For a start, with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo attending a NATO foreign ministers meeting in Brussels on Monday, Iran has given the U.S. ammunition to push for new sanctions against it. This isn’t just some neocon conspiracy. Iran’s ballistic missile program has no peaceful purpose, and no other purpose than to give the Islamic republic the means to launch nuclear strikes. Second, although Europeans are skeptical of President Trump’s Iran nuclear deal withdrawal, they share U.S. concerns over Iran’s missile program.
And this test is of particular concern because Iran’s focus on medium-range missiles reflects its interest in eventually deploying a credible nuclear strike force able to hit Israel and other adversary states, such as Egypt. The key here is that although Iran’s short-range ballistic missiles can hit Saudi Arabia and U.S. forces in much the region, Iran would need to rely upon medium-range missiles to hit Israel. Until last week, it was unclear whether the Khorramshahr missile actually possesd a multiple independently targetable warhead reentry vehicle. That question is now answered: Pompeo’s declaration that this missile test involved a “medium-range ballistic missile that’s capable of carrying multiple warheads” implies a high-confidence U.S. intelligence assessment that the Khorramshahr has at least a multiple warhead vehicle, if not an independently targetable vehicle. That’s why this latest test is so aggressive.
This also hints why, from a rational Iranian perspective, this latest test is so poorly timed. After all, with the U.S. putting heavy pressure on the European Union to escalate its economic pressure on Iran, and the EU predictably failing to mitigate U.S. sanctions on Iran, the Iranian economy is in free fall.
Read more: Washington Examiner
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