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Middle East , Missile and Space

Iran Triples Missile Production Amid Growing Tensions with Western Bloc

March 11th - 2018

Amid growing tensions with the Western bloc and pressure both from Europe and the United States to curb its missile program, Iran has announced a three fold increase in production of ballistic missiles. According to Amir Ali Hajizadeh, Commander of the Aerospace Division of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), attempts to hinder Iran's progress in the defence field were been in vain. The senior officer noted that the government, the parliament and the institutions of the Islamic establishment were united against pressures from the West, stating: "Despite the hostilities by the enemies, the pace of defense development in the country has increased... our missile production has increased three-fold over the past years."

Commander Hajizadeh highlighted what he claimed were "double standards," noting that the United States continued to develop its nuclear forces daily while demanding the disarmament of its adversaries. The IRGC Commander's statement closely coincided with a statement from Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to the effect that Iran would only disarm of its missiles if Europe and the United States revoked their nuclear arms. The effect of this was to again highlight the significant double standards inherent to be West's demands for Tehran's disarmament.

Iran has reportedly received assistance from North Korea, its longstanding defence partner, in setting up production lines for short range ballistic missiles. Indeed, missiles provided to the Hezbollah militia by Iran for use against Israeli targets in the 2006 Israeli-Hezbollah were found by Israeli analysts to make extensive use of North Korean designed components. Iran's Shahab 3 missile is notably a domestically produced variant of the Korean Rodong, while Iran has also received assistance in modernising and enlarging its Scud and SAM arsenals to prevent them from falling into obsolescence. Alongside liquid fuelled platforms, more sophisticated solid fuel missiles such as the Khorramshahr have been closely based on Korean analogues such as the Musudan and modified to suit Iran's defence needs - namely a reduced range and higher payload and accuracy. Ultimately Korean assistance has been key to developing the infrastructure necessary to produce a missile arsenal, facilitating the creating of a domestic industry capable of accelerating arms production and thereby leaving Iran in a strong position to continue to enhance its strike capabilities domestically regardless of Western pressure.

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