As the US and its allies continue to discuss limiting Iran's nuclear program with Tehran, the Iranian military on Sunday announced that it had developed a new long-range cruise missile with a range of some 2,000 kilometers (1,200 miles) – putting Israel well within its reach, Israeli sourcessaid. The missile, called the “Soumar,” features “different characteristics in terms of range and pinpoint accuracy in comparison with the previous products,” Iranian Defense Minister Hossein Dehqan said at the unveiling of the missile Sunday.
The missile, Dehqan said, was developed based on the needs of the Iranian Armed Forces, and is “a crucial step towards increasing the country’s defense and deterrence might.”
On Saturday, an Iranian military official said that the country would be unveiling yet another missile system will be unveiled on April 18, when the country marks National Army Day. That system, called the Talaash-3, is based on the Russian S-200 missile system, the official said.
In his speech in Washington last week, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said that while the world is capitulating to Iranian demands to allow it to continue with its nuclear development program, the issue of its delivery systems – the advanced missiles it is developing – has not even been placed on the agenda yet, because Iran refuses to discuss it at all. Commenting Sunday, Iran's Aerospace Division head Amirali Hajizadeh said that Tehran “will never negotiated the country's defense capabilities, including the development of its ballistic missiles.”
In a statement, Iran's state-controlled Press TV quoted government sources as saying that “Iran has repeatedly assured other countries that its military might poses no threat to other states, insisting that the country’s defense doctrine is entirely based on deterrence”
The new Soumar missile is named for a city on the Iraqi border whose inhabitants were nearly all wiped out by an Iraqi chemical attack during the Iran-Iraq war.
In a development significant both for its timing and its content, Iran unveiled on Sunday a new cruise missile that it claimed would extend the Islamic Republic’s range by 25 percent, placing locales as distant as Budapest, Warsaw, and Athens within striking distance.
The Iranian revelation, complete with videos of a missile launch, come amid Tehran’s negotiations with the six world powers over its nuclear program and infrastructure.
Israel has long urged the negotiating world powers to include Iran’s growing missile-development program within the framework of the negotiations — a demand that Tehran has rejected out of hand.
“By the way,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told members of Congress in a controversial address last week, “if Iran’s intercontinental ballistic missile program is not part of the deal, and so far, Iran refuses to even put it on the negotiating table,” then Iran, if it attains a nuclear arsenal in the future, will have the means to deliver it “to the far-reach corners of the earth, including to every part of the United States.”
The inclusion of European capitals within Iran’s missile range triggers further discussion about US plans to station missile defense systems in Europe. Russia has long contended that Iranian missiles threaten neither Europe nor the US, Inbar wrote, and therefore it is “a very interesting move — if it was taken without Russian consent.”
Moreover, the unveiling of these new missiles, a decision almost certainly approved by Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenai, taken as the nuclear negotiations reach a pivotal juncture at the end of March, “is a significant signal,” Inbar wrote, “especially in light of the Iranian proclamations that the matter of missiles would not be up for negotiation.”
The Soumar missile, as it is known in Iran, is a copy of the Soviet Kh-55, which was stolen from the Ukraine in 2001 and apparently reverse engineered in Iran.
Tal Inbar, the head of space research at the Fisher Institute for Air and Space Strategic Studies, called the new cruise missile and the increased range it represents [2,500 kilometers] “a dramatic shift.”
He said in an email statement that the Soumar, like other cruise missiles, flies at a low altitude, making it hard for radar to detect.
China appears to be developing a new variant of the solid-fuel, road-mobile DF-31 intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) capable of carrying multiple warheads.
The claim was made by US admiral Cecil D Haney during a session of the US House of Representatives' Armed Services Committee on Feb. 26, according to a recent report from the UK-based Jane's Defence Weekly.
During his testimony, Haney said that images of a Chinese transporter erector launcher suggest that the People's Liberation Army is "enhancing existing silo-based ICBMs, conducting flight tests of a new mobile missile and developing a follow-on mobile system capable of carrying multiple warheads."
It is believed that Haney's report may have been making an indirect reference to the DF-31B — an upgraded version of the DF-31A — which was reportedly tested on Sept. 25 last year, according to the Washington-based Free Beacon.
Jane's Defence Weekly notes that the images indicate that the DF-31B has heavier second and third stages because the new launcher has additional elevating mechanisms compared to vehicles for the DF-31 and DF-31A, which have ranges of 8,000 kilometers and 11,200 km, respectively.
NATO's Not Enough! President Juncker Calls For Creation Of European Army To 'React Credibly' To Russia
No lessor official than European Commission President (and liar-when-it's-serious) Jean-Claude Juncker has called for the creation of an EU army... in order to show Russia "that [The EU is] serious about defending European values." Juncker explained an EU army would "help us fulfil Europe's responsibilities in the world," arguing that NATO was not enough since not all EU members are part of the alliance. As one stunned euro-skeptic exclaimed, "we have all seen the utter mess the EU has made of the economy, so how can we even think of trusting them with its defence."
The president of the European Commission has called for the creation of an EU army in order to show Russia “that we are serious about defending European values”.
In an interview with German newspaper Die Welt, Jean-Claude Juncker, who leads the EU’s executive arm, said an EU army would let the continent “react credibly to threats to peace in a member state or a neighbour of the EU”.
Mr Juncker said an EU army would “help us to develop a common foreign and security policy, and to fulfil Europe’s responsibilities in the world”. Nato was not a sufficient protection for the EU as not all EU members are part of the alliance, according to Mr Juncker.
“I support Juncker in building an EU army, if it means the termination of all EU member states’ armies and is controlled by the European Parliament,” tweeted Jan Philipp Albrecht, a German Green MEP.
Furthermore, German Defense Minister von der Leyen went so far as to note, "I think what is most important, it shows up in Europe, 70 years after the Second World War - and 70 years ago we were mortal enemies - that today the peace in Europe, in the European Union stands on firm footing, and we Step by step, more and more firmly establish our alliances, especially in the security policy. This interweaving of armies with a view to provide also have a European army one day, in my opinion, is the future."
Well of course the Germans would prefer this as it is a move towards federalization. But we leave it to a euroskeptic to conclude...
Mike Hookem, a defence spokesman for the anti-EU UK Independence Party, said: “A European army would be a tragedy for the UK. We have all seen the utter mess the EU has made of the eurozone economy, so how can we even think of trusting them with this island’s defence.”
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