Pentagon warns of Iran’s expanding capabilities in new report

“Iran will deploy an increasing number of more accurate and lethal theater ballistic missiles,” says a senior intelligence analyst.

By World Israel News Staff 

A report entitled “Iran Military Power” is raising concerns at the Pentagon.

Released by the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), an external intelligence service of the U.S. Government, the document examines “the core capabilities of Iran’s military.”

“Iran will deploy an increasing number of more accurate and lethal theater ballistic missiles, improve its existing missile inventory and also field new land attack cruise missiles,” warns Christian Saunders, Senior Defense Intelligence Analyst for Iran at the DIA.

The Islamic Republic already “has the largest missile force in the Middle East, with substantial inventory of close-range ballistic missiles, short-range ballistic missiles and medium-range ballistic missiles that can strike targets throughout the region as far as 2,000 kilometers away,” Saunders adds.

“As Tehran expands its capabilities and role as both an unconventional and conventional threat in the Middle East, it is more important than ever that we understand Iran’s military power and the threat it poses to our interests, our allies, and our own security,” DIA Director Lt. Gen. Robert P. Ashley, Jr. said in his introduction to the report.

“Iran sees itself as closer than ever to achieving its goals,” Ashley said. “Tehran has played the cards dealt it by the fall of Saddam [Hussein in Iraq], the uprising in Syria, the rise and retreat of ISIS, and the conflict in Yemen.”

Aside from its missiles, “another point of concern to the United States and our allies is Iran’s rapid progress in advancing its UAV [unmanned aerial vehicle] capabilities,” says Saunders.

In June, Iran shot down a U.S. Navy high-altitude drone, firing a surface-to-air missile in the area of the Strait of Hormuz.

On the non-conventional front, “Iran has no nuclear weapons but its nuclear program remains a significant concern for the United States,” says the DIA senior analyst on Iran.

“Earlier this year, Iran began a counter-U.S. maximum pressure campaign, which has included gradually exceeding some of the nuclear related limits stipulated in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA,” Saunders notes, referring to the 2015 nuclear deal reached between Tehran and six world powers, and the U.S. withdrawal from the agreement in 2018.

“In early July 2019, the IAEA first confirmed that Iran had exceeded some of its JCPOA limits,” says the senior intelligence analyst.

“Tehran has threatened to continue ceasing other JCPOA commitments unless it… receives sufficient sanctions relief,” he adds, referring to the sanctions imposed on Iran by Washington, after President Donald Trump announced that the U.S. was pulling out of the nuclear pact, which had also been reached with Russia, China, the U.K., France, and Germany.

Iran is calling on European countries to save the agreement. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is accusing Tehran of using “nuclear extortion” in pressuring the Europeans.

“Iran has taken steps towards developing a limited expeditionary capability through its operations in Syria and Iraq,” says Saunders in his review of the DIA report.

He says the Iranian elite Quds Force and “its network of proxies will remain critical to Iran’s military power and Tehran will also improve its conventional forces in seeking new capabilities.”

Israel Air Force fighter jets struck in Syria this week, hitting “dozens of military targets” belonging to the Quds Force and Syrian army, according to the Israeli army spokesman on Wednesday.

“The attack was carried out in response to the launching of rockets by an Iranian force from Syrian territory into Israeli territory and an intent to cause damage in Israeli territory,” the military spokesman added.