and the Taliban, according to separate United Nations reports.
One of the missiles – the Sejil-1 – reportedly can reach as far as 1,243 miles (2,000 km). Another, the Shahab-3, has a striking distance of 559 miles (900 km). Some of Iran’s long-range missiles can reach as far as Europe in addition to Arab countries and Israel. Iran has repeatedly stated its desire to destroy Israel and wipe it off the map.
The report about Iran’s missile development was ready months ago but its release was delayed by UN Security Council member China, which helped deliver technology from North Korea to Iran. The information about the missiles and their accelerated production was supplied by other UN Security Council member countries, monitors investigating Iran, Western intelligence and outside experts. The report has yet to be officially released.
A separate report submitted to the UN Security Council showed that Iran tried 10 times in recent years to provide arms to terrorists, including two months ago, when British forces intercepted Iran-made anti-ship missiles and 122 mm rockets being shipped to the Taliban in Afghanistan. Those findings were submitted to the UN Security Council by UN experts who monitor Iran’s compliance with international sanctions over its nuclear program.
In another instance of illegal arms smuggling cited in the report, Iran had tried to transport advanced weaponry by ship to Hamas in Gaza. The Israeli Navy stopped the shipment aboard the Victoria from reaching its destination.
Iran has carried out its missile advancements despite sanctions designed to slow such production and stop Iran from building a nuclear weapon, according to the panel that compiled the report about accelerated missile advancement. Syria also has assisted Iran in acquiring nuclear weapons, according to the findings.
“Iran’s circumvention of sanctions across all areas, in particular the use of front companies, concealment methods in shipping, financial transactions and the transfer of conventional arms and related materiel, is willful and continuing,” the panel wrote.
“Iran maintains its uranium enrichment and heavy water-related activities, as noted in reporting by the International Atomic Energy Agency, and in the area of ballistic missiles, continues to test missiles and engage in prohibited procurement.”
Uzi Rubin, a leading Israeli missile expert, called Iran’s missile development rate “amazing in scope.”