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a report of the csis burke chair in strategy

U.S. and Iranian Strategic Competition: Part I Authors Anthony H. Cordesman Adam Mausner Aram Nerguizian

March 2012

The Arleigh A. Burke Chair in Strategy has prepared this book as part of a project supported by the Smith Richardson Foundation.


a report of the csis burke chair in strategy

U.S. and Iranian Strategic Competition: Introduction Authors Anthony H. Cordesman Aram Nerguizian Adam Mausner Peter Alsis Adam Seitz

March 2012


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US competition with Iran has become the equivalent of a game of three-dimensional chess, and a game where each side modifies at least some of the rules with each move. It is also a game that has been going on for some three decades and one that is unlikely to be ended by better dialog and mutual understanding. Unless Iran’s current elite fundamentally changes its behavior, or is overthrown, no amount of dialogue or negotiations are likely to change the way Iran’s leaders play this game in the foreseeable future. One can debate the past nature of US and Iranian relations, the causes of US and Iranian competition, and the level of blame that should be assigned to each side. The fact remains, however, that this competition is hostile, plays out across the Middle East and beyond, and involves major military risks and threats to the flow of global energy exports and the global economy. It is also a competition that has accelerated sharply in the last year. Iran is moving closer and closer to the point where it could build a nuclear device, and has begun to shelter some of its key nuclear operations in deeply a buried mountain site at Fordow. Iran is also steadily expanding its long-range missile programs and capabilities for asymmetric warfare. At the same time, the US and EU reinforced UN sanctions with far more serious pressure on Iran’s ability to export oil and make use of the international banking system. These sanctions will not go fully into place until mid-2012, but they already have done critical damage to the Iranian economy. Iran has respond with threats to “close the Gulf” to world petroleum and gas exports, and has begun to conduct major naval exercises. The end result is that there is a serious and growing risk of military confrontation. The growing pressure of sanctions may lead Iran to take military action in the Gulf, or try to find other ways to put pressure on its neighbors and outside states to end or reduce the impact of sanctions. There is also the possibility that an Israeli preventive attack could trigger a much broader conflict in the Gulf, or an Iranian effort to have Hezbollah or Hamas carry out attacks on Israel. There is no certainty of war or that a clash could trigger a broader conflict, but these are all possible outcomes. What is probable is that Iran will continue to engage the US in a regional and global competition for power and influence for as long as Iran’s current religious regime remains in power.

US-Iranian Strategic Competition The competition between the US and Iran dates back to the fall of the shah in 1979, and has lasted more than three decades. Even before the fall of the Shah, the US recognized Iran’s ambition to expand its influence in the region. The Shah made claims to be the major power in the region at the time of the British withdrawal from the Gulf in 1968, made claims to Bahrain, seized the islands of Abu Musa and the Tumbs from the UAE, and launched an ambitious nuclear program that involved the import of technologies that could be used for nuclear weapons.


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Confrontation Since the Fall of the Shah The Shah’s fall in 1979 brought a hostile Islamic revolution to power under the Ayatollah Khomeini. The new regime blamed the US for supporting the 1953 coup d’état overthrowing Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh and reinstating the Westernfriendly Shah, and saw the US as the “Great Satan”. In 1979 Islamic revolutionaries seized the US embassy in Tehran and took 52 Americans hostage for 444 days, creating a hostage crisis that led to the first US sanctions on Iran and a “hostage crisis” that lasted until the end of the Carter Administration. The Islamic regime sought to export its Shi’a revolution to other countries, contributing to Iraq’s decision to invade Iran, triggering the Iran-Iraq War from 1980-1988 – one of the bloodiest wars in the history of the region. It also led to new tensions between the US and Iran, including a “tanker war” between the US and Iranian navies over the movement of Kuwait tankers during 1987-1988. Iran suffered massive losses during the course of the eight-year Iran-Iraq War, with estimates of over 500,000 Iranians killed, and over $500 billion of damage and economic loss. The end of the war, however, allowed Iran to more actively pursue its regional goals in the Gulf, the region, and in areas like the Levant, Central Asia, and Latin America. It was not able to obtain massive flows of new, modern conventional weapons, but it was able to systematically build up a major capability for asymmetric warfare. It also had both developed a chemical weapons program after Iraq used these weapons during the Iran-Iraq War, it resumed the nuclear programs halted after the fall of the Shah, developed close military ties to Syria, and established an Quds Force to train and equip the Hezbollah, Hamas, various militia organizations in Iraq. A new arms race in the Gulf began between Iran, Iraq, and the Southern Gulf states during the Iran-Iraq War. The US backed the Southern Gulf states, and joined with them and its European allies in 1990-1991 to liberate Kuwait. This helped isolate Iran, and tension increased sharply after President George W. Bush denounced Iran as part of an “axis of evil” on January 29, 2002 and the US then led an invasion of Iraq in 2003, and occupied that country. Iran was confronted with a US military presence in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as growing US military support of the Arab Gulf states. It stepped up its long-range missile programs, the parts of nuclear programs that gave it the capability to build a bomb, and forces for asymmetric warfare. It also strengthened its ties to Syria, Hezbollah, and Hamas; and actively supported the Moqtada Al-Sadr in Iraq and Shi’ite militias hostile to the US. Once Mahmoud Ahmadinejad became president of Iran in 2005, Iran’s leaders became far more active in threatening Israel. Iran also became more confrontational in dealing with the UN and International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), and expanded its confrontation with the US into new areas like Latin America. As the following chapters show, the confrontation between Iran and the US has grown in scope and intensity ever since.

Competing Iranian and US Goals Iran’s regime seeks to preserve its power, to ensure Iran remains secure under its rule, and to expand its power and influence throughout the region while seeking to weaken and


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exclude the United States. Indeed, the current Iranian regime has staked a great deal of its legitimacy on its ability to confront the US. The leadership in Tehran also seeks to project its messianic form of Shi’a revolution throughout the region and the world by exporting its form of revolution. At the same time, it seeks to defend itself and other Shi’ites against neo-Salafi and other Sunni extremists that reject the legitimacy of the Iranian revolution and some of which condemn Shi’ites as heretics and apostates. This puts Iran at odds with the US on several fronts. The Gulf and its periphery are vital to the flow of world energy exports and the global economy. They involve vital strategic, geopolitical, and economic assets that the US has defended for decades. Iran’s relations with Israel and several Sunni-Arab states threaten the stability needed to maintain US interests. Iran seeks to challenge the status quo and acquire the power and prestige it feels it deserves. This has materialized in missile programs, defiance of the IAEA, and support for proxy warfare. The US now seeks to end Iranian nuclear ambitions, Iran’s support for outside movements that threaten US allies and interests, and Iran’s destabilizing activities in the region. The US opposes the Iranian regime's abuse of democratic procedures, its social and religious extremism, and its human rights abuses. The US offers capacity-building training programs, media access, and exchange programs to help Iranian civil society strengthen their calls for accountability, transparency, and rule of law. This includes using diplomatic tools to assist those defending fundamental rights and freedoms, engaging like-minded countries to develop shared approaches to pressure and change the Iranian government’s behavior, and persuading multinational energy firms to withdraw from all significant activity in Iran.1 The resulting competition plays out throughout the Middle East and parts of Central Asia in a wide variety of ideological, economic, diplomatic, and security spheres, and now touches nearly every corner of the globe. The following chapters will detail the types and levels of competition, while traversing regional analyses.

Competition Until Fundamental Changes Take Place in Iran’s Regime Experts debate the extent to which more moderate Iranian leaders – such as former presidents Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani (1987-1997) and Mohammad Khatami (19972005) sought better relations with the US, and may have offered bargains to improve US and Iranian relations. There is no question that the US did make many mistakes in dealing with Iran and must share some of the blame for the current level of competition and confrontation The fact remains, however, that Iran’s current leaders have no history of moderation and have made it clear that they see the US as the major challenge they face in both preserving their security and expanding their influence and power. This has not prevented some from taking moderate positions or seeking to improve relations with the US in the past, but as the chronology in Chapter II outlines, any talk of some form of “grand bargain” with the US has faded as Iranian politics have become steadily more hardline, particularly since a corrupt Iranian presidential election in 2009 exposed the fact that the regime did face serious popular opposition, led to the suppression of dissidents even


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within the ruling theocracy, and led to the growing use of foreign threats as an excuse for repression. The growing divisions between Supreme Leader Sayyid Mohammed Khamenei and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and their supporters notwithstanding, Iranian leadership agrees on its opposition to and confrontation with the US. Divisions have not split the regime in any aspect of its ambitions, support for military programs, development of nuclear programs and asymmetric warfare capabilities, and Iran’s effort to expand its influence in and beyond the Gulf and Middle East. In fact, the regime in Tehran continues to ratchet up the war of words between itself and the US. Despite occasional allusions to reconciliations, recent statements by Iranian leaders illustrate the growing shift toward confrontation: 

"Should the United States attack Iran militarily it would be a grave mistake amounting to suicide... Iran has great powers to reach out to in different parts of the world and can deal bitter blows to the United States... Should the United States attack Iran, we have prepared a list of counter attacks.” - Mahmoud-Reza Sajjadi, the Islamic Republic's ambassador to Moscow, February 13, 2012. 1

"We do not want war, but if a problem arises one day and His Holiness gives a signal, many people are ready to execute his orders... Israel has no easy sleep because of fearing Hezbollah." -Mohammad Mohammadi Golpayegani, the head of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei's Office, February 8, 2012.2

"Iran has learned how to answer foreign interventions during the three decades of threats and its progressive police is ready to confront any outside challenge." -Iran's Police Chief Esmayeel Ahmadi Moqaddam, February 2012.3

“The Americans must be aware and of course are aware that the Islamic Republic of Iran has threats for facing threats of war and threats of an oil embargo, which will be carried out when necessary through the will of God. The U.S. has no logic besides force and knows no way other than war to impose its demands.” -Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Supreme Leader of Iran, February 3, 2012.4

“Tehran will not remain indifferent to US mischief in the region if Washington tries to cause problems for regional countries. The Strait of Hormuz is a region of peace and Iran has protected its peace for centuries and will continue to do so in order to maintain calm in it,”-Ali Larijani, Speaker of Iranian Parliament, January 31, 2012.5

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“Iran News Round Up February 13, 2012”, AEI http://www.irantracker.org/roundup/iran-news-round-february-13-2012

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“Iran News Round Up February 8, 2012”, AEI http://www.irantracker.org/roundup/iran-news-round-february-8-2012 3

“Commander Assures Nation of Full Security at Eastern Borders”, Fars News Agency, February 22, 2012. Available at http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.php?nn=9010175742 4

“Iran Will Carry Out Threats If Necessary: Leader”, Mehr News Agency, February 3, 2012. Available at: http://www.mehrnews.com/en/newsdetail.aspx?NewsID=1524845 5

“Iran Will Not Be Indifferent To US Mischief”, Press TV, January 31, 2012. Available at: http://www.presstv.ir/detail/223919.html


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The US is not in a position to affect Iran's decisions. Iran does not ask permission to implement its own defensive strategies." -Brigadier General Hossein Salami, Iranian Lieutenant Commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), December 30, 2011.6

"The United States did not dare to direct its aircraft carrier through the Strait of Hormuz alone; this is why the carrier was "escorted" by military vessels of other nations. If the Strait is closed, the aircraft carriers will become the war booty of Iran." - Javad Karimi Qodousi, parliamentary National Security Committee member, January 24, 2012.7 "The United States does not do anything in the interest of the regional nations. Whatever they have done so far has been against the regional nations…Our stance regarding these public movements is crystal clear. Anywhere there is a popular Islamic and anti-US movement, we support it…However, if we see that a movement is provoked by the US or Zionists, we will not support that movement. We support movements that are against the US and Zionism," Ayatollah Khamenei, June 4, 2011.2

"They wish to do it, they want to do it, but they know about our power. They know that we are going to give them a decisive response…We have a saying in our language: If someone throws a smaller stone, you should respond with a bigger stone. We will defend ourselves within our capabilities," Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, September 20, 2011.3

"The US is not willing to accept and acknowledge the potential power of the Muslim world in soothing the different regional and international crises," and possesses paradoxical, contradictory, and biased positions,4 Ali Larijani, October 2, 2011.

“I think today we can utterly negotiate on an equal footing and mutual respect with the United States…In my time the Americans showed signs of wanting to soften their stance, but we responded coldly because we followed the policy of the leader (Khamenei), which did not favor a normalization with the United States,” Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, July 12, 2011.5

"The Capitalist system is dying and will witness its demise soon, and the reason behind the fall of the world of arrogant powers lies in the fact that they have violated their own principal values and naturally they should expect nothing but a complete annihilation," Brigadier General Mohammad Reza Naqdi, September 19, 20116

“Iran is capable of closing the Strait of Hormuz at any time, and if the enemy makes the slightest threatening movement to undermine the security of the region, it will receive a very firm response,” Rear Admiral Ali Fadavi, February, 2011.7

Such statements – and similar excerpts in the chapters that follow – must be kept in perspective. Political and strategic rhetoric can be extreme in many countries, including the United States. The private views of such spokesmen are often probably much more moderate and many make this clear in other states. Moreover, the following statements by Iranian reformists do exhibit a willingness to engage the US. While less frequent than

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“Iran Boasts Of Surveillance Of Aircraft Carrier and Claims ‘US Is Not In A Position’ To Prevent Blockage Of Major Shipping Lane”, Mail Online, December 30, 2011. Available at: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2079882/Iran-boasts-surveillance-U-S-aircraft-carrier-tensionsTehran-continue-rise.html 7

“Iran News Round Up January 25, 2012”, AEI http://www.irantracker.org/roundup/iran-news-round-january-25-2012

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the confrontational statements often exchanged, Iranian officials have been known to express more moderate, constructive, and positive positions on the US and the West: 

"Iran's cooperation with the agency (IAEA) is at its best level” Iran Foreign Ministry spokesman, Ramin Mehmanparast, February 21, 2012.8

“The negotiations between the two sides (IAEA and Iranian officials) were held in a positive and constructive atmosphere.” –Iranian Foreign Minister, Ali Akbar Salehi, February 1, 2012.9

“The U.N.'s chief nuclear inspector arrived in Iran on Sunday on a mission to clear up "outstanding substantive issues" on Tehran's atomic program, and called for dialogue with the Islamic state. We have always had a broad and close cooperation with the agency and we have always maintained transparency as one of our principles working with the agency.” –Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar, January 29, 2012.10 “Losing the European oil market will have an impact on Iran’s economy which needs rational planning by the authorities. Selling oil at sub-market level prices is not a good way to counter the oil embargo.” - Mehdi Hosseini, former Oil Ministry international deputy, January 26, 2012.11

"Trust can slowly be developed once again. We can contribute to this by moderating our tone...A policy of detente will be a central issue for me,"8 Hossein Mousavi, June 12, 2009.

"Following the Islamic Revolution, for some reasons, Tehran and Washington missed their chances to negotiate several times," relations with the US are “vital” and “must be restored,”9 Mehdi Karroubi, December 15, 2008.

"I believe all doors should now be open for such dialogue and understanding and the possibility for contact between Iranian and American citizens," but Iran feels "no need for ties with the United States.” “We sense an intellectual affinity with the essence of the American civilization,"10 Mohammad Khatami, January 7, 1998.

These comments – and those in later chapters -- demonstrate the conflicting attitudes held by “hardliners,” “moderates,” and “reformists” towards the US. No group supports US interests or reflects US values. All focus on Iran and Iran’s interests and many of the individuals involved take different stances at different times. Yet, it is clear there are key differences in how leading Iranian officials feel Iran should deal with the US, acts in the Gulf and international arena, and seek acceptance and inclusion in the international system. Iran’s leadership is scarcely monolithic, but it will take fundamental changes in the present top-level leadership of the regime to alter the growing confrontation with the US, 8

"IAEA Experts In Iran To Hold Talks, Not To Visit Nuclear Sites”, Xinhua Net, February 21, 2012. Available at: http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/world/2012-02/21/c_131423532.htm 9

“Iran, IAEA Delegation Wrap Up Constructive Talks In Iran”, Fars News Agency, February 1, 2012. Available at: http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.php?nn=9010173193 10

“UN Chief Nuclear Inspector Arrives In Iran”, Al Arabiya News, January 29, 2012. Available at: http://www.alarabiya.net/articles/2012/01/29/191187.html 11

“Iran News Round Up January 26”, AEI Critical Threats, http://www.criticalthreats.org/iran-news-roundup/iran-news-round-january-26-2012

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Iran’s neighbors, Europe, and many other countries. Barring such transformation of Iran’s leadership structure, Ayatollah Khameini will continue to control the major levers of power including the ability to control the media, and mobilize the parliament, judiciary, and security apparatus.. Iran’s leaders may differ over details, but are likely to remain hostile to the US, and exploit their control of the IRGC, armed forces, intelligence services, Basij, police, justice system, key councils and review bodies, and the state media. Iran’s democracy is steadily more of a hollow façade. Even members of the ruling elite are pushed aside or imprisoned when they challenge the Supreme Leader and those around him. Fewer and fewer opposition candidates are allowed to run and those who are allowed to run come under closer and more restrictive screening. Additionally, the Supreme Leader removes and rotates both clerical and military elite in order to assert his dominance over Iran’s political structure. The security services have become more abusive and the rule of law more suspect. Religious foundations gain in power and wealth, as does the top leaders and ex-leaders of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC). Control over the armed forces, security services, justice system, media, and intelligence services becomes more centralized in the Supreme Leader and IRGC and less and less subject to the influence of any elected official. Iran’s president, its parliament, and various councils are still important, but it is clear they are not the ultimate power in Iran. Iranian moderates like “Green Revolution” Presidential candidates Mousavi and Carroubi, and advocates of “grand bargains,” “regional solutions,” and other comprehensive changes in Iranian posture, will not be serious voices as long as the present regime is in power. These leaders were placed under house arrest and otherwise forcefully muted in the wake of the Arab uprisings, ensuring that they could not organize opposition in Iran. The US must shape policies and strategies that properly react to the present structure and future competition with Iran. The US cannot hope for fractures in the power structure that do not yet, and may never, exist. It must not confuse the dissident voices with oppositional power--as often those contesting Iran’s political establishment have neither power nor a voice-and it must not assume that Iran’s military and security efforts are so divided as to be dysfunctional. If anything, the present rivalries between those who actually possess power push them toward added confrontation with the US as they move to crush dissent. The US must pay close attention to Iran’s rhetoric, military posturing, its response to sanctions, its use of energy resources, and how the international community is involved. The US will continue to gauge the potential for regime change and supporting reformists, while at the same time rallying international pressure on Iran’s leadership. Either become more realistic as Iran isolates itself – via its nuclear pursuits, human rights violations, or engaging in proxy wars and foreign misconduct.

Avoiding a “Zero Sum Game” Yet, the US and Iranian competition is not a zero-sum game. No one who knows Iran and Iranians can confuse this leadership with Iran’s people. The current hostility between the


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US and Iran is not an argument against US diplomatic initiatives or efforts to find other ways to deal with the volatility of Iran’s leadership. Dialogue and negotiation can reduce the risk of escalation and misunderstanding. Additionally, they can attempt to influence Iranian public opinion and convince opponents of the current regime that the US is not hostile to all Iranian interests. As the Cold War has shown, hostility and tension do not prevent cooperation in some areas – certain confidence building measures can be established and escalations leading to crisis can be averted. US-Iranian competition does not preclude some forms of US and Iranian cooperation in areas such as counter-narcotics, Afghan stability, and combating Sunni extremism. It may not preclude the eventual reinstatement of formal diplomatic relations between the estranged countries. The US has every incentive to reach limited agreements with Iran in areas of common interest. The US should also avoid the illusion that any clash, conflict, or preventive raid on Iran will somehow have predictable consequences, undercut the ruling elite that, or remove that elite from power. Chapters III-V of this report effectively demonstrate that some form of conflict in the Gulf and/or over Iran’s nuclear programs is a growing probability. This could do serious harm to Iran, and a major conflict could lead to the destruction of much of its military forces as well as its nuclear facilities and military production facilities. Iran’s present nuclear efforts have almost certainly led Israel to develop nuclear strike plans and capabilities to hit Iran, and an actual Iranian nuclear force could trigger an existential arms race that will lead other nations in the Gulf to acquire nuclear weapons and Israel and Iran targeting on each other’s cities that could destroy much of each country’s population. What is far less likely is that a limited conflict or preventive strike would lead to predictable changes in the regime, or put an end to its build up of nuclear and asymmetric capabilities. The regime and a highly nationalistic Iranian people might see no option other than stepping up the level of military competition, creating a massive new – and probably far more covert -- nuclear program. They might take steps to try to gain control over Iraq’s Shi’ite regime, find ways for proxies to attack Israel, and conduct a new campaign of sabotage and attacks like the attack on the US barracks at Al Khobar. They might also be far more willing to take risks with any nuclear force they did create – risks like covert or third party attacks, or creating a force designed to launch on warning or launch under attack. It is also far from clear how such a conflict and any resulting arms race would impact on the Arab Gulf states, other Muslim states, and world opinion. The US has already led two wars in Iraq and Afghanistan that are deeply unpopular with many in the region. America’s firm backing of Israel further obstructs its ability to appear objective to many across the Arab and Muslim world. . So does the perception among some Muslims that the US is not at war with terrorism, but is at war with Islam and/or Arabs. War is not an answer for regime change or a predictable answer to bring stability and security to the Gulf and world petroleum exports. It is an extreme risk at a time the US is already at war, the world economy is fragile and unstable, and the US faces many other challenges. Still, the US cannot ignore Iran’s military challenges.


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The US must respond decisively to any attack on its Arab Gulf allies, or on the flow of petroleum, with sufficient force to end the Iranian capability to conduct such attacks as quickly and decisively as possible. It must do so even if this means broadening the range and intensity of the conflict to cover a wide range of Iranian targets, and acting in ways that could produce significant Iranian civilian casualties and collateral damage. The US must consider a preventive attack option if diplomacy and sanction fail to halt Iran’s nuclear efforts and Iran pushes ahead to test and deploy such weapons. At a minimum, it must build up the defensive and deterrent capabilities of its Southern Gulf and other regional allies, create its own ability to defend and deter against Iranian nuclear and missile forces, and make good on its offer of “extended deterrence” to show Iran that any use of such weapons would trigger significant and unacceptable levels of retaliation. The US also cannot plan as if some kind of dialogue, “grand bargain,” or sudden change in regime will change Iran’s behavior. It must be prepared to compete at every level that affects its strategic and economic interests. Iran’s leaders may set conditions for restoring relations, or even propose grand bargains, but these initiatives are potential ploys. Iranians that participate in efforts of second track diplomacy might either be seeking to advance an alternative agenda or simply be well-meaning pawns. As has been the case with many reformist Iranian figures that support greater dialogue and cooperation with the US, they lack the backing of powerful segments of the Iranian hierarchy.

The Uncertain US Perspective This is a grim and dangerous environment in which there are no good options and every option poses serious dangers. It is also an environment in which there is a clear need for caution, for considering every variable, and for avoiding the kind of quick, easy ideological approach that sometimes make the United States its own worst enemy. The US has long had its own extremists and hardliners in dealing with Iran, and as the next chapter shows, this has helped lead to the long, complex chronology of interaction that sets the stage for the assessment in the chapters that follow. These segments are apparent each political cycle and among conversations involving US-Israeli relations, the war on terrorism, and Iran’s nuclear ambitions. In general terms, hardliners within the US believe Iran will never cede its nuclear weapons capability voluntarily, and Iran uses diplomacy as a cover to buy time. They therefore do not support “grand bargains”, and are ideologically committed to regime change in Iran. They feel that no policy is sound that stops short of military action to prevent the perceived immanency of nuclear weapon development, with the potential to take additional steps to overthrow the regime. These ideas are not completely unique to “hard-liners,” but perhaps the line is drawn on whether, and to what extent, military intervention should be used. Alternative camps suggest differing levels of incentives, coercion, sanctions, and other soft power mechanisms that can result in a desirable outcome for both countries. This might include targeted sanctions against the IRCG, covert actions to support opposition groups, and information campaigns aimed at swaying Iranian public opinion. Many of these measures are attempts to “hollow out” the Islamic state and allow opposition movements to gain momentum. Others believe containment can occur by isolating


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Tehran internationally by building an anti-Iran alliance along its periphery that is protected by the US. Advocates for continued use of diplomatic overtures stress that both sides should take measures that acknowledge and attempt to move past misunderstandings, mistrust, and the assumption that anything the other side agrees to must be bad for the other.11 This includes moving past rote responses, perceptions of looking weak domestically, and insisting the other must change first. These differing views have played out in US rhetoric and policy, and sometimes in ways that may have blocked real opportunities for dialogue and at least limited improvement in US and Iranian relations. In January 2002, Iran was labeled part of the “Axis of Evil” by the Bush administration as it came under indirect threat with the US invasions of two of its neighbors, Afghanistan and Iraq. Iran’s attempt in April 2003, at a “grand bargain” was ultimately disregarded by the US, but resulted in renewed debate over the potential for negotiation, though many saw this as another example of Iranian deceit and opportunism. Nevertheless, the subsequent years were marked by a less compromising Iran than was seen in the immediate aftermath of 9/11 and the US invasion of Iraq. The cold relations that followed revived suggestions of regime change and democratic reform in Iran. This was reflected in the 2006 presidential address and the Iran Freedom Support Act passed by Congress that year, which authorized funding for democracy promotion in Iran. That same year, a US National Security Strategy document also stated that the United States “may face no greater challenge from a single country than from Iran.” The US has taken other courses. The US did repeatedly seek some form of official highlevel contact at the time of the Clinton Administration. It did deal with Iran during the first phase of the US-led invasion of Afghanistan. The Obama Administration did try to alter the course of US and Iranian relations when it came to office. In early 2009, the US publically stated it was committed to diplomacy and forging ties to resolve long-standing issues. These approaches, however, did not produce any credible response from Iran. If anything, Iran’s demands and largely hostile reaction confirmed what many less diplomatic US pundits believed was a lost cause. Moreover, that same same year, the State Department’s report on international terrorism reiterated a decade’s worth of claims that Iran “remained the most active state sponsor of terrorism.” The end result is that US now has little choice other than to hope that a combination of sanctions and actions by other states – notably America’s key European allies – will successfully and peacefully end Iran’s nuclear programs. It is an environment. where it is becoming all too easy to be a “hawk” or hardliner. For all the reasons cited earlier – and in the chapters that follow – this American approach is no better than accepting Iranian criticism and offers at face value.


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The Continuing Role of Other Players As the following chapters also make clear, the US must also constantly act with the understanding that US-Iranian competition is far more than a “two person” game or bilateral struggle. US and Iranian competition competition plays out in the international community – from within diplomatic circles to ground operations in countries across the world. Key European powers have allied themselves with US efforts to keep Iran from developing nuclear weapons and posing a threat to Gulf energy exports. But, they are partners that now lead the diplomatic effort with Iran and have serious concerns about the use of force, not followers. Russia and China, however, are less consistent – partly due to their energy and arms deals with Iran. However, both play a critical role in determining the success of US attempts to isolate Iran, but are far less willing to be confrontational, take measures that can be perceived as violations of sovereignty, or enforce measures that undercut civil society. Iran seeks to win Chinese support by billing itself as a secure and dedicated source of energy resources. Russia is not dependent on Iranian energy resources. However, Russia has repeatedly tried to portray itself as an intermediary power positioned within the USIranian competition, working to reap the benefits of selective cooperation with both sides. The bulk of the Arab world’s leaders, particularly Saudi Arabia and the GCC, are largely hostile to Iran’s efforts to expand its influence and advance its military and nuclear capabilities. They are building up their military forces, support US and European sanctions by increasing oil production, and putting diplomatic pressure on Iran, Russia, China, and Iraq. They too are partners, however, and not followers. The US must listen, consult, and take account of their fears and interests to succeed. America must also do its best to confront Iran in its dealings and influence over Iraq. Iran has benefited from some recent events in the region: Mubarak and Ben Ali are gone in Egypt and Tunisia; Bahraini Shi’ites are pressuring the Sunni monarch, Saudi Arabia is dealing with some signs of Shi’ite unrest, Iraq is unstable yet largely under Shi’ite control, and Israel is increasingly isolated as it faces serious uncertainty in dealing with Egypt, the Palestinians, Syria, and to some extent, Jordan. However, Iran’s only true ally, Syria, is in crisis and recent polls of the Arab world show a growing unfavorable opinion of Iran.13 The future role and alignments of Arab states – including a key state like Egypt – is uncertain. The long-term implications of the Arab uprisings that began in 2011 are years from being fully determined or even predictable. Iran may have welcomed the disorder that replaced some traditional enemies and opened avenues for Islamists. However, some upheavals have given hostile Sunni Islamists far more power, and have strengthened Arab nationalism. Just as those in the US and West that saw such upheavals as bringing instant, stable democracy grossly underestimated the forces and uncertainties at work, Iran is learning that so far the turmoil in the Middle East has no predictable winners and losers, and simply makes the competition between Iran and the US and its Arab allies far more unpredictable and uncertain.14


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Israel is another critical-and uncertain-player in US-Iranian competition. The US and Iran generally support opposite sides of geopolitical issues concerning Israel, ways to resolve the Palestinian issue, and the future of Israel’s existence. The history of uncompromising US support for Israel does somewhat undermine US credibility in the region, and in turn bolsters Iran’s exploitative attempts to capitalize on Arab frustrations. The Arab Awakening has put growing pressure on Israel, as friendly governments in Tunisia and Egypt have fallen and uncertainty looms across its Syrian and Iraqi borders. Additionally, Turkish- Israeli relations have soured since the 2010 Gaza Flotilla raid that resulted in the death of several Turkish citizens at the hands of Israeli commandos. The fact remains, however, that Israel is a major military power. It has nuclear weapons and long-range missiles and almost certainly has contingency plans to use against Iran. Israel often threatens preventive strikes on Iran, and while Chapter IV of this report raises concerns about Israel’s capabilities to carry out such a strike, neither Iran nor the US can ignore the possibility of an Israeli strike. Afghanistan and Pakistan are complex areas for US-Iranian competition. Both the US and Iran seek to strengthen their ties to Pakistan, yet have serious differences with Pakistan – albeit for very different reasons. Both desire stability in these states, as well as the potential to benefit from future economic development. Afghanistan is important to Iran as a means of preventing the flow of illicit weapons, narcotics, and migrants across its borders, securing Iran’s eastern flank, and to open up trade routes to Central Asia. Iran has close ties with several groups, like the Hazara and Tajiks, who comprise much of the Northern Alliance, distrust the Taliban, and hate Pakistan.15 However, Tehran began formal dialogue with the Taliban to promote reconciliation, while the Obama administration has sent senior emissaries to all of the countries bordering Afghanistan, except Iran.16 Iran and Pakistan have made several steps to improve relations in recent years, primarily through diplomatic visits and economic agreements – many of which the US has opposed. Pakistan has also defended Iran’s right to pursue peaceful nuclear developments. However, the relationship has been strained by Pakistan’s ties to Saudi Arabia and accusations that Islamabad supports Baloch separatists in Iran. Iran also views the rise in Wahhabi-Deobandi fundamentalism and anti-Shia violence in Pakistan as threats to its core interests. The two countries have clashed over Pakistani support for Bahrain’s Sunnis under the Arab Awakening. The competition for influence in Turkey is increasingly complicated, but continually important. Turkey may continue to “look East” in reaction to de facto rejection by the EU, tensions with the US stemming from the invasion of Iraq, and secular compromises with Islamist factions in Turkish politics. Turkey is in a unique position to guide the developments of the region, and recent activity signals its determination to do just that. Turkey has capitalized on the current political strife across the Middle East, using this opportunity to rise while traditional powers are falling, as well as to establish its bona fides among the regions Muslim population. Turkey did well to ingratiate itself with many across the Arab and Muslim community during the 2010 Flotilla incident and its subsequent condemnation of what it deemed Israel disproportionate actions. Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan’s 2011 Middle Eastern victory lap (visiting Egypt, Tunisia, and Libya) demonstrate both Turkey’s embrace across the region, as well as its leaders’


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opportunistic initiative. For America, Turkey remains a close security partner of the US, and has cooperated with the US on many regional issues. At the same time, due to recent tensions, Turkey’s relations with Israel are nearly non-existent. In order to weaken Turkish ties to the US and Israel, Iran will seek to exploit these issues and increase its influence in Turkey at the expense of the United States. At the same time, Iran will seek to use Turkey as a means of legitimate evasion of American sanctions by stressing the importance of Turkey as a key corridor for its energy exports. Turkey and Iran do have shared interests, and though Turkey’s political, economic, and security ties are still with the West, the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government has sought to strengthen relations with Iran. Prime Minister Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party is attractive to Islamists, demonstrating how a party of religion can effectively overcome barriers to participation and achieve political success. However Iran and Turkey often have competing ambitions including regional preeminence, a complicated historical relationship, and religious and political differences that signify natural competition. Turkey’s e support for the Arab Awakening, especially in Syria, reflects a key area of opposition to Iran. Many Arabs see Turkey’s embrace of liberal principles as a desirable post-authoritarian/ post-Islamist model of governance, which is strictly at odds with Iranian claims of an “Islamic Awakening”. Despite the complex and convoluted mix of politics and political upheavals across the Arab world one element which is all but guaranteed is Iran’s willingness to exploit the existing relationships and circumstances in order to serve its own interests and cope with emerging risks whenever and wherever possible. Iran’s support for Sunni Islamists is scarcely without precedent. Iran has previously manipulated them in order to achieve its regional, political, or strategic objectives.. Iran has supported Hamas for decades, and in Egypt Iran has pushed to empower the Muslim Brotherhood as its main political ally.17 Iran will seek to take advantage of regional turmoil and the declining US influence in the region to retain as many allies as possible. The Islamic regime will challenge US interests in the region by seeking to fill the political vacuum left by the withdrawal of American forces in the region and resulting reduction of US presence. Additionally, Iran will likely continue the use of proxies such as Hezbollah and Hamas to protect its allies and drain its enemy’s resources, and distract attention away from itself.. Iran also pursues cooperation with states on the geographic and strategic periphery of US-Iranian competition. Primarily through economic partnerships and anti-Western commonalities, Iran attempts to create a network to lessen the blow of international sanctions and garner general support for Iran. These states are mainly in Africa and Latin America and serve as alternative markets for Iranian oil, provide diplomatic cover for Iran’s nuclear efforts, and aid Iran’s acquisition of goods proscribed by sanctions. Though many of the countries Iran seeks to cooperate with are militarily and economically weak, by casting its net wide Tehran aims to build an array of partners to balance against Western dominance of the global order. The US push back against Iran’s attempts to widen its network of allies is strongest in countries that benefit from US aid, trade, or that lack a significant basis for ideological disagreement with US practices.


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Analyzing US and Iranian Competition The chapters that follow build upon these themes and provide a net assessment of US competition with Iran, focusing on each major aspect of the present and probable future nature of that competition. They include the changing structure of US and Iranian strategic interests in the Gulf, a detailed net assessment of the military balance and each side’s contingency capabilities, and the impact of US-Iranian competition on major regional and external actors. Each chapter concludes with detailed recommendations on how US policymakers should shape their competition with Iran – focusing on medium and long-term objectives, as well as near-term policy. The analysis does not attempt to provide a detailed history of US and Iranian relations – important as history is in understanding the forces that shape the actions and perceptions of each side. It draws upon previous CSIS and Burke Chair analyses of these issues and trends, and provides an assessment of both the current state of competition and US and Iranian options. It also does not attempt analyze Iranian politics, examine every internal division in Iran’s power struggle, or deal in depth with the problem of regime change, although this is examined in Chapter V. As noted earlier in this chapter, the prospects for outside regime change simply seem too limited. The probability of internal regime change is too unpredictable, and analyses of the Iranian power structure did not reveal the kind of fractures that seem likely to produce anything more than speculation. No one should dismiss the possibility that a shift in the top-level leadership of Iran, or a broader popular uprising, could bring change. In producing the current report, however, it became clear that this was both a separate area of focus and one that required a level of speculation outside the framework of this study Finally, the reader should be aware that this work is the product of a series of draft analyses that have been circulated for comment. Each draft has been reviewed during informal briefings, meetings, reviews, and other dialogues. This has included informal discussion with a range of US officials, officers, policy makers, and intelligence experts, as well as visits to the region and similar discussions with officials and experts in Europe, the Gulf, the Levant, Turkey, Israel, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. The results, however, represent the views of the authors and have not been subject to any outside approval or coordination.


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“Addressing Potential Threats from Iran: Administration Perspectives on Implementing New Economic Sanctions One Year Later,” Statement before the Senate Banking Committee Hearing, Washington, DC, October 13, 2011. http://banking.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=Hearings.Hearing&Hearing_id=a3a0c72e-425049ba-8c8b-b2cae715a75a 2 http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.php?nn=9003143208 3 http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.php?nn=9005230979 4 http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.php?nn=9007090164 5 http://www.arabtimesonline.com/NewsDetails/tabid/96/smid/414/ArticleID/171394/reftab/36/Default.aspx 6 http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.php?nn=9006270123 7 http://www.mehrnews.com/en/newsdetail.aspx?NewsID=1248315 8 Alex Altman, “Iran’s Challenger: Mir-Hossein Mousavi,” Time, June 12, 2009. http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1904194,00.html 9 Press TV, “Karroubi calls Ira-US rapprochement,” Press TV, December 15, 2008. http://edition.presstv.ir/detail/78513.html 10 http://www.cnn.com/WORLD/9801/07/iran/ 11 John Limbert, “The Obama Administration,” The Iran Primer, USIP. http://iranprimer.usip.org/resource/obama-administratio 13 Arab American Institute, Arab Attitudes Toward Iran: 2011, Arab American Institute, June 2011. http://www.aaiusa.org/reports/arab-attitudes-toward-iran-2011 14 Christopher Boucek and Karim Sadjadpour, “Rivals – Iran vs. Saudi Arabia,” Carnegie Endowment, September 20, 2011. http://www.carnegieendowment.org/2011/09/20/rivals-iran-vs.-saudi-arabia/56t9 15 Alissa J. Rubin, “A Leader’s Death Exposes Disarray in the Afghan Peace Process,” New York Times, October 3, 2011. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/04/world/asia/afghan-leaders-death-exposes-peaceprocess-in-disarray.html?pagewanted=1&_r=3 16 Ernesto Londono, “Tehran Hosted Taliban At Event Apparent bid to mediate in Afghan war suggests quest for bigger role,” Washington Post, September 30, 2011 http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia-pacific/irans-hosting-of-taliban-reflects-desire-for-greaterrole/2011/09/28/gIQAkmwO7K_story.html 17 Mehdi Khalaji, “Iran on Egypt’s Muslim brotherhood,” PBS: Tehran Bureau, February 25, 2011. http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/tehranbureau/2011/02/iran-on-egypts-muslim-brotherhood.html


a report of the csis burke chair in strategy

U.S. and Iranian Strategic Competition: Types and Levels of Competition Authors Peter Alsis Anthony H. Cordesman Adam Seitz

March 2012


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CORE COMPETITION SINCE THE FALL OF THE SHAH .............................................................................................. 3 Figure II.1: Summary Chronology of US-Iranian Competition: 1979-2011 ................................................. 3

TYPES AND LEVELS OF COMPETITION ................................................................................................................ 7 Ideology, Religion, and Political Systems .............................................................................................. 7 Terrorism, Extremism, Paramilitary Ties, and Covert Operations ......................................................... 8 Energy, Sanctions, and Global Economic Impacts................................................................................. 8 Arms control, Exports, and Imports ...................................................................................................... 9 Military Competition ........................................................................................................................... 10


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Competition between the US and Iran is not a new phenomenon. In the late 1960s, the US knew that Iran’s ambitions posed a challenge to US interest in the Gulf. This first came to a head after Britain’s decision to withdraw from the Gulf in 1968, followed by the Shah’s claims to Bahrain and occupation of three key islands near the main shipping channels of the Strait of Hormuz. By the mid-1970s, the US was aware that Iran’s “peaceful” nuclear power program involved covert activity seemingly aimed at developing nuclear weapons. The Shah’s ambition to become the dominant power in the Gulf posed serious problems for its relations with the Arab Gulf states and threatened the US “twin pillar” strategy.

Core Competition Since the Fall of the Shah As the chronology in Figure II.1 shows, US competition with Iran became far more serious and consistent since the Shah’s fall, and has deepened as Iran has built up its military forces, moved towards the acquisition of nuclear weapons and long-range missiles, and broadened its level of competition outside the Gulf. The Ayatollah Khomeini’s successful seizing of the Iranian revolution in 1979-1980, brought a regime to power than demonized the US as the “Great Satan,” sponsored the seizure of the US Embassy, and kept American diplomats hostage for four years. Khomeini and his supporters saw Iran’s new religious regime as the model for revolutions throughout the Islamic world. They sought to push the US out of the Gulf and make Iran the dominant power in the region. Their efforts failed to take hold in the region, in part because they were seen as Iranian or Shi’ite, not strictly Muslim. This did not change Iran’s ambitions, the character of its regime, or its hostility to the United States. During the 1987-1988 Tanker War, the US reflagging of ships and Iranian attacks on Gulf shipping led to low-level clashes between Iran and the US. Moreover, the US at least in-part supplied Iraq the chemical and biological weapons it used against Iran, which led Iran to develop its own programs and to renew its nuclear efforts – although they continued to be described as peaceful programs. In the more than two decades since the Iran-Iraq War ended in August 1988, the US and Iran have been fierce competitors in the region. The emergence of a more moderate reform regime under President Khatami (1997-2005) appeared to offer the hope of change, but did not produce any meaningful shift in Iran’s behavior. Moreover, Iran expanded the scope of its activities involving Hezbollah and Hamas. It strengthened its ties to Syria created during the Iran-Iraq War, and reached out to Central Asia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and North Korea. It also expanded the use of the Quds force after its creation and use in the Iran-Iraq War. Much of the current tension in US-Iranian competition focuses on nuclear weapons, “closing the Gulf,” and terrorism. This military competition is critical to both the security of the Gulf and Israel, and the stable flow of world oil exports. The recent unrest in the region has heightened competition to influence the outcome of any transition, or lack thereof, which takes place. Figure II.1: Summary Chronology of US-Iranian Competition: 1979-2011 

1979: January 16 - US-installed Shah forced to flee Iran after widespread demonstrations and strikes.

1979-1980: Hostage Crisis – Negotiation of the Algiers Accord (1981) released the hostages under US agreement not to intervene in Iranian politics.


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1980-1988: Iran-Iraq War becomes the focal point of US-Iranian competition. Iraq is removed form list of states sponsoring terrorism (1982) and the US begins arming Iraq against Iran, including “dual-use” technology,i and industrial goods for missile, chemical, biological and nuclear weapons programs and weapons.iiiii A National Security Directive states that the U.S would do "whatever was necessary and legal" to prevent Iraq from losing its war with Iran.

1985-1986: Iran Contra – Iranian influence helped release US hostages held by Hezbollah in Lebanon in exchange for US weapons via Israel, channeling funds to anti-Communist Contra guerillas in Nicaragua.

1987-1988: Tanker War – the US sank an Iranian frigate and fired on two oil platforms after an Iranian mine attack on the USS Samuel B. Roberts. In July, the US mistakenly shot down an Iranian commercial jet, killing 290 civilians.

1992-1993: Iran criticizes US regional interference in the wake of the Gulf War and the Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement.

1995: President Clinton imposes economic sanctions prohibited US companies from doing business with Iran due to its sponsorship of terrorism, seeking to acquire nuclear arms, and hostility to the Middle East process.

1996: Iran-Libya Sanctions – imposed embargo on foreign companies investing more than $20 billion per year in Iran’s oil and gas sector.

1998: Iran’s president, Mohammed Khatami called for dialogue with the US.

1999: June – A US overture to Iran failed due to the US beliefs that the IRCG was linked to the Khobar Towers (1996) and due to officials overestimated the Iranian president’s power. Khatami’s reaction was reportedly positive, however Khamenei and others objected to both the nature and tone of the US gesture. Like the American message, Tehran’s response included reassuring statements and opportunity for future diplomacy.iv

2000: February - Iranian reformists win landslide victory in general election. Shortly afterwards, President Clinton extends ban on US oil contracts with Iran, accusing it of continuing to support international terrorism.

2000: Madeline Albright meets Iran’s Foreign Minister at the UN in New York - the first such talks since 1979. Secretary Albright apologized for US role in the 1953 coup, saying it was “clearly a setback for Iran’s political development.” The speech ended on a critical note and Iran responded by denouncing the gesture.

2001: Ayatollah Khamenei condemns the 9/11 attacks and both countries were in attendance in Germany to form a post-Taliban government and constitution. The US Special envoy to Afghanistan, stated, “none was more (helpful) than the Iranians,’ and that it was the Iranians who urged language require the Afghan government to commit to democracy and the war on terrorism.

2002: “Axis of Evil”

2002: August - The MEK reveals two previously unknown nuclear Iranian nuclear sites –the US publishes satellite images two months later of the sites under construction.

2002: September - Russia begins construction of Iran's first nuclear reactor at Bushehr despite US objections.

2002: December - The US increases media operations in Iran. President Bush speaks on Radio Fardaand and pledges support for Iranians’ “quest for freedom, prosperity, honest and effective government, judicial due process, and the rule of law.”

2003: May - “Grand Bargain”: Iran offers the US comprehensive bilateral talks on nearly all aspects of cooperation and competition. The overture was dismissed by the US. Many in the US question the origin, intent, and sincerity of the letter.


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2003: June - White House refuses to rule out the "military option" in dealing with Iran after IAEA says Iran "failed to report certain nuclear materials and activities", but does not declare Iran in breach of Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

2003: October-November - Tehran agrees to suspend its uranium enrichment program and allow tougher UN inspections of its nuclear facilities. An IAEA report says there is no evidence that Iran is trying to build an atomic bomb. The US dismisses the report as "impossible to believe".

2004: November - Secretary of State Colin Powell meets with Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi in Sharm el-Sheikh. No significant progress occurred; Iran reportedly viewed Powell as a lame duck with no real power.

2005: February - Iranian President Mohammed Khatami says his country will never give up nuclear technology, but stresses it is for peaceful purposes. Russia backs Tehran, and signs a deal to supply fuel to Iran's Bushehr reactor. New US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice says attacking Iran is not on the US agenda "at this point in time".

2005: March - The US backs the EU3 offer of economic incentives if Iran gives up its nuclear ambitions, including a block on Iran's membership to the WTO.

2005: August - President Bush makes the first of several statements in which he refuses to rule out using force against Iran.

2005: August-September - Tehran says it has resumed uranium conversion at its Isfahan plant and insists the program is for peaceful purposes. The IAEA finds Iran in violation of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

2006: January - Iran completes major military exercise that tests Tehran’s ability to attack Gulf shipping and Arab oil facilities.

2006: March - US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice says the US faces "no greater challenge" than Iran's nuclear program.

2006: Tehran offers to hold direct talks with Washington on the situation in Iraq – later withdrawing the offer.

2006: May - Ahmadinejad sends President Bush an eighteen-page letter accusing the US of atrocities in Iraq and invoking his Christian heritage to change course there. It also addresses double standards in US foreign policy over Iran’s nuclear program, treatment of Palestinians, support for Israel, and conspiracies theories about 9/11.

The US rules out possibility of direct negotiation with Tehran that were being considered under the thenUS Ambassador to Iraq, Zalmay Khalilzad.

2006: November - Iran’s Revolutionary Guards begins exercises days after a US-led naval exercise began in the Gulf.

2006: December - The UN Security Council unanimously passes a resolution imposing sanctions on Iran over its nuclear program.

2007: January - The US arrests members of the IRGC in Iraq for "engaging in sectarian warfare". President Bush states, "It has also become clear that we face an escalating danger from Shia extremists who...take direction from the regime in Iran…The Shia and Sunni extremists are different faces of the same totalitarian threat."

2007: February - US officials say they have proof that Iran has provided sophisticated weapons which have been used to kill American soldiers in Iraq. Ahmadinejad dismisses the claims as an "excuses to prolong the stay" of US forces.

2007: March - The US ambassador to Iraq, Zalmay Khalilzad, holds a meeting with an Iranian team at a conference in Baghdad, the first such talks in more than two years.


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2007: May - The US Ambassador to Iraq, Ryan Crocker, and his Iranian counterpart hold the first highlevel talks between the two countries in almost 30 years. Hosted by Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki Iraq's, the meeting focused on security in Iraq.

2007: July - The US military accuses Iran of training militias firing rockets and mortars on Baghdad's heavily protected Green Zone.

2007: September - Ayatollah Khamenei says he is sure President Bush will be tried in an international court for what had happened in Iraq.

2007: September - President Ahmadinejad says Iran is not heading for armed conflict with the United States.

2007: September - US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice attacks the head of the UN nuclear watchdog for urging caution over Iran's nuclear program after the IAEA chief said force should be a last resort and dismissed talk of military action in Iran as "hype".

2007: October - The US steps up its sanctions on the IRCG and designates the Quds force a terrorist organization.

2007: December - US intelligence says Iran halted its nuclear weapons program in 2003. President Ahmadinejad calls the report a "great victory". President Bush says that Iran should reveal the full extent of its nuclear program, or risk further international isolation.

2007: December - Iran sends a formal protest letter to the US accusing it of spying on Iran's nuclear activities.

2007: December - Washington says Iran has no need to continue its own nuclear program after Russia started delivering fuel to the Bushehr power plant.

2008: January - Iran's Supreme Leader says relations with the US could be restored in the future.

2008: January - The US says five Iranian speedboats approached three US navy ships in the Strait of Hormuz and radioed a threat to blow them up. Iran released a video which shows no sign of any threat and a senior US official later said the radio threat may have been a misread signal originating from elsewhere.

2008: January – The US says Iran is "the world's leading state sponsor of terrorism" and the US is rallying friends to confront it "before it's too late".

2008: March - The UN approves a third round of sanctions on Iran.

2008: July - Iran launches “Exercise Stake Net” in the Straits of Hormuz and the Sea of Oman on the same day the US announces it be holding naval exercises in the Gulf.

2008: November - President Ahmadinejad offers congratulations to Barack Obama after his election victory; Obama had offered talks with Iran without preconditions.

2008: December - Iran announces recent upgrades to the naval bases and seeks to be able to defend against an Israeli or US threat and close the Strait of Hormuz.

2009: Ahmadinejad wins reelection – the results are contested and a massive crackdown is launched against protestors.

2009: September - the MEK reveals another enrichment facility near Qom. Soon after the US and EU disclose intelligence regarding the plant. The following month, Iran agrees to a UN deal to ship Iranian uranium to Russia to be enriched and then to France to produce fuel. Ultimately, Iran backs out.

2010: February – Iran announces 20% enrichment, prompting new US sanctions.

2010: May - The US rejects an Iranian fuel-swap deal with Brazil and Turkey, partly due to increased enrichment stockpiles Iran acquired since the deal was first negotiated.

2010: June - The UN approves a fourth round of sanctions


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2010: July - President Obama signs the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act, which amends the Iran Sanctions Act of 1996

2010: September - The US sanctions Iran for human rights violations

2011: March - Iran denounces Saudi Arabia for intervening in Bahrain.

2011: September - The US contemplates opening a direct line to the Iranian Navy as a way to avoid confrontation in the Persian Gulf – Iran publically rejected a month later.

2011: September - Iran meets with Taliban officials in Tehran to promote Taliban reconciliation. The Obama administration has sent senior emissaries to all of the countries bordering Afghanistan, except Iran.

2011: October – The US accuses Iran of conspiring to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to the US on US soil.

2011: October – Iran signaled its intention to boost its deployment of warships beyond the Gulf and was considering deployment to the Atlantic Ocean

2011: November – The IAEA releases a report that provides detailed indicators that Iran has weaponized its nuclear program.

2011: November – Explosions as a result of apparent acts of sabotage on Iranian nuclear and missile sites. Explosions at a missile site outside of Tehran on November 12 nearly level the facility, and kill IRGC General Hassan Moghaddam. On November 28, explosions rock a uranium enrichment facility outside of Isfahan. Although Iranian officials claim the event was an accident, the timing of these events makes such a conclusion unlikely.

2011: December - Iran makes increasingly aggressive statements regarding the presence of the US 5th Fleet in the Gulf, including, but not limited to threatening a US aircraft carrier if it returned to the Gulf.

2012: January - Iran concludes the Velayat-90 naval exercises, during which the IRGC tested a number of missiles, mines, and torpedoes.

2012: March – President Obama and Secretary of Defense Panetta make increasingly direct and aggressive statements that allude to the likelihood of a US strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities should Tehran continue to refuse to cooperate with the international community over its program.

Types and Levels of Competition It is important to note the broad levels of competition that are shaping US and Iranian policy. Each of these forms of competition is interactive with the others and each has a major impact on how the US and Iran compete.

Ideology, Religion, and Political Systems The US concepts of rule of law, religion and state, and human rights differ sharply from Iran. Iran guards its “Islamic” revolution at all costs and seeks to be the leading voice in defining political Islam. Iran’s leaders, however, compete with other very different interpretations of the role of Islam inside Iran, in the region, and throughout the Islamic world. It is unclear whether Shi’ites outside Iran show any serious support for the concept of an Iranian Supreme Leader, or Iran as a political and ideological power center beyond the influence of its seminaries educating foreign clerics. Sunnis and other sects often find it easier to deal with a distant, secular US, and Sunni extremisms and violent groups generally see Iran and Shi’ites as apostates.


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The US cannot compete with Iran as if the US was a Muslim state, but it can compete by supporting moderate Shi’ite and Sunni movements. Moreover, Iran’s recent elections – and the role the Supreme Leader played in them – question Iran’s political and religious legitimacy both in and outside Iran. Moreover, the US has advantages in its secular orientation. The US faces problems in attempting to export its concepts of human rights and democracy, but these concepts have powerful popular support in the region. Many Muslims see religion as a matter of faith and conscience with the role of the state focusing on security, development, justice, and secular values. This mirrors the notion of post-Islamism, a growing movement defined as a post-nationalist, post-Islamist vision that combines concerns for national dignity with social justice and democracy, and “nurtures pious Muslims within a democratic system.”v Others have labeled a similar notion of “modern Islamism” as the commitment to use politics to promote Islamic values within a Muslim state, with extremists as “fringe” elements garnering little public support. Typically these thinkers are nationalistic, not religiously motivated, and are not considered Islamists.vi This type of movement threatens the model of political Islam that Iran promotes, while offering opportunities for US influence. This has been ascribed to various past and present uprisings across the region, including the Cedar Revolution, Iran’s Green Movement, and Tunisia’s alNahda Party.vii The US push for democratic reform, a universally accepted international order, secularism, and human rights are a main point of ideological tension between the two countries.

Terrorism, Extremism, Paramilitary Ties, and Covert Operations Iran seeks to exploit Shi’ite groups that have extreme and violent elements, like Hizbollah and Shi’ite militias in Iraq. It has provided some support to Shi’ite groups in other Gulf countries and Afghanistan, and has supported hardline and terrorist Sunni groups ranging from Hamas to the Taliban. Iran makes use of state organizations like the Quds force, and uses diplomacy and trade as cover for coercive measures reinforced by manipulating foreign aid, arms sales, and religious activities. It is questionable that Iran is the leading sponsor of terrorism; however, there is little doubt that Iranian-backed groups in places like Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, and Gaza use terrorist tactics and pose direct and indirect threats to the agenda of the US and its allies. At a minimum, the US competes in the form of counterterrorism operations, military sales, and foreign aid. This aspect of US-Iranian competition involves a complex mix of third parties and competing interests. Various hardline and extremist movements attempt to exploit Iran as much as Iran attempts to exploit them. All of the Arab Gulf states have to deal with different levels of threats, and does so in different ways. Each has a different set of interests balancing its relations with the US and Iran.

Energy, Sanctions, and Global Economic Impacts Iran effectively uses its energy resources as a tool to compete with the US. It seeks to maximize its oil, gas, and product export income, and does not show the concern that states like Saudi Arabia have in placing some limits on oil prices as a way of maintaining long term markets and


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global economic stability. Iranian efforts play out in OPEC, but are affected by Iran’s military power and capability to intimidate its neighbors or conduct asymmetric and conventional wars. It builds greater dependence on Iranian resources among a greater number of nations – preferably those with international leverage. Iran uses energy deals, its trading status and imports, and the politics of sanctions – claiming they are illegitimate and hurt the Iranian people, to counter the US in this aspect of competition. This not only involves major energy investors, but countries like Turkey where energy pipelines and gas imports are involved. The US counters by persuading other petroleum exporters to stabilize prices and supplies, using diplomatic channels to expose Iran and lobby for international pressure, and implementing unilateral sanctions. The US seeks to put pressure on Iran through international isolation. It has worked with Europe, Japan, South Korea and other major trading partners of Iran to limit their energy deals, while working with Russian and China to limit arms sales. The US has backed Russian fuel deals, including fuel swaps, and worked with the EU to offer Iran incentives as well as penalties. Iran has agreed to and recanted various agreements, but has shown greater willingness when agreements are made on its own terms, or with non-aligned nations. Iran has repeatedly asserted the peaceful intentions of its nuclear program and warned that the nuclear issue could lead to conflict and supply interruptions. The US has warned that military options remain on the table, while Israel and Iran periodically exchange threats. This aspect of US-Iranian competition involves conflicting interests within a number of major powers. China wants stable energy, is wary of breaching sovereignty, and supports a balance of power within the international community. Russia has similar interests, as do energy firms in countries like France. Russia, however, is not acting out of a need for Iran’s resources. Trade and broader efforts to limit US influence are influential factors. Both fear the instability brought by a nuclear Iran and from an attack to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear capabilities.

Arms control, Exports, and Imports A fine line separates direct military competition from competition in arms control, arms exports, and arms imports. Iran does, however, use arms exports as a key tool of influence through movements like Hizbollah, Hamas, and various Shi’ite militias in Iraq. It also works with other powers, from North Korea to Venezuela, in cooperating in military technology and arms production, and has been involved in complex missile and technology deals with Syria, North Korea, China, and Pakistan. At the same time, its network of proxy buyers smuggle arms and technology from Europe, the US, and other advanced suppliers. The US has sought to limit Iran’s arms imports and exports, particularly imports of advanced nuclear, missile, and other weapons technology like the S300/S400 ATBM/SAM system. It has attempted to make such limits part of UN sanctions on Iran and worked with a variety of countries in efforts to block arms sales and arms smuggling from the US and other powers. This has actively involved the US in negotiations with third parties like China, Russia, and Switzerland. This aspect of competition extends to arms control and particularly to the NNPT and operations of the IAEA, with the US pushing for tighter controls and Iran resisting on grounds of nationalism, sovereignty, rights to peaceful nuclear power, and unfair “monopolies” of nuclear power. Russia and China have voiced similar concerns at times. At the same time, Iran’s


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opaqueness puts pressure on Israel and the Gulf states to develop nuclear weapons, push for preemptive strikes, acquire missile technology, and develop missile defense and purchases that limit delivery technology. It also raises challenges for chemical and biological weapons compliance under the CWC (Iran is a signatory and declared chemical weapons state but has never complied with the disclosure requirements) and BWC – due to unanswered questions regarding Iran’s activities and facilities. Unlike the NNPT, however, the US has not competed with Iran to strengthen enforcement of the CWC and BWC.

International diplomacy Iran portrays the US as unfair, reckless, imperialist, and pro-Israeli in a wide range of forums from meetings in countries as diverse as Japan and Argentina, to organizations like the UN and Shanghai Cooperation Organization. The US sometimes proactively responds and sometimes does not. In general, Iran has steadily expanded the role of its diplomats in these efforts with limited response from the US. Iran continuously works to build opposition to US hegemony and support for its own ambitions and advancement in international circles. This has been done with varying degrees of success and often coincides with the various other forms of competition.

Military Competition The US and Iran are direct military competitors in the Gulf, Indian Ocean, Central Asia, and Levant – and in steadily wider areas as Iran expands its MRBM and IRBM capabilities. This competition occurs in different ways, and goes far beyond war fighting capabilities. Military competition occurs as each seeks to deny the other military options, reinforce containment and deterrence, limit escalation, and increase prestige, credibility, and status, all while attempting to influence the behavior of other states. Both sides have concentrated more on using military forces in “wars of influence” than actual conflict. Military competition involves conventional forces, asymmetric and irregular warfare, and weapons of mass destruction. Iran is steadily expanding its regular military forces in ways intended to expand its influence, limit US military options, intimidate its neighbors, and increase its power projection capabilities. So far, Iran has not been able to acquire large numbers of modern armor, combat aircraft, longer-range surface-to-air missiles, and combat ships. Partly because of US efforts, much of its conventional military force is obsolescent or is equipped with less capable types of weapons. Iran has long been in discussions with Russia over advanced modern combat aircraft, surface-toair missiles, and ballistic missile defenses. It actively seeks advanced systems from other countries, and has successfully imported Russian and North Korean submarines, and a variety of Chinese anti-ship missiles. It also has acquired modern Russian and Chinese air-to-air, air-toground, SHORAD, and anti-armor missiles. It has modern Russian homing torpedoes, and may have advanced types of Russian and Chinese mines. These capabilities improve Iran’s ability to threaten and influence its neighbors, to deter US naval and air operations against Iran (as well as those of Israel and other states), and provide Iran with improved military options against targets in the Gulf region. As the Israeli-Hezbollah War and use of shaped-charge IEDs in Iraq showed, they also allow Iran to strengthen its proxies. The end result is a constant and growing challenge to the US in the Gulf region, particularly in terms


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of air, missile, and naval warfare, as well as a challenge to the US in providing military support and transfer to the GCC states, Israel, and Iraq. This competition interacts directly with the arms import/export competition discussed earlier. The most direct threat to US and allied interests comes from Iranian efforts to build up military capabilities in the Gulf, Strait of Hormuz, and Gulf of Oman, which if exercised well are capable of closing the Gulf. Capabilities ranging from free floating mines to small crafts with anti-ship missiles, coupled with potential air attacks on key targets and the use of conventional forces, give Iran the theoretical capacity to close the Gulf for a short period. There is no simple way to describe the lower threshold of Iran’s military development and its ability to pressure, threaten, or attack other powers. Any weapon and any type of force can be used in asymmetric, irregular, or hybrid ways – from a terrorist proxy to a nuclear weapon. Building its military capability enables Iran to carry out low-level attacks and general harassment, with some potential for deniability, over extended periods of time in ways that are difficult to counter, or if countered might seem disproportionate or unjustified. At the same time, Iran’s military efforts to develop asymmetric capabilities cannot be separated from Iran’s emphasis on missiles and potential development of weapons of mass destruction. Both can compensate and substitute for the limits of its conventional forces. Moreover, if Iran does acquire – or is perceived to acquire – nuclear weapons, this will have at least some impact in deterring any response to Iran’s use of asymmetric warfare. Countering Iran’s steadily advancing capabilities for asymmetric and proxy warfare is difficult to do through conventional forces. The fundamental limitations and comparative disadvantages of Iran’s conventional military forces suggests that acquiring weapons of mass destruction only acts as a potential deterrent to US conventional attacks on Iran. US-Iranian strategic competition is almost certain to continue with Iran’s present regime. It may become less visible, or be moderated, but the Iranian government has steadily moved away from the promise of change and reform once considered under former President Khatami. Iran has become more extreme in rhetoric and action, and has seen a steady rise in the power and influence of hardline elements of the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guards. The Arab Awakening and rifts within Iranian leadership may only heighten Iran’s sense of desperation in the region. The timing and opportunism that brought “grand bargains” seem far removed. Even with regime change, Iran still seems likely to challenge the US for influence in many of the same areas. Iran’s interests may not clash with those of the US to anything like the present extent if Iran’s theocratic autocracy loses power, but Iran will continue to pursue its own interests, and these seem likely to include ambitions and goals that continue to challenge the US in diplomacy, energy pursuits, and ideological-based ambitions. It is dangerous to assume that US-Iranian strategic competition and sporadic low-level use of violence will result in large-scale conflict. The US has political, diplomatic, economic, and military tools it can use to deter and contain Iran in military terms, and some forms of Iranian gains in diplomatic, economic, and energy efforts would serve both nations’ interests. A more stable Iraq, Afghanistan, and Central Asia, as well as aspects of counterterrorism and counternarcotics present some avenues for cooperation.


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The US-Iranian competition occurs without clear limits or rules, while outside players like Israel, and developments in the Arab Awakening can suddenly change the nature of the competition. It is far from clear what Iran’s present and future intentions are in acquiring nuclear weapons, its involvement in emerging geopolitical trends, and the affect of US austerity in military and foreign affairs budgets. The current state of US-Iranian competition is challenged by the ongoing developments in the Arab uprisings, mounting pressure on Israel, the US withdrawal from Iraq, a more assertive Saudi Arabia, and the elapsing time before Iran might develop nuclear weapon capability. There is little doubt that all of the types and levels of US-Iranian competition described here will continue to play out in diverse and evolving ways.

i

Bob Woodward, “CIA Aiding Iraq in Persian Gulf War,” Washington Post, December 15, 1986. Russ W. Baker, “Iraqgate,” Columbia Journalism Review. March/April 1993. iii Murray S. Waas and Craig Unger, “In the Loop: Bush's Secret Mission,” The New Yorker Magazine, November 2, 1992. http://www.newyorker.com/archive/1992/11/02/1992_11_02_064_TNY_CARDS_000359993 Also see: Michael Dobbs, “US Had Key Role in Iraq Buildup: Trade in Chemical Arms Despite Their Use on Iranians, Kurds,” Washington Post, December 30, 2002. Geoffrey Wheatcraft, “An Uncertain Ally in Iraq,” New York Times, August 29, 2002. http://www.nytimes.com/2002/08/29/opinion/an-uncertain-ally-on-iraq.html Donald W. Riegle, Jr. and Alfonse M. D'Amato, “Housing and Urban Affairs with Respect to Export Administration,” United States Senate, 103d Congress, 2d Session, May 25, 1994. iv Malcolm Byrne, “Secret U.S. Overture to Iran in 1999 Broke Down Over Terrorism Allegations,” The National Security Archive, May 30, 2010. http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB318/index.htm v Asef Bayat, “A New Arab Street in Post-Islamist Times,” Foreign Policy, January 26, 2011, p. 26. vi Muhammad Ayoob. The Many Faces of Political Islam. University Michigan Press: Ann Arbor, MI, 2009. vii Nader Hashemi, “The Key Features of the Green Movement: An Interview with Dissident Cleric Mohsen Kadivar. Rooz Online,” from “Iran Reloaded,” August 31, 2009, 109. ii


a report of the csis burke chair in strategy

U.S. and Iranian Strategic Competition: Iran and the Gulf Military Balance Authors Anthony H. Cordesman Alexander Wilner

March 2012


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Acknowledgements

This analysis was made possible by a grant from the Smith Richardson Foundation. It draws on the work of Dr. Abdullah Toukan and a series of reports on Iran by Adam Seitz, a Senior Research Associate and Instructor, Middle East Studies, Marine Corps University.

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INTRODUCTION ......................................................................................................................................... 5 THE HISTORICAL BACKGROUND .............................................................................................................. 5 Figure III.1: Summary Chronology of US-Iranian Military Competition: 2000-2011 ............................... 8

CURRENT PATTERNS IN THE STRUCTURE OF US AND IRANIAN MILITARY COMPETITION ..................... 13 DIFFERING NATIONAL PERSPECTIVES .................................................................................................... 17 US Perceptions.................................................................................................................................... 17 Iranian Perceptions............................................................................................................................. 18 Arab and Turkish Perceptions............................................................................................................. 24 Israeli perceptions .............................................................................................................................. 24 Perceptions of the “War of Sanctions” ............................................................................................... 25 Figure III.2: Assessing the Full Range of Iranian Competition and Threats ........................................... 26

KEY UNCERTAINTIES IN ASSESSING THE DETAILS OF US AND IRANIAN MILITARY COMPETITION ...... 27 Uncertainties Affecting Nuclear and Missile Programs...................................................................... 27 Uncertainties Affecting Regime Stability and Regime Change .......................................................... 28 Uncertainties Affecting the View of Different National Officials, Military Officers, and Intelligence Experts ................................................................................................................................................ 28 COMPETITION IN CONVENTIONAL MILITARY FORCES ........................................................................... 29 The Trends in the Conventional Balance ............................................................................................ 29 Figure III.3: Comparative Spending on Military Forces and Arms Sales – Part One: Military Spending 31 .............................................................................................................................................................. 31 Figure III.3: Comparative Spending on Military Forces and Arms Sales – Part Two: Arms Transfers .... 32

The Limits to Iran’s Air Power............................................................................................................. 33 The Uncertainties Affecting Iran’s Air Capabilities .......................................................................................................... 33 Iran’s Problems in a Significant Air War .......................................................................................................................... 34 Iranian Claims to Air Modernization and Combat Capability ......................................................................................... 35 The US, the Southern Gulf Problem, and Iran’s Capability for Air Combat ..................................................................... 35 Figure III.4: Total Gulf Holdings of Combat Aircraft in 2011 ................................................................. 37 Figure III.5: Comparative Modern Iranian and Gulf Air Forces ............................................................. 38 Figure III.6: Gulf Reconnaissance and AWACS Aircraft in 2011 ............................................................ 39

Ground-Based Air Defenses ................................................................................................................ 40 The Limits to Iran’s Surface-Based Air Defenses ............................................................................................................. 40 The Struggle to Modernize Iran’s Surface to Air Missile Defenses.................................................................................. 41 The US, the Southern Gulf Problem and Iran’s Capability for Land-based Air Defense .................................................. 41 The Southern Gulf Problem and Surface-to-Air Missile Defense .................................................................................... 42 Figure III.7: Comparative Land Based Air and Missile Defense Forces ................................................. 43

Iran’s Largely Defensive Land Forces.................................................................................................. 45 Strengths and Weaknesses in Iran’s Army ...................................................................................................................... 45 Iran’s Ability to Defend Its Teritory and Project Land Power .......................................................................................... 46 Figure III.8: Comparative Iranian and Gulf Land Forces ........................................................................ 48

Iran’s Naval Forces and Their Role in Asymmetric Warfare ............................................................... 49 The Strengths and Weaknesses of Iran’s Naval Forces ................................................................................................... 49 Iran Officers and Officials on Iran’s Naval Posture in the Gulf ........................................................................................ 53 The US, the Southern Gulf, and Iran’s Capability for Naval Combat ............................................................................... 55 Figure III.9: Comparative Iranian and Gulf Major Naval Forces ............................................................ 57 Figure III.10: Iranian and Gulf Smaller Naval Ships by Category in 2011 .............................................. 58 Figure III.11: Gulf Warships with Anti-Ship Missiles in 2011 ................................................................. 59 Figure III.12: Gulf Attack, Anti-Ship and ASW Helicopters in 2011 ....................................................... 60

Measuring the Overall Balance of US and Iranian Military Competition ........................................... 61 The Wild Card in the Conventional Balance: A Weak Iraq .............................................................................................. 63 Figure III.13: Shifting the Balance: Iran vs. Iraq in 2003 and 2011 ........................................................ 64 COMPETITION IN ASYMMETRIC FORCES................................................................................................. 65

Iran’s Growing Asymmetric Forces ..................................................................................................... 65 Conventional Weakness vs. Asymmetric Capability ........................................................................... 68

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Iran’s Growing Mix of Asymmetric Warfare Forces ........................................................................... 69 Figure III.14: Key Iranian Capabilities for Asymmetric Warfare ............................................................ 71

The Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) ................................................................................. 72 IRGC Land Forces ............................................................................................................................................................ 72 The IRGC Air Force .......................................................................................................................................................... 75 Figure III.15: Key Elements of the IRGC ................................................................................................ 76 Figure III. 16: Iranian UAVs and UCAVs ................................................................................................. 77 Figure III.17: The Evolving Capabilities of the IRGC .............................................................................. 78 The IRGC Naval Forces .................................................................................................................................................... 79 Figure III.18: The Impact of the IRGC Naval Guards: Force Strength, Roles, and Missions ................... 81 Figure III.19: Iranian Naval Capabilities for Asymmetric Warfare ......................................................... 82 Figure III.20: Iranian Capabilities for Mine Warfare.............................................................................. 83 Figure III.21: Iranian Amphibious Warfare Capabilities ........................................................................ 84 The Basij or Basij-e Mostaz'afin, "Mobilization of the Oppressed" ................................................................................. 85 The Al Qods Force ........................................................................................................................................................... 86 Figure III.22: The Iranian Al Qods Force ................................................................................................ 90

The MISIRI, MOIS, or Vevak ................................................................................................................ 91 Other Asymmetric Forces ................................................................................................................... 94 Figure III.23: Iranian Use of Other States and Non-State Actors........................................................... 97 Figure III.24: Iran and the Hezbollah ..................................................................................................... 98 Figure III.25: Iran and Hamas ................................................................................................................ 99 “CLOSING THE GULF:” IRAN’S REAL WORLD MILITARY OPTIONS FOR ASYMMETRIC WARFARE ...... 100

The Potential Strategic, Energy, and Global Economic Impacts of the Iranian Threat ................... 102 Figure III.26: Estimated US Dependence on Petroleum Imports: 1970-2035 ..................................... 106 Figure III.27: Growing Strategic Importance of Gulf Petroleum production: 2007-2035 .................... 107

Iran’s Growing Military Assets for Such a Mission ........................................................................... 108 Iran’s Submarines and Submersibles ................................................................................................ 108 Submarines ................................................................................................................................................................... 109 Midget Submarines ...................................................................................................................................................... 111 Swimmer Delivery Vehicles (SDVs) ............................................................................................................................... 112

Iran’s Bases and Other Assets for “Closing the Gulf” ....................................................................... 112 Iranian Military Installations in the Gulf........................................................................................................................ 112 Major Surface Warships ................................................................................................................................................ 115 Fast-attack Watercraft, Speedboats, Patrol Craft, and Hovercraft. .............................................................................. 116 Shore and Ship-based ASCMs. ..................................................................................................................................... 119 Naval Mines .................................................................................................................................................................. 122 Maritime Patrol Aircraft ................................................................................................................................................ 124 Helicopters .................................................................................................................................................................... 125 Torpedoes ..................................................................................................................................................................... 125 UCAVs and UAVs ........................................................................................................................................................... 126 US AND ARAB GULF OPTIONS FOR COMPETING WITH IRANIAN .......................................................... 126

US Forces in the Gulf ........................................................................................................................ 127 The US Partnership With Southern Gulf, Other Regional, British, and French forces ...................... 129 Changing the Ground Rules: What If Preventive Strikes – Not Sanctions – Trigger Iranian Efforts to Close the Gulf ................................................................................................................................... 133 IMPLICATIONS FOR US POLICY ............................................................................................................. 134

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Introduction The most threatening form of US and Iranian competition takes place in the military and security arena. The areas where this competition now gets primary attention are the nuclear and missile arena, and Iranian threats to “close the Gulf.” US and Iranian tensions over Iran’s nuclear program have grown steadily over the years. They now threaten to reach the crisis point as Iran produces highly enriched uranium and develops all of the technology necessary to produce nuclear weapons, and as US, European, and UN sanctions become steadily stronger. The military competition between the US and Iran also goes on a far wider level in the Arabian Peninsula, Iraq, Gulf of Oman and Arabian Sea, Indian Ocean, Levant, Arab-Israeli conflict, Turkey, Afghanistan, and beyond – as Iran expands its ballistic missile capabilities. Their military competition involves a wide range of other states – particularly the Arab Gulf states and Israel. It occurs in ways where each nation, and its allies, seeks to deny the other side military options, and seeks to establish or reinforce containment, deterrence, and limits on escalation. It is also a competition for military prestige and status, and which seeks to use military forces to influence the behavior of other states.

The Historical Background The history of US and Iranian military competition tracks closely with the history of the political tensions between the US and Iran.. The US sees Iran as a state that has been vehemently antiAmerican since the fall of the Shah and the founding of the Islamic Republic, which held US embassy employees hostage, and threatens the region, exports terrorism, and exports aid and arms to insurgents and extremists in Iraq and Afghanistan. The US sees Iran as a nation seeking nuclear-armed missiles, that is steadily building up asymmetric forces that threaten friendly Gulf states and the stable flow of Gulf petroleum exports, and that is developing the capability to threaten Israel’s existence. It feels Iran seeks to become the dominant power in the region while seeking to expel US power and influence. Iran sees competition as driven by US efforts to dominate the Gulf and the region, by a period of US intervention in Iranian internal affairs that began in 1953, by US security assistance to the Pahlavi regime before the Shah’s fall, US support of Iraq during the Iran-Iraq War, the “tanker war” from 1987-1988, and US efforts to deny Iran imports of arms and military technology. Iran feels the US seeks to dominate the region and Iran, while seeking to contain Iran’s power and influence. It also seeks the US as threatening Iran’s regime, as a possible invader, and as a state the might strike preemptively to destroy Iran’s nuclear programs and weaken its military forces. It sees the US as the cause of growing economic problems and a sanctions regime that could cripple the Iranian economy. The end result is a competition of building and deploying military forces that has now gone on for more than 30 years, and which has occasionally led to direct military action. Key events include the Iranian hostage crisis (1979-1981), US seizure of Iranian assets, the imposition of sanctions on Iran, and occasional military clashes (1988). The most prominent aspect of USIranian rivalry, though, has been the use of proxies. The recent history of US and Iranian military competition is shown in Figure III.1. It reflects the fact that Iran has sought to bridge the gap in conventional capability by building a strong capacity asymmetric warfare to defend against attacks and invasion, and the extent of its 5


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influence throughout the region and pose a threat to tanker and shipping in the Gulf. After it conventional forces suffered tactical defeats at the hands of superior US forces in the Gulf during Operation Praying Mantis (1987-1988), Iran shifted its focus to developing a strong asymmetric capacity that focuses on the use of smart munitions, light attack craft, mines, swarm tactics, and missile barrages to counteract US naval power. While such assets cannot be used to achieve a decisive victory against US and other forces in a direct confrontation in the Gulf, they are difficult to counter and give Iran the ability to strike at larger conventional forces with little, if any warning. Iran has also created robust nuclear and ballistic missile programs, which have become a focal point of US-Iranian military competition. Iran’s missile program dates to the 1980s, and was fully underway during the Iran-Iraq War. While Iran’s ballistic missile capabilities were initially limited, the range and sophistication of the country’s missiles has increased greatly since its inception in the early days of the Iran-Iraq War. Iran has now created conventionally armed ballistic missile forces that can strike at US allies and US bases in the region with little warning, and could be configured to carry nuclear warheads if Iran can develop them. Although an Iranian nuclear program has existed in some form since the 1950s, Iran’s push to enrich uranium and reach a nuclear breakout capability began in earnest during the Iran-Iraq War, and accelerated in the early 2000s. This program may have paused in 2003, but recent reporting by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and other sources makes it clear that Iran has since made further advances in its capability to produce nuclear weapons, now has all of the technology necessary to produce a nuclear device, and is pursuing warhead designs for its missiles that could be used to deliver nuclear weapons. In spite of sabotage, the assassination of some Iranian scientists, and international sanctions — Iran’s nuclear program continues to progress. Iran still claims that its nuclear program is entirely peaceful, but its lack of cooperation with the IAEA – and the growing range of other indicators that it is developing the capability to produce nuclear weapons – make such claims doubtful. It is possible that Iran may acquire deliverable nuclear weapons at some point in the next two to five years. The US has responded with sanctions, efforts to limit Iran’s imports of weapons and technology, and by providing its Gulf allies with advanced military equipment to counter Iran. The UAE, for example, has received the transfer of advanced F-16s. Saudi Arabia has received transfers of billions of dollars of advanced equipment, including AH-64 Apache attack helicopters, M1 Abrams main battle tanks, and F-15S multirole fighters. Most Southern Gulf states have advanced version of the Patriot with some missile defense capability and the US has made it clear it will provide more advanced systems in the future. Such systems are far more advanced than Iranian military technology, and serve to both limit Iran’s influence and provide a major deterrent to Iranian forces. Even since the fall of the Shah and the rise of the Khomeini regime, the US and Europe have refused to provide Iran with new arms sales as well as military technology, parts, and updates for the systems they sold during the time of the Shah. They have also put continuing pressure on Russia, China and other arms suppliers to limit the transfer of arms. The US and its allies also favored Iraq during the Iran-Iraq War, and the US provided substantial support to Iraq in the form of arms sales, intelligence, and technological assistance. The combination of such limits on Iran’s arms imports and its massive losses during the Iran-Iraq war have severely restricted the 6


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quality and modernization of Iran’s conventional forces, and forced Iran to both create a domestic arms industry and find alternatives to conventional military power.

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Figure III.1: Summary Chronology of US-Iranian Military Competition: 2000-2011123 2001 March 12 – Russian president Vladimir Putin and Iranian president Mohammed Khatami sign a cooperation and security agreement during a state visit to Moscow, the first since the 1979 Revolution. April – Iran and Saudi Arabia sign a security agreement with the objective of combatting drug trafficking and terrorism. June – Five years after a truck bomb destroyed the Khobar Towers in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia; a federal grand jury in the US indicts 13 Saudis and one Lebanese for their role in the attack. The indictment states that all were part of Saudi Hezbollah, an Iranian proxy. The blast killed 19 US servicemen. October 2 – Six years after it halted arms sales to Iran due to US diplomatic pressure, Russia signs a military agreement with Iran that includes the sale of missiles, fighter aircraft, and other armaments. October 8 – Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei condemns the US airstrikes in Afghanistan. However, Iran agrees to perform search and rescue missions for US pilots that crash or are shot down over Iranian soil. September – A CIA report accuses Iran of possessing one of the most active nuclear weapons programs in the world. Moreover, it indicates that Iran is seeking ballistic missile technology from Russia, China, and North Korea. 2002 January – Israeli seize the Karina A. They discover that the ship is carrying 50 tons of arms that Israeli officials believe are intended for Palestinian militant organizations. January 29 – US president George W. Bush refers to Iran, Iraq, and North Korea as an “axis of evil” in his State of the Union address. September – Iran begins construction of its first nuclear reactor at Bushehr with the assistance of Russian engineers and technicians. The move prompts strong objections from the US. December – The US accuses Iran of possessing a secret nuclear weapons program centered on two nuclear facilities at Natanz and Arak, both of which are under construction at the time. 2003 March – In the wake of the US-led invasion of Iraq, Iran and Syria expand and intensify their cooperation to ensure that they themselves would not become targets as well. Both countries begin to support insurgent groups in Iraq, and expand bilateral defense cooperation. May – Shortly after the US invasion of Iraq, a Swiss diplomat relays Iranian conditions for bilateral talks to the US government. The offer, however, is not considered seriously by the Bush administration.

1

“Timeline: Iran-US Relations.” Al-Jazeera English. June 25, 2009.

2

"Timeline: US-Iran Ties.” BBC. May 10, 2011.

3

“Timeline of Iran’s Foreign Relations.” United States Institute of Peace

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2004 June 21 – Iran arrests six British sailors for allegedly trespassing into Iran’s territorial waters. They are paraded through Tehran and later forced to apologize. All are released three days later after negotiations. November – Iran agrees to suspend uranium enrichment in exchange for trade concessions from Europe. 2005 August – George W. Bush makes one of many statements to follow about not ruling out the use of force to halt Iran’s nuclear program. June – Former IRGC commander and presidential candidate Mohsen Rezaei states that Iran played a larger role in the overthrow of the Taliban than the US gave it credit for. June 16 – Iran and Syria sign a military cooperation agreement to defend against what both sides deemed the “common threats” presented by the US and Israel. The defense ministers of both countries stated in a joint press conference that the agreement was aimed at consolidating defense efforts and strengthening mutual support. June 6 – Iran is given observer status in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, an intergovernmental mutual security organization that includes Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. Iran later applies for full membership in March 2008, but its admission is blocked by sanctions imposed on it by the UN. October 25 – Iran’s new president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, calls for Israel to “vanish from the pages of time.” This statement is widely seen as a threat leveled at Israel. 2006 April – Washington denies a claim reported in The New York Times that the US is considering a tactical nuclear strike on Iran’s underground nuclear facilities. Iran lodges a complaint at the UN, and states that it will retaliate against any attack. Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad reaffirms that Iran’s nuclear program is peaceful. Iran later offers to hold direct talks with the US regarding Iraq, but withdraws the offer soon after. May – Iran threatens withdrawal from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty if pressure on its nuclear program escalates following a UN Security Council draft resolution. Later that month, the US offers to join the EU in direct negotiations with Iran if Tehran agrees to suspend uranium enrichment December – The UN Security Council passes a resolution that imposes sanctions on Iran over its nuclear program. 2007 January – Members of the IRGC are arrested in Iraq by US forces for engaging in sectarian warfare. After lumping Iran together with al-Qaeda in the State of the Union address, US president George W. Bush states that he does not intend to attack Iran. February – Iran denies accusations that it is promoting violence in Iraq. February 8 – Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei states that Iran would retaliate against US interests

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around the world if the US were to attack Iran’s nuclear program. March 24 – Iran detains 15 British marines and sailors for allegedly trespassing into Iran’s territorial waters. They are released after approximately two weeks. May 28 – The US and Iran hold the first high-level official talks since the 1979 Revolution in Baghdad. The meeting comes after the Iraqi government holds a security conference attended by regional states and permanent members of the UN Security Council. The talks focus on Iraqi security, and are later followed by more talks in July and November. In the course of these meetings, the US urges Iran to stop supporting Shi’ite militias in the country. The talks, however, do not lead to anything meaningful, and cease after three meetings. August – Iranian officials denounce US plans to designate the IRGC as a terrorist organization as “worthless.” Bush warns Iran over its support for Shi’ite militias in Iraq. September 6 – NATO forces in Afghanistan intercept a large shipment of Iranian arms intended for the Taliban. Among other things, the shipment includes explosively formed penetrators (EFPs). US officials state that the large size of the shipment made is indicative that Iranian officials are at least aware of it. Iran denies the accusations. October – The commander of US forces in Iraq, General David Petraeus, claims that Iran is promoting violence in Iraq. Petraeus also accuses Iran’s ambassador to Iraq, Hassan Kazemi Qomi, of being a member of the Al Qods Force, the special operations wing of the IRGC that is responsible for training and equipping Iran’s proxies. November – Twenty Iranian citizens held by US forces in Iraq are released. The IAEA releases a report that states that Iran supplied transparent records of its past nuclear activities, but emphasizes that it only has limited knowledge of Iran’s then-current nuclear activities. December – A US intelligence report states that Iran suspended its nuclear weapons program in 2003, but continued to enrich uranium. Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad hails the report as an Iranian victory. US president George W. Bush states that Iran risks further isolation if it does not reveal the full extent of its nuclear activities. US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates states that Iran may have restarted its nuclear weapons program at a conference in Bahrain, despite the US report. Moreover, he states that Iran still poses a serious threat to Middle East security and the US. Iran protests US espionage against its nuclear activities in a formal letter to the US. 2008 January – Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei, states that US-Iranian relations could be restored in the future. The US accuses Iran of harassing US Navy ships in the Strait of Hormuz. Bush accuses Iran of being the world's leading sponsor of terrorism. April – The US accuses Iran of continuing to support Afghan insurgents. July – The IRGC carries out a series of war games and ballistic missile tests during the Great Prophet 3 military exercises. Iran test fired a new version of its Shahab-3 intermediate range ballistic missile, which Iran states are capable of hitting targets in Israel. The tests, however, draw attention over allegedly doctored

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photographs, and some experts claim that the missile is the shorter range Shahab-3A or the SCUD C, which would indicate no improvement in Iran’s ballistic missile technology or capabilities. 2009 January 29 – A White House spokesman indicates that US president Barack Obama will “preserve all his options,” and has not ruled out the use of force to confront Iran’s nuclear program. February 3 – Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad announces the launch of the Omid (“Hope”), Iran’s first indigenously produced satellite. The launch is seen in the West as veiled research into ballistic missile technology. May 1 – The US Department of State designates Iran as the most active state sponsor of terrorism. Iran responds by stating that the US is in no position to accuse other states of terrorism in light of its actions at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp and the scandal at Iraq’s Abu Ghraib prison. May 20 – Iran successfully tests the Sajjil-2 ballistic missile, which the regime states has a 1,500-mile range (the longest range of any of Iran’ missiles). The Obama administration responds by stating that the test was a “significant step” in Iran’s ballistic missile program, and indicated that Iran was working on enhancing its missiles’ payload capacity. September – Iran admits to constructing the Fordow uranium enrichment facility near Qom, but states that it is for peaceful purposes. September 22 – Iran shows its Shahab-3 and Sajjil ballistic missiles in a military parade. Additionally, it shows off its Russian-built Tor M1 air defense system for the first time. September 27-28 – Iran tests a number of different ballistic missiles during the Great Prophet 4 war games, including the Tondar-69, the Shahab-1, the Shahab-2, and the Fateh-110. December – General David Petraeus again accuses Iran of supporting Shi’ite militants in Iraq, and providing a “modest level” of support to Afghan insurgents. 2010 January – Masoud Ali Mohammadi, an Iranian physics professor, is killed in a bombing in Tehran. No group claims responsibility, but the Iranian government claims the US and Israel are behind the attack. March – Iran and Qatar sign a security agreement to combat terrorism and promote security cooperation. April - The IRGC conducts the Great Prophet 5 exercises in the Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz. The exercises include the conspicuous use of IRGC fast attack craft armed with anti-ship missiles against larger, static targets. May - Iran holds the Velayat 89 naval war games in the Gulf and the Sea of Oman. Both the IRGC and the regular navy participate. The games include exercises in chemical and biological warfare, large-scale offensive naval infantry operations, and the use of small, fast-attack patrol craft. August – Iran successfully tests a new version of the Fateh-110, a short-range ballistic missile with a 155mile range. In what Iran describes as a milestone in its quest for nuclear energy, technicians begin loading fuel into the Bushehr nuclear power plant. September – The Stuxnet computer virus is detected in staff computers at the Bushehr nuclear power plant. The virus is believed to have been created by a nation state.

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November - Iran carries out what it terms its “largest ever” air defense drill. The five-day exercise is aimed at defending the country’s nuclear sites from airstrikes, and a number of missiles are test fired, including the S-200 system. 2011 January – Iran’s nuclear chief, Ali Akbar Salehi, states that Iran now possesses the technology needed to make fuel plates and rods for its nuclear reactors. February 7 – The commander of the IRGC, Brigadier General Mohammed Ali Jafari, unveils the Khalij Fars, a guided anti-ship ballistic missile. General Jafari claims the missile is capable of destroying a US aircraft carrier. Iran sends two warships through Suez Canal for first time since the Islamic Revolution, in what Israel describes as an act of provocation. July – The Iranian military holds the “Great Prophet 6” war games, during which Iran test-fires new longrange missile designs and reveals the presence of underground missile silos. US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and Army General Lloyd Austin express concern that Iran is providing Shi’ite militants in Iraq with advanced rockets and other armaments. September – The commander of Iran’s navy, Admiral Habibollah Sayyari, announces Iran’s intention to send warships to patrol the Atlantic, stating following: “Like the arrogant powers that are present near our marine borders, we will also have a powerful presence close to the American marine borders.” October – US officials reveal an alleged Iranian plot to assassinate Adel Al-Jubeir, Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the US. Iran denies all involvement. November – The IAEA releases a report that provides detailed indicators that Iran has weaponized its nuclear program. November – Explosions as a result of apparent acts of sabotage on Iranian nuclear and missile sites. Explosions at a missile site outside of Tehran on November 12 nearly leveled the facility, and killed IRGC General Hassan Moghaddam. On November 28, explosions rocked a uranium enrichment facility outside of Isfahan. Although Iranian officials claimed the event was an accident, the timing of these events makes such a conclusion unlikely. December – Iran makes increasingly aggressive statements regarding the presence of the US 5 th Fleet in the Gulf, including, but not limited to threatening a US aircraft carrier if it returned to the Gulf. 2012 January – Iran concludes the Velayat-90 naval exercises, during which the IRGC tested a number of missiles, mines, and torpedoes.

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Current Patterns in the Structure of US and Iranian Military Competition While the world tends to focus on Iran’s nuclear programs, the current patterns of military competition between Iran and the US and Iran’s Arab neighbors have four major aspects: 

Iran’s conventional forces: Iran seeks to improve its conventional forces in ways intended to expand its influence, limit US military options, provide the ability to intimidate its neighbors, and increase its power projection capabilities. The US seeks to counter Iran by denying it modern conventional arms, improving its own forces and power projection capabilities, and by building up those of friendly Arab Gulf states, particularly those of Saudi Arabia and the UAE. Both Iran and the US compete for influence over Iraq’s future military development. Iran does have large conventional forces with significant capabilities to threaten and influence its neighbors. It is improving its ability to deter US naval and air operations — as well as potential operations by Israel and other states — and it has significant military options it might use against Iraq, targets in the Gulf, Gulf of Oman, and the GCC states. As the Israeli-Hezbollah War and use of shaped-charge IEDs in Iraq have shown, Iran has also strengthened its proxies in other areas. Moreover, Iran has successfully imported Russian and North Korean submarines and a variety of Chinese anti-ship missiles. It has acquired modern Russian and Chinese air-toair, air-to-ground, SHORAD, and anti-armor missiles. It has modern Russian homing torpedoes and is reported to possess advanced types of Russian and Chinese mines. It also is slowly creating the capability to design and manufacture its own major conventional weapons systems. The US, however, has had considerable success in persuading other states not to sell Iran modern major weapons system, and Iran has been forced to try to produce many of its own systems with only limited success. Iran is still heavily dependent on systems that date back to the time of the Shah and which were worn by the stress of the Iran-Iraq War. It has had some successes in modernization, but it has not been able to acquire large numbers of modern armor, combat aircraft, longer-range surface-to-air missiles, or major combat ships. Partly because of US efforts, much of its conventional military force is obsolescent or is equipped with less capable types of weapons. Much of the outcome of this aspect of US and Iranian military competition depends on how other nations treat arms sales to Iran. Iran has negotiated with Russia over sales of advanced types of modern combat aircraft, surface-to-air missiles, and ballistic missile defenses. It also actively seeks advanced systems from other countries. The end result is a constant and growing challenge to the US in the Gulf region, particularly in terms of air, missile, and naval warfare, as well as a challenge to the US in providing military support and transfer to the GCC states, Israel, and Iraq.

Asymmetric and irregular warfare: Iran has made major efforts to improve its capability for asymmetric warfare, and to use those forces to pressure, threaten, or attack other powers in ways that the US finds difficult to counter. 13


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Iranian efforts to develop advanced capabilities for asymmetric warfare have focused on improving the capabilities of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), but they affect every aspect of Iran’s military and security efforts. Any weapon and any type of force can be used in asymmetric, irregular, or hybrid ways—from a terrorist proxy to a nuclear weapon. Iran has already demonstrated its ability to use its forces in asymmetric and irregular warfare in a number of ways: o

Iranian tanker war with Iraq

o

Oil spills and floating mines in the Gulf

o

Use of Al Qods Force in Iraq/RAM IEDs

o

Series of IRGC and naval/air exercises in Gulf and Gulf of Oman

o

Iranian use of UAVs over Iraq

o

Funding and training of Hezbollah; Provision of UAVs, long-range rockets, Kornet ATGMs to Hezbollah

o

Incidents and demonstrations during pilgrimage in Makkah

o

Transferring shaped charges and other advanced IEDs to Mahdi Army and others in Iraq; training of Iraqi insurgents

o

Arms flows into western Afghanistan

o

Shipments of arms to Hamas and Palestinians

o

Support of Shi’ite groups in Bahrain

o

Long-range ballistic missile and space tests; expanding range of missile programs. Iranian public description of possible missile attacks on Israel that indirectly demonstrating Iran’s capability to attack its neighbors

o

Naval guards seizure of British boats, confrontation with US Navy

o

Long series of IRGC and Iranian military exercises in Gulf demonstrating ability to attack coastal targets, shipping, and offshore facilities

Iran’s military efforts to compete with the US and its Gulf neighbors by developing advanced capabilities for asymmetric warfare cannot be separated from Iran’s emphasis on missiles and weapons of mass destruction (WMD). Both compensate for the limits of its conventional forces and act as a substitute. Moreover, if Iran does acquire – or is perceived to acquire – nuclear weapons, this will have at least some impact on deterring any response to Iran’s use of asymmetric warfare. Iran’s neighbors, as well as the US, Britain, France, and Israel must then at least consider the risk that Iran will escalate. Iran has also gone to considerable lengths to use proxies to undermine the US presence and influence in regional countries. Examples include Iranian support for Shi’ite militant groups in Lebanon such as Hezbollah and Islamic Jihad, which led to the 1983 bombing of the US Marine barracks in Beirut, an event that pushed the US military presence out of the country. More recently, Iran has provided extensive material support and training to Shi’ite militias in post-2003 Iraq, which have constituted a thorn in the side of Coalition forces as well as a major obstacle to the establishment of a stable Iraqi state.

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Expanded areas of operation and influence. The strategic focus of US-Iranian military competition is centered on Iranian efforts to build up Iran’s military capabilities in the Gulf, Straits of Hormuz, and Gulf of Oman. However, Figure III.2 shows that it now extends throughout much of the Middle East and North Africa, into Central and South Asia, and beyond; Iran is seeking the capability to challenge the US and other Gulf states with a mix of capabilities ranging from free-floating mines and small craft with anti-ship missiles, to the ability to conduct air attacks on key targets like desalination plants, as well as missile attacks on military bases and cities. USCENTCOM and senior US officers have states has stated that Iran already has a limited capability to halt most commercial shipping through the Gulf for a short period. Speaking on Iran’s ability to close the Strait of Hormuz, the strategic shipping lane linking the Gulf of Oman and the Persian Gulf, Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman, General Martin Dempsey stated in January 2012 that: They’ve invested in capabilities that could, in fact, for a period of time block the Strait of Hormuz.” - Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman General Martin Dempsey, January 9, 2012. 4

Several days later, Admiral Jonathon Greenert also responded to Iran’s threats and claims close the Strait: “If you ask me what keeps me awake at night, it's the Strait of Hormuz and the business going on in the Persian Gulf." – Admiral Jonathan Greenert January 11, 2012.5

Few doubt that Iran now has a mix of forces that can carry out low-level attacks and harassment over extended periods of time in ways that would make it difficult for the US and its allies to respond by escalating in a manner that would seem justified. The US does, however, retain the advantage in scenarios that involve an Iranian attempt to “close the Gulf.” Despite Iran’s steadily advancing capabilities in asymmetric and proxy warfare, Iran’s forces, territory, military and military production facilities, and critical infrastructure are still vulnerable to US conventional forces and devastating precision attacks on Iran’s military and economic assets. It is only if Iran can acquire nuclear weapons that it can create a potential deterrent to US conventional attacks if Iran uses its asymmetric or conventional forces. 

Missiles and weapons of mass destruction: Iran is a declared chemical weapons power, has long-range missiles, may be developing biological weapons, and is seems to be seeking nuclear weapons to counter US capability to threaten and deter Iran, as well as to win influence over its neighbors. The US is seeking to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons and long-range missiles while simultaneously developing options to deter and defend against Iran if they should succeed.

Kathleen Hunter and Viola Gienger, “Iran Able to Block Strait of Hormuz, General Dempsey Says on CBS”. Bloomberg, January 9, 2012. Available at ,http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-01-08/iran-able-to-blockstrait-of-hormuz-general-dempsey-tells-cbs.html 4

“US Navy Commander: Iran's Words about Hormuz Strait "Keeps Me Awake at Night”, FARS News Agency, January 11, 2012. Available at http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.php?nn=9010170705 5

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A November 2011 report by the IAEA lists strong indicators that Iran has been moving towards a nuclear weapons capability since the mid-1980s. This seems to be a process that has been going on since the Iran-Iraq War, and that grew out of Khomeini’s decision to resume nuclear research once Iran came under chemical weapons attack from Iraq. IAEA and other reports show that Iran developed underground nuclear facilities that it initially attempted to keep covert, and expressed an active interest in nuclear warheads for its missiles. Reports also show that Iran is making advances in its centrifuge designs that can greatly increase their capacity as well as making it far easier for them to create small, dispersed sites that will be far harder to detect. Even if Iran agrees to IAEA inspections and is vulnerable to some form of preventive attack, its growing technology base will continue to create new options for concealing a nuclear weapons program and/or developing a break out capability. Iran also is a declared chemical weapons power, although it has never complied with the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), nor stated its holdings. It probably has the capability to manufacture persistent nerve gas. It could certainly put such gas in a unitary warhead and probably has some cluster weapon capability. Iran is a signatory to the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC), but there are no firm data to indicate whether it does or does not have an ongoing biological weapons program. It is clear, however, that Iran does have the capability to develop and produce advanced biological weapons – and could do so as either a supplement or substitute for nuclear weapons. Iran could acquire the ability to develop even more advanced genetically engineered biological weapons in within the next five years, roughly the same timeframe required to deploy a nuclear force. There is no inspection regime for the BWC, and US studies raise serious questions as to whether such a regime is even possible. Accordingly, even if Iran did fully comply with all IAEA requirements, it could still develop and produce weapons of mass destruction. Similarly, there is no enforceable way that a true WMD free zone can be established and enforced in the Middle East – or any other area with advanced biotechnology. Iran’s missile programs represent a critical part of its military efforts and expenditures. Iran is making major advances in its long-range missiles, including the development of solid fuel systems. Its longer-range missiles have not, however, been tested in ways that demonstrate the reliability and accuracy required to be effective against anything other than area targets, unless they are armed with a nuclear warhead. A chemical missile warhead would have such limited lethality that it would be more a weapon of terror rather than a true weapon of mass destruction. So far, the US has attempted to prevent Iran from building and deploying nuclear weapons through the use of sanction, and by developing military options for preventive strikes if negotiations fail. It also has taken step to deter and defend against Iran’s missile and nuclear programs by seeking to develop US and regional capabilities like missile defense, and by offering its allies “extended regional deterrence.” There is little evidence, however, that the US has yet been able to halt Iran’s nuclear program. The ways in which the Gulf states will respond to Iran’s efforts remain uncertain, but this is an area of US and Iranian competition where neither the US or Iran can ignore either 16


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the possibility that a state like Saudi Arabia will seek its own nuclear weapons or that Israel is not already involved in a nuclear and missile arms race with Iran. Like the US, Israel has examined military options for strikes on Iran that could delay or prevent it from acquiring nuclear weapons. Israel is also making major improvements to its missile defense programs. As is discussed later in this study, Israel currently has the capability to target Iran with nuclear-armed missiles, and is reported to be developing nuclear-armed cruise missiles for its Dolphin submarines. Israel has had French fission and fusion design and test data on nuclear weapons for decades. While Iran is still developing fission designs, Israel is probably targeting Iran with boosted and thermonuclear weapons. As a result, there is already an existential nuclear arms race in the region, although at present it is Iran and not Israel that is the target.

Differing National Perspectives As is the case with every other aspect of US and Iranian competition, military competition is shaped by differing US, Iranian, and third country perceptions and politics.

US Perceptions American policymakers and planners focus on the full spectrum of Iran’s military capabilities as they affect the entire region and statements and non-state actors outside it. They focus on the full range of Iran’s military actions and capabilities, and on the fact Iran plays a growing role outside the Gulf and Levant that the US and many of its other allies perceive as an additional threat. American planners focus on the fact that Iran has begun to compete with the US on a global basis. Iran’s actions range from interfering in the internal affairs of Morocco, to an antiAmerican political and propaganda alliance with the Chavez regime in Venezuela. At the same time, American policymakers and planners have repeatedly made it clear that Iran poses an asymmetric threat in the Gulf and to all of its neighbors, and that Iran poses a threat that could lead to a major crisis in Gulf petroleum exports and world oil markets. The US is now deeply involved in a de facto alliance with the Southern Gulf states to deal with these threats, as well as with Jordan and Egypt in finding ways to contain Iran and limit its ability to pose a security threat to Iraq. American policymakers and planners feel that Iran’s missile and potential nuclear weapons capabilities threaten the entire Gulf, many other MENA states, and Turkey. American policymakers see Iran’s missiles as a potential threat to Europe in any confrontation where it seeks to deter US military action. They have also made it clear that they feel Iran not only threatens Israel, but the Arab-Israeli peace process as well. The US must deal with the fact that Iran opposes the current Arab-Israeli peace negotiations and is probably unwilling to accept any broad Arab-Israeli peace settlement in the near future. Both President Bush and President Obama, and a number of senior US officials and officers, have made it clear that the US has developed military options for striking at Iran’s nuclear and missile programs. American leaders have also made it clear that they do not view military competition as inevitably leading to some form of warfighting, nor do they see the use of such military options as desirable. 17


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American policymakers – and most Europeans as well – currently act on the perception that the Iranian threat can best be dealt with using options like sanctions and negotiations, and by focusing more on diplomatic options, although American leaders make it clear that military options remain on the table. Key US military leaders like Admiral Mullen, General Petraeus, and General Dempsey have made it clear that they oppose any near-term Israeli strike on Iran, and see such actions as deeply destabilizing at a time when the US is still engaged in Iraq and Afghanistan, and is dealing with a broader struggle against violent Islamic extremists.

Iranian Perceptions Iran’s policymakers and planners see the US as the major threat to Iran and claim to see it as the most significant threat – followed by Israel – to the entire region. While their private views may be different and more nuanced, and Iran uses the “threat” posed by the US and Israel to justify a military buildup that is also directed at increasing its influence over its Arab neighbors and Turkey, key Iranian officers and leaders have described their military competition with the US as follows: 

“The sworn enemies of Islam and the Islamic Revolution have been united to take the opportunity of elections and try to counter the ideals of the Islamic establishment. We should remain vigilant to thwart the enemies’ plots.” –Heidar Moslehi, Iranian Intelligence Minister, February 8, 2012 http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.php?nn=9010174112

"We do not want war, but if a problem arises one day and His Holiness gives a signal, many people are ready to execute his orders... Israel has no easy sleep because of fearing Hezbollah." -Mohammad Mohammadi Golpayegani, the head of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei's Office, February 8, 2012. http://www.farsnews.com/newstext.php?nn=13901118000917

"Should the enemies desire to use the method and spirit of threats, we will naturally also threaten them . The (military) exercise by the armed forces of the Islamic Republic of Iran's Islamic Revolution, in fact, expresses the will to act against various types of threats that are targeting our national security." - Hossein Salami, Revolutionary Guards Deputy, February 7, 2012. http://www.farsnews.com/newstext.php?nn=13901118000917

“The Hamian-e Velayat [Supporters of Guardianship] war game is a response to the strong statements of the Supreme Leader at the Friday prayer and his strategy to counter regional and extra regional threats. The war game displayed the latest offensive and defensive doctrine of the Revolutionary Guards Ground Forces deploying 33rd Al-Mahdi airborne brigade." - Hossein Salami, Revolutionary Guards Deputy, February 7, 2012. http://www.farsnews.com/newstext.php?nn=13901116001165

“Syria's President Bashar al-Assad should be allowed some time to carry out his pledged reforms as the Syrian leader has taken considerable steps so far in this regard.” - Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi, February 2, 2012. http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.php?nn=9010173383

“Tens of radar and missile systems with various ranges have been manufactured and deployed in Iran's defense sector so far and new systems are on their way to join the defense network during the 10-Day Dawn celebrations, which began on February 1 to mark the 33th anniversary of the victory of the Islamic Revolution in Iran. Iran's scientific and technological progresses, which have irked the arrogant powers, come in the face of US-led sanctions.” - Farzad Esmayeeli, Commander of Khatam ol-Anbia Air Defense Base Brigadier General, February 2, 2012. http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.php?nn=9010173363

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“[T]he recent statements made by the US and the West about the Strait of Hormuz show that they are frightened by the awe of the (Islamic) Revolution, otherwise the Iranian nation considers the Strait of Hormuz as the strait of peace. However, the Iranian nation is determined to cut the hand of those who seek adventurism in the Persian Gulf, the Sea of Oman and the Strait of Hormuz." – Ali Larijani, Speaker of Iranian Parliament, February 1, 2012. http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.php?nn=9010173255

“Tehran will not remain indifferent to US mischief in the region if Washington tries to cause problems for regional countries. The Strait of Hormuz is a region of peace and Iran has protected its peace for centuries and will continue to do so in order to maintain calm in it,”-Ali Larijani, Speaker of Iranian Parliament, January 31, 2012. http://www.presstv.ir/detail/223919.html

"There are some geographic, historical, and social differences between the Muslim nations and there is no unitary role model for all Islamic countries. What is important is that they oppose the satanic Zionist and American dominance and don't tolerate the existence of the cancerous tumor of Israel..." -Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Supreme Leader of Iran, January 31, 2012. http://www.farsnews.com/newstext.php?nn=13901110001058

“Wherever there is an activity and plan beneficial to Israel and the United States, we must be vigilant and should consider that an alien [movement] contrary to the interests of the nations. Wherever there is an Islamic, anti-Zionist, anti-imperialist, anti-corruption movement, all Muslims will share the same opinion to approve and strengthen it..." -Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Supreme Leader of Iran, January 31, 2012. http://www.farsnews.com/newstext.php?nn=13901110001058

"The US has given a role to Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey to direct the regional developments in a way that they move towards these countries' interests in line with the US policies and opposite to Iran's policies. Owing to the fact that Iran's Islamic Revolution serves as a role model for the regional and world nations in their fight against the tyranny of their rulers and arrogant powers, the US and its allies are attempting to prevent Tehran's further political influence in the region.” - Major General Yahya Rahim Safavi, Senior Military Aide to the Supreme Leader, January 31, 2012. http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.php?nn=9010173133

"New home-made satellite carrier rockets, smart ammunition, aeronautic products, as well as new electronic and telecommunication devices will be unveiled. The laser system used in the munitions is able to track and identify targets and locate and assess their distance. The new munitions are suitable to target static and mobile targets with high precision strike.” - Brigadier General Ahmad Vahidi, Iranian Defense Minister, January 30, 2012. http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.php?nn=9010173037

“[The] enemies are trying to make up for the damages they have sustained due to popular uprisings in Egypt, Tunisia, Libya and other Islamic countries… The enemies are busy with designing plots and conspiracies, and Islamic nations--especially the youths of the Muslim Ummah (community) who are the engine of the Islamic Awakening--should not allow the global network of tyranny to hijack their revolutions….” -Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Supreme Leader of Iran, January 30, 2012. http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.php?nn=9010173033

“The U.N.'s chief nuclear inspector arrived in Iran on Sunday on a mission to clear up "outstanding substantive issues" on Tehran's atomic program, and called for dialogue with the Islamic state. We have always had a broad and close cooperation with the agency and we have always maintained transparency as one of our principles working with the agency.” –Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar, January 29, 2012. http://www.alarabiya.net/articles/2012/01/29/191187.html

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"An oil war with Iran will force Europe into its knees since Iran will not allow export of a single drop of oil. The Islamic Republic of Iran has the third largest oil reserves in the world and certainly cannot be excluded from the energy equation. Iranian Parliament seeks approval for a plan to stop oil exports to the European Union, a move that would paralyze Italy, Spain, and Greece.” -Seyed Emad Hosseini, Spokesman for Majlis Energy Commission, January 26, 2012. http://www.farsnews.com/newstext.php?nn=13901106000567

“Losing the European oil market will have an impact on Iran’s economy which needs rational planning by the authorities. Selling oil at sub-market level prices is not a good way to counter the oil embargo.” Mehdi Hosseini, former Oil Ministry international deputy, January 26, 2012. http://www.criticalthreats.org/iran-news-roundup/iran-news-round-january-26-2012

"The United States did not dare to direct its aircraft carrier through the Strait of Hormuz alone; this is why the carrier was "escorted" by military vessels of other nations. If the Strait is closed, the aircraft carriers will become the war booty of Iran." - Javad Karimi Qodousi, parliamentary National Security Committee member, January 24, 2012. http://www.isna.ir/ISNA/NewsView.aspx?ID=News-1935908&Lang=P

“We are fundamentally against interfering in the affairs of other countries. We think it does not solve the problems but will only make them more complicated. The good reforms which have been announced by Syrian officials are pushing the ambience towards dialogue and solving the problems, though some countries do not like this.” - Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ramin Mehman-Parast, January 23, 2012. http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.php?nn=9010171825

"This assassination [of Ahmadi-Roshan] shows the misery, desperation, and despicability of the enemies of Islam and the revolution. They claim to fight against terrorism, but are themselves the leader of terrorists and produce terrorists. This scandal and indecency of theirs knows no limit since they also talk about human rights... We saw that following this assassination there were 300 applicants to change their academic majors into studies related to nuclear energy. Following the martyrdom of one Ahmadi-Roshan, 300 other Ahmadi-Roshans grew... This assassination leads to increased resistance…” - Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati, temporary Tehran Friday prayer leader, January 23, 2012. http://www.farsnews.com/newstext.php?nn=13901030000414

“There is no decision to block and close the Strait of Hormuz unless Iran is threatened seriously and somebody wants to tighten the noose. All the options are on the table.” - Mohammad Khazaee, Iranian Ambassador to the United Nations, January 19, 2012. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-01-19/iran-s-un-envoy-says-closing-strait-of-hormuz-is-an-optionif-threatened.html

“The US is not in a position to affect Iran's decisions. Iran does not ask permission to implement its own defensive strategies." -Brigadier General Hossein Salami, Iranian Lieutenant Commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), January 17, 2012. http://www.farsnews.com/newstext.php?nn=13901030000414

"Our capability to provide security in the region, specially the Strait of Hormuz during sensitive times, will not experience any change due to the western warships' trafficking in the region." - Gholam Reza Karami, Iranian lawmaker and Chairman of the Parliamentary Defense Committee, January 16, 2012. http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.php?nn=9010171403

"Today the Islamic Republic of Iran has full domination over the region and controls all movements within it." - Navy Rear Admiral Ali Fadavi, Commander of Iran's Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), January 6, 2012. http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.php?nn=9007270592

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“Iran has total control over the strategic waterway. Closing the Strait of Hormuz is very easy for Iranian naval forces.” -Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari, Iran’s naval commander, December 28, 2011. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/29/world/middleeast/noise-level-rises-over-iran-threat-to-close-strait-ofhormuz.html?_r=2

“If they impose sanctions on Iran’s oil exports, then even one drop of oil cannot flow from the Strait of Hormuz.” - Mohammad-Reza Rahimi, Iran’s first vice president, December 27, 2011. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/28/world/middleeast/iran-threatens-to-block-oil-route-if-embargo-isimposed.html?pagewanted=all

“Closure of the Strait of Hormuz is not on the Islamic Republic of Iran's agenda (at present), but if threats against Iran come to trample upon the rights of our nation while others use the strait for exporting their oil, then Iran will be entitled to the right to close the Strait of Hormuz. The international conventions reserve such rights for the Islamic Republic of Iran as well. For the time being, the Islamic Republic of Iran has not decided to close the strait, but this (closing the strait) depends on the conditions of the region." Mohammad Taqi Rahbar, Iranian lawmaker, December 19, 2011. http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.php?nn=9007277986

"According to the international laws, including Paragraph 4 of Article 14 of the Geneva Convention, in case Iranian oil is sanctioned, we will not allow even a single barrel of oil to pass through to reach the hostile countries". -Isa Jafari, Senior Iranian lawmaker, December 18, 2011. http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.php?nn=9007277872

"Iran's military strategy is defensive in nature, while our tactics are offensive." – Brigadier General Hossein Salami, Lieutenant Commander of the IRGC, June 28, 2011.

"The hegemonic system and its regional supporters should know that as they could not isolate or weaken the Iranian nation and could not trample upon the Iranian nation's rights through their supports for (former Iraqi dictator) Saddam Hussein and the Baath party, they will not succeed in ignoring the inalienable rights of the Iranians through continuing their threat, sanctions and Iranophobia strategy and through their resort to lies and deceitful measures, use of an arrogant language, hegemony and bullying behavior." – Major General Gholam Ali Rashid, Deputy Head of the General Staff of Iran's Armed Forces

“When we study history we reach the absolute conclusion that the only nation that is fit for passing through the last curve leading to the promised point is the pious and revolutionary, dear Iranian nation; a nation that with its Islamic Revolution started this great historic mission." – Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, May 5, 2011.

"The new and young generation of the IRGC should be growingly higher and stronger (than the older generation) in knowledge, informedness, insight, dedication, correct and prompt accomplishment of tasks and duties, because although there is no military war happening today, a more delicate and of course more dangerous war is underway." – Iranian Supreme Leader Khamenei, July 4, 2011.

“It is the warmongering and interventionist American leaders who try to harm good relations between the countries of the region by designing false matters and creating divisions.” – Ahmad Vahidi, Iranian Minister of Defense, December 13, 2010.

“The US’ Iran ‘scenario’ is intended to create an excuse for its illegitimate presence and the sale of weapons in the region.” – Ahmad Vahidi, Iranian Minister of Defense, December 13, 2010.

"With the arrival of the British and later the Americans in the region, plots were hatched to try and change the name with fake identities... to distort the history and identity of the Persian Gulf." – Major General Hassan Firouzabadi, Chief of Staff of Iran’s armed forces, April 30, 2011.

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"Whenever there is a problem, they [US] take out their guns." – Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, April 11, 2010.

"As the Commander-in-Chief (Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei) has emphasized, our fingers should be kept on the trigger for deterrence." – Lieutenant Commander of the IRGC Ground Forces, General Abolqassem Foroutan, July 13, 2011.

“We must exploit the chaotic situation and accelerate the arming of the resistance groups in Palestine. Groups like HAMAS and Islamic Jihad should be armed with high-quality, modern weapons from Iranian production. In order to purposefully exert influence on the next Egyptian Government, we must support Shiite forces in the region and establish an anti-American axis.” – A report provided to Supreme Leader Khamenei by the Iranian National Council, April 20, 2011.

“The [P]GCC should not put the blame for the ongoing developments in Bahrain on Iran. The Islamic Republic seeks peace in the region. Iran's policy on Arab countries in the Persian Gulf has not changed and we still believe in good relations with these states. The Islamic Republic of Iran is the most influential country in the region which tightens regional security and has played a valuable role in defusing crisis and establishing security.” – Alaeddin Boroujerdi, head of the National Security and Foreign Policy Commission of the Iranian Parliament, April 17, 2011.

“The Persian Gulf has always, is and shall always belong to Iran.” – Major General Hassan Firouzabadi, Chief of Staff of Iran’s armed forces, April 30, 2011.

“Iranian forces are in complete control of the Strait of Hormuz and the Sea of Oman.” – Rear Admiral Ali Fadavi, commander of the IRGC navy, December 10, 2010.6

These Iranian statements, and others like them, do much to reveal the range of perceptions of Iranian leaders and military officers. They reflect Iran’s perception of itself as the major Gulf power, as a natural regional leader, and as a state with a special historical and religious mission and justification for its actions. Moreover, they show that Iran sees the US and the US’ regional allies as the principal threat to what Iran’s leaders and officers perceive is Iran’s right to emerge as the Gulf’s dominant state. These statements also track with Iranian military exercises and force developments that reflect the country’s perception that the US’ military presence in the Gulf is hostile and unacceptable. Iran’s focus on asymmetric doctrine in its military strategy illuminates what the country perceives as the primary threat to its regional influence and national security: the US 5th fleet and US military bases in the Gulf. Iran’s response to the overwhelming American hard power in the region has been to develop a range of asymmetric assets that focus on confronting superior US forces while avoiding frontal combat, and establishing the ability to close the Gulf in ways that would disrupt international petroleum shipments. Iran’s ballistic missile arsenal is another reflection of its threat perceptions, as it constitutes another dimension of Iran’s asymmetric response to the US’ presence in the region. Iranian military officials often boast openly of the country’s ability to strike at Israel and US bases in the Gulf with a range of missiles. 6

Quotes taken from a number of Iranian news sources such as Fars News, PressTV, the Tehran Times, and others. Also included are quotes from Western news outlets such as CNN, the New York Times, and the Washington Post.

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For example, the IRGC announced in February 2011 that it had developed an anti-ship ballistic missile, the Khalij Fars (“Persian Gulf”), which it claimed was capable of destroying US warships and commercial vessels.7 This announcement, and others like it, provides another reflection of Iran’s threat perceptions and strategic priorities. Iran’s focus on systems designed to counter superior US conventional forces is indicative that it perceives American – and other – foreign military power in the Gulf as an unacceptable threat to its national security and regional ambitions. As Iran has shaped its asymmetric assets, ballistic missile arsenal, and nuclear program as a deterrent to the US conventional advantage in the Gulf, it is clear that the American presence in the region is Iran’s principle concern. While Iran’s perception of the US is often openly negative and confrontational, Iran’s security approach to its Gulf neighbors was more nuanced following the end of the Iran-Iraq War in 1988 through roughly 2010, and Iran often used friendly rhetoric that invoked notions of Islamic brotherhood and regional solidarity. Yet, even when Iranian officials made conciliatory statements regarding their Gulf neighbors, they often did not refer to them as equals. For example, the Iranian Defense Minister was quoted as stating in September 2010 that: “There is no reason for regional countries to fear our weapons and military equipment… We have announced that whatever we have belongs to all regional nations, and we are even ready to supply… [Iranian-made weapons] to these countries.” 8

Such statements help reveal Iran’s regional aspirations and its perceptions of its Gulf neighbors. Iranian offers to share arms and military technology with neighboring countries have been a combination of political gestures, attempts to play a leadership role in the region, and attempts to provide a counterweight or regional alternative to US patronage. Regardless of its rhetoric at any given time, Iran has perceived its neighbors as competitors, not partners. These perceptions have been reinforced by the fact that Iran is a revolutionary Shi’ite state, while most of its neighbors are Sunni-dominated monarchies that have close ties to the US. Iran’s stance towards its neighbors has also steadily hardened in recent years. For example, the Chief of Staff of Iran’s armed forces – Major General Hassan Firouzabadi – articulated this perception clearly when referencing the GCC’s intervention in Bahrain’s 2011 unrest in a speech in April of 2011, Iran’s “National Day of the Persian Gulf:” "The Arab dictatorial regimes in the Persian Gulf are unable to contain the popular uprisings. Instead of trying and failing to open an unworkable front against Iran, these dictators should relinquish power, end their savage crimes and let the people determine their own future." 9

By the end of 2011, Iran was talking about closing the Gulf and making much more direct threats, Iran was found to be carrying out an assassination plot against the Saudi ambassador to the US in October 2011.

7

“Iran mass producing smart ballistic missiles: IRGC chief.” Tehran Times, February 8, 2011.

8

Defense Minister Says US Arms Sales to Regional States a Plot Aimed at Iran.” Islamic Republic News Agency. 22 Sept. ’10 9

“Gulf 'Belongs to Iran': Top Military Officer.” Associated Free Press. 30 April ‘11

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Arab and Turkish Perceptions As Figure III.2 shows, every aspect of this US and Iranian military competition involves a wide range of other players. In general, this competition favors Washington because of US ties to the Southern Gulf states, Turkey, other Arab states, and Israel. Iran has, however, created an informal military alliance with Syria and the Hezbollah in Lebanon, and is now actively competing for military influence in Iraq. The Southern Gulf states, most of the rest of the Arab world, Israel, and a number of other regional powers, perceive Iran as a current or potential threat. These perceptions differ by country in terms of risk, priority, and probability, evolving with changes in Iran’s behavior, military forces, and nuclear capabilities. There are further differences within given countries between the perceptions of leaders and national security elites and the perceptions of the public and media. Many Arab countries and Turkey have their own versions of hawks and doves in the way they view Iran as a potential threat. Such internal debates do, however, have to be kept in perspective. While the current political upheavals in the Arab world may change past alignments, it is the perceptions of national intelligence services, military planners, and top-level decision makers that usually shape national policy. These constituencies generally see Iran as a threat and the US as an ally. In the past, Arab leaders have been cautious about publicly referring to Iran as a threat, even though they acknowledge it in private. Many Gulf leaders, military officials, and intelligence experts – as WikiLeaks’ release of various diplomatic cables make clear – have come to view Iran as a steadily growing threat. Gulf leaders not only view Iran’s nuclear and missile capabilities as a threat, but they are also much more sensitive to the asymmetric threats that Iran poses to their territory and petroleum exports than most US policymakers and national security analysts. These concerns have become far more public in the course of 2011. US and Gulf leaders, military officials, and intelligence experts share a common concern over Iran’s growing ability to use specialized asymmetric forces like the Al Qods Force as well as key elements of the IRGC. Arab concerns have been has been reinforced by events in Bahrain, and many in the Gulf feel that Iran has supported the Houthi rebels in Yemen and is seeking dominant influence in Iraq. The US revelation of a plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to the US that is linked to Iran’s Al Qods Force in October of 2011 has made such concerns even more serious. This raises problems for every Arab Gulf state with a Shi’ite majority, as well as increases the risk of broader tension and clashes between Shi’ites and Sunnis throughout the Muslim world. Turkey – which plays a critical role in dealing with Iran, Syria, and Iraq – is still careful to avoid direct confrontation with Iran. It does, however, have major military forces in eastern Turkey, plays a growing role in seeking to stabilize Iraq, and is considering missile defenses. It is also playing a growing role in seeking political reform and change in Syria – actions which would limit Iran’s military links to Syria and Lebanon – and possibly affect Iranian influence in Iraq.

Israeli perceptions As later chapters discuss in detail, Israel sees its military competition with Iran from a different perspective. Many Israelis see Iran as an emerging “existential” threat because of Iran’s longrange missiles and nuclear program. Israelis have a more narrow view of Iran as an asymmetric 24


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threat, and focus on Iranian actions like supporting Hezbollah in Lebanon and arming Hamas in Gaza. While Israel does have its own version of hawks and doves, nearly all Israelis broadly that Iran should be prevented from acquiring nuclear weapons, and many feel that such prevention is so important that it could justify Israeli or US military strikes on Iran. Israeli officials and officers see missile defense as a key option and there is almost no public opposition (or discussion of any kind) of the role that Israel’s undeclared nuclear forces play in deterring or potentially striking Iran. In contrast, US, European, Gulf, and Turkish threat perceptions focus more on the broader range of Iranian threats outlined in Figure III.2. These perceptions include the threats posed by Iran’s ties to Syria, closer relations with Turkey, its role in Afghanistan, and its broader role in Central Asia. Arab states like Egypt and Jordan have expressed their concern over the potential threat posed by Iran’s relations with Syria and the creation of a “Shi’ite crescent” that includes Lebanon and could come to include Iraq.

Perceptions of the “War of Sanctions” Finally, American, European, Gulf, Turkish, Israeli, Russian, Chinese, and other national threat perceptions cannot be decoupled from the “war of sanctions” between Iran and the US and Iran’s diplomatic offensive in the UN – throughout the world – to block sanctions and win acceptance for its declared nuclear programs. This struggle is described in detail in a later Chapter, and includes Iran’s efforts to use energy and other investment opportunities to win influence over China and Russia, as well as obtain imports of advanced arms from both countries. While Israel, the US, and the Gulf may perceive destabilizing arms sales and technology transfers to Iran in somewhat different ways, they all perceive such sales and transfers as a threat.

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Iran: Threat or “Competitor”

Figure III.2: Assessing the Full Range of Iranian Competition and Threats

Non-Military Competition · Ideology, religion, and political systems · “Terrorism” and violent extremism vs. “counterterrorism” · Energy, sanctions, and global economic impacts · Arms control, arms exports, and arms imports · International diplomac y Military Com petition · Weapons of mass destruction · Conventional forces · Asymmetric and irregular warfare · Proxy use of state and non state actors · Threat and intimidation

Nations and Sub -Regions of Competition · Gulf Cooperation Council countries · Yemen · Iraq · Jordan · Syria · Lebanon · Israel · Gaza and West Bank · Morocco · Pakistan · Turkey · Afghanistan · Central Asia · Europe · Russia · China · Japan and Asia · Venezuela, Cuba, Brazil, Argentina

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Key Uncertainties in Assessing the Details of US and Iranian Military Competition There are a wide range of useful data that provide insights into the details of US and Iranian military competition, and the role of Arab states and Israel, but it is important to keep unclassified sources in perspective. Estimates and perceptions of the data on Iran’s conventional forces and asymmetric warfare capabilities are generally broadly accurate, but this level of confidence only affects estimates of force size and key manpower and equipment numbers. Iran’s intentions in building up such forces are far from clear, as are its intentions on using them. Iran often uses hardline rhetoric in threatening the use of such forces or describing their exercises, but this may be little more than a deterrent or threatening propaganda. Other Iranian activity, like the use of its Al Qods Force, Revolutionary Guards, and intelligence branches in aiding non-state actors or conducting operations in countries like Iraq is more covert and harder to assess. The US and Saudi Arabia, for example did not agree on the level of Iranian support of the Houthi rebels. There are disagreements on the level of Iranian covert activity in supporting dissidents in Bahrain, and experts disagree on some of the details of the role of the Al Qods Force, Sevak, and other elements of Iranian action in supporting Sadrist militias and hardline Shi’ite splinter groups, as well as covert support of AQIM for spoiler purposes. Gulf and Israel policymakers are also somewhat more concerned of the risk of a “Shi’ite crescent” including Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon that their US and European counterparts.

Uncertainties Affecting Nuclear and Missile Programs The differences between experts and in national perspectives are particularly important in the case of perceptions of Iran’s nuclear weapons program. In spite of steadily more detailed reporting – such as the IAEA report issued in November of 2011 – data are lacking on many aspects of Iran’s current nuclear and missile efforts, and experts are forced to speculate. The military annexes to the November 2011 IAEA report indicate that Iran has made major progress in assembling all the technologies and manufacturing skills necessary to design a fission warhead small enough to mount on a missile and test it through simulated explosive testing than has previously been publically reported There are still experts, however, who question whether Iran is seeking nuclear weapons. There is no consensus over how soon it will be able to get the weapons-grade fissile material it needs or then advance to the point where it can able deploy nuclear bombs and missile warheads. There are broad uncertainties over how many nuclear facilities Iran really has and how far it has gotten in producing more advanced centrifuges like the IR-2 and IR-4. Some experts estimate that even the IR-2 could be far more reliable and have some six times the output of the IR-1, making it far easier to disperse and conceal. The IR-4 would presumably be even more efficient, allowing Iran to conceal enrichment activity in smaller spaces and disperse such activity at much lower cost. Other uncertainties exist over its reactor project in Arak and whether it will seek more power reactors in ways that might affect its future weapons production capabilities. “Guesstimates” are notoriously unreliable – particularly in their worst-case form. As yet, there are only limited unclassified data on the size and nature of any Iranian plans to deploy a nuclear-armed force; what role aircraft and various types of missile will play; how such a force will be based; and what kinds of command, control, computer, communications, and 27


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intelligence (C4I) systems Iran intends to deploy. It is clear that Iran has modified the warhead of its Shahab 3 in ways that would make it easier to mount a nuclear weapon, and that Iran is constantly testing variants of its existing missiles and claiming it is producing new types, as well as using alleged satellite launches as a vehicle for research and development into ballistic missile technology. It may be shifting from liquid-fueled missiles to solid-fuel types, and it keeps changing warhead configurations.

Uncertainties Affecting Regime Stability and Regime Change There is no consensus among US, European, Gulf, or Israeli experts as to the level of political instability in Iran, how close it might be to some form of regime change, and how this affects the Iranian threat. There are advocates of the position that Iran faces massive popular discontent and advocates that the regime has reestablished secure control. Officials and intelligence experts in the US, Europe, Gulf states, Turkey, and Israel rarely seem to adopt either extreme. They do differ on how vulnerable Iran is to outside efforts at regime change. Few, however, seem to believe any major regime change is now likely or that sanctions are now likely to create public pressures that will halt Iran’s nuclear efforts or fundamentally alter its relations with Israel, the US, or its neighbors. The broad consensus that talking about Iran as if it had one unified and detailed set of policies, goals, and plans is misleading. There also seems to be some degree of agreement that Iran’s constant denials that it is seeking nuclear or other weapons of mass destruction and refusals to cooperate with the UN and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) are efforts to disguise Iran’s nuclear programs. Some of these differences have become public in debates over how to confront Israel and the US, the past details on Iran’s negotiating positions, and how Iran should deal with internal and external threats. There also seems to be an expert consensus that rivalries between Iran’s leaders, its Revolutionary Guards and other Iranian political forces, and between the various elements of its military and security forces involve at least some differences over how Iran should shape almost every aspect of its military development and use of force. Accordingly, it is scarcely surprising that experts and decision makers in the US and Israel – as well as each of the Gulf states, and key actors like Britain, France, Germany, China, and Russia – all have experts that perceive the threat from Iran in very different ways. No one can attend a range of international conferences on Iran without discovering that every country has officials, officers, and intelligence officers that take contrasting pessimistic and optimistic views of Iran. All have experts that disagree in detail over Iran’s current threat and the threats that might emerge in the future.

Uncertainties Affecting the View of Different National Officials, Military Officers, and Intelligence Experts There is little point in trying to catalog just how different the views of US, European, Gulf, and Israeli officials and intelligence experts really are because so many of the details are sensitive and classified. The views of given actors keep changing and evolving, and it is clear that there is no singular view of the threat. Sources like WikiLeaks also show that few Gulf and Arab governments are as transparent in discussing national security issues as Western states, and – as 28


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WikiLeaks has made all too clear – Arab leaders often talk as if Iran were a friend in public while describing it as a threat in private. Moreover, questions do arise over the unity of Iran’s leaders and the relative role of key figures like its President and Supreme leader in shaping its military policies and force development. While the statements of its senior military officers in both its regular forces and the IRGC are relatively consistent, they are focused largely on external audiences and it is not clear whether they agree on any overall strategy, plans for force development, or operational plans. Iranian exercises do seem to have a significant degree of operational consistency, but they are anything but transparent. While it is possible to speculate about such power relationships and differences, too few data exist to really make meaningful judgments.

Competition in Conventional Military Forces The numbers and data are clearest in the counts of conventional forces and major weapons systems. The competition in conventional forces favors the US and its regional friends and allies, although – as is discussed in a later chapter – Iraq’s lack of major conventional weapons make it a notable exception. The US and Southern Gulf states not only have larger and far more modern conventional forces, but there is little prospect that Iran can begin to catch up in the near and mid-term. It should be noted, however, that it is far harder for the US to exploit this advantage if Iran can present the threat of nuclear escalation or a nuclear crisis, or if Iran’s total mix of conventional and asymmetric forces are taken into consideration.

The Trends in the Conventional Balance Iran has been unable to compete in total military spending and importing advanced modern arms on the scale required to shift the balance. In spite of constant propaganda claims to the contrary, Iran has as yet been unable to create national defense industries that can produce the range of systems required. This is clear in the Iranian and other Gulf conventional military forces shown in Figure III.4 to Figure III.13 These figures show that Iran’s conventional capabilities are limited relative to those of the southern Gulf states, and would be even more limited if it was possible to quantify the level of forces the US would deploy in a given contingency, but they can hardly be ignored. It is also important to realize that the air- surface-to-air, and naval aspects of these data are almost certainly the most important data in any case other than an Iranian attack into Iran. In spite of some extraordinarily silly war scares during the US occupation of Iraq – and ones that led Iran to massive land defense exercises to prepare for a US invasion – the US never made even minimal practical preparations for such an attack which it was in Iraq. It now has no combat forces in Iraq, and limited ground forces equivalent to roughly two combat brigades in the rest of the Gulf. It does not have the forces, logistical base, or support capabilities to invade Iran from Afghanistan – a scenario that makes no geographic sense in any case. Iran does have offensive land capability against Iraq, although it would lose air cover within days if Iraq appealed to the US and become highly vulnerable to air and cruise missile strikes against key Iranian military and strategic targets almost immediately. Iran might seek to attack though Iraq and Kuwait into the Upper Gulf, but would face an immediate response from the US, the GCC, Britain, and France and would have to fight its way into and through Iraq in the face of massive US and GCC air superiority using ground forces designed for defensive operations on 29


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Iranian soil rather than offensives of any length. While Iran does have the ability to conduct amphibious, sea, and helicopter raids, it does not have the lift to move large forces any significant distance and particularly across the Gulf. Any major amphibious effort that was not totally permissive in crossing the Gulf and entering a Southern Gulf nation would be little more than suicidal in the face of US and GCC naval and air forces.

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Figure III.3: Comparative Spending on Military Forces and Arms Sales – Part One: Military Spending

* Source: Adapted from the IISS, Military Balance, 2011; and the Jane’s Sentinel series

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Figure III.3: Comparative Spending on Military Forces and Arms Sales – Part Two: Arms Transfers Arms Agreements (in Current $US Millions)

Arms Deliveries (in Current $US Millions)

. ** 0 = Data less than $50 million or nil. All data rounded to the nearest $100 million.

Source: Adapted from Richard F. Grimmett, Conventional Arms Transfers to the Developing Nations, 2003-201, Congressional Research Service, R42017, September 22, 2011 pp. 44, and 58.

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The Limits to Iran’s Air Power Air power is probably the key to conventional combat in the Gulf region and any purely conventional, large-scale US/GCC engagement with Iran – although such a struggle would probably involve significant naval elements and be an air-sea battle. Figures III.4 and III.5 show that Iran lags badly behind the Gulf states in modernizing its air forces. Iran’s most advanced fighters consist of a small number of export versions of the Su-24 and MiG-29, whose avionics lag far behind their Russian counterparts. These limits to Iran’s air force are particularly important as Iran has air bases that are only a few minutes flight time from critical targets in the Gulf and in the coastal areas of the southern Gulf states. They are also important because Iran’s weaknesses in air-to-air combat, and its weaknesses in surface-to-air missile defense which are described shortly, leave it highly vulnerable to any US or US and Gulf attack and vulnerable to a major preventive strike by Israel. The Uncertainties Affecting Iran’s Air Capabilities There are some important aspects of Iran’s air capabilities that cannot be estimated on the basis of unclassified reporting. Taken at face value, Iran’s air force is something of a military museum. It is a tribute to Iran’s airmen that it can keep so many of its US-supplied and older Russian and Chinese aircraft flying, but none of the Western-supplied aircraft in Iran’s inventory have been modernized by the US since the fall of the Shah. This is a critical shortcoming since their US-flown counterparts – especially the 44 F-14s and 65 F-4D aircraft still in Iranian service – went through a long series of Multi-Stage Improvement Programs (MSIPs) to correct design problems, improve flight performance and sortie generation capability, and modernize their avionics and radars for air-to-air and air-to-ground/sea operations. Similarly, it is unclear that Russia ever systematically modernized Iran’s early export versions of the 30 Su-24 and 35 MiG-29 – which lack the radar and avionics performance of their counterparts in Russian service. Iran claims to have modernized the avionics on some of these aircraft, and to have adapted its F14s to carry the Hawk air-to-surface missile as a long-range air-to-air missile to compensate for the fact its F-14s were sabotaged during the fall of the Shah and cannot make effective use of Phoenix missiles – which in any case are long beyond their useful life. It also claims to have created electronic warfare aircraft and to have modernized the avionics on its 3 PF-3 Orion maritime patrol aircraft – which are as close to an AWACs/airborne warning and control aircraft as Iran has. It also has claimed to have a mix of unmanned combat aerial vehicles (UCAVs and UAVs) it can use to make up for some of the limitation in its aircraft. Iran has developed significant software skills and does produce some competent electronic warfare equipment. It is highly uncertain, however, that Iran can produce anything like the integrated capabilities necessary to systematically modernize its aircraft, and make them competitive in either munitions delivery or electronic warfare. It is also unclear that Iran has anything like the test facilities to determine how effective its modifications would be against US air forces and ships, and a properly trained modern Southern Gulf air force. There is no way to make such estimates without access to classified electronic order of battle and exercise data. Moreover, one reason that Arab air forces have lost so decisively to Israel in past wars is that they could not generate anything like the surge sortie numbers, and sustain sortie numbers, that 33


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Israel could. Numbers of aircraft are never the critical measure of air strength. The issue is how many are operational at the start of a conflict, how well aircraft can be repaired or made ready in combat, and how many sorties can be generated over time. Iran developed extensive illegal purchasing networks during the Iran-Iraq War and has maintained them ever since. It has kept many of its aircraft flying, although it is unclear that it can fly more than 60% of its 297-312 remaining combat aircraft at any given time. There is no way on the basis of unclassified data to estimate its sortie generation rate over time, and it is unclear that Iran has ever stressed its air force to find out the answer. It does seem likely that its sorties generation rate would be a fraction over time of the rate the US or the better Southern Gulf air forces could generate. Iran’s Problems in a Significant Air War No one can predict the way in which any air combat might emerge between Iran, the US, and its Arab numbers, but some factors do seem likely – given the limits to the unclassified data now available: 

Iran would need weeks of strategic warning to surges its air force to defensive readiness or conduct a major combat operation.

Iran’s sortie rate will drop even more precipitously now than it did at the beginning of the Iran-Iraq War – a factor that crippled it in competing with an incompetent and terribly led Iraqi Air Force.

Iran could carry out a series of surprise strikes against Southern Gulf and Iraq targets, but not sustain either a long, intense air offense or a long, intense air defense screen.

Iran lacks the air strength to defend the entire country, although enough warning capability will probably survive attack and suppression to provide some coverage of its coast and western border, and its defense capabilities will improve with the depth of enemy penetration into Iranian air space.

Iran will face serious limits in electronic warfare and countering jamming and electronic intelligence (ELINT) operations from any US or US-led force.

Iran’s limited air control and warning environment will be vulnerable to jamming, spoofing, and a variety of anti-radiation weapons.

Iran will have a major disadvantage in air-to-air missile combat and especially in beyond visual range airto-air combat.

Iran will not be able to penetrate into a properly maintain US or Southern Gulf air defense net in which anything like an AWACs-controlled air defense screen is present.

Iran will be vulnerable to stealth systems like the B-2 and F-22, and the F-35 as it deploys. It will have very limited air to air defense capability against well-planned, well flown low altitude missions flown by cruise missiles, the B-1, and modern US and Southern Gulf strike fighters – with the possible exception of point defenses using its Russian supplied short-range TOR-M1 surface-to-air missiles.

Iran will have problems in using its anti-ship and any other cruise missiles requiring a remote target system or airborne radar, and UCAVs/UAVs if US forces are present with modern electronic warfare and jamming capabilities, and in operating its maritime and intelligence aircraft both in the face of jamming and the treat from fighters.

Iran would have serious problems in screening its critical targets. These not only include its nuclear facilities, but its missile facilities, major production facilities, refineries and fuel storage and distribution system, electrical grid, water purification facilities, and other key targets. A precision strategic bombing campaign could cripple much of Iran’s economy and military production capability in a matter of days.

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Iran could engage in raids and limited air efforts, but would probably lose the ability to operate aircraft in numbers over the Gulf and southern Iran in a matter of days. It could not use its air force in numbers in sustained, survivable sorties to defend its ports, larger surface ships, or southern bases.

It should be stressed, however, that these comments apply to sustained levels of combat over time where the US is present or Southern Gulf air forces are prepared, properly trained, and made interoperable by either US support or reforms that are still very much a matter of discussion rather than implementation. Iranian Claims to Air Modernization and Combat Capability Iran’s officers have also made very different claims. Moreover, Iran has sought more modern fighters from Russia, but past reports of sales have never materialized. As a result, Iran has sought to develop its own fighters, the most notable of which are the Saeqeh (“Thunderbolt”) and the Azarakhsh (“Lightning”), both of which are based on the Northrop F-5. Iran also has made many claims to have modernized its fighters and their systems and munitions, although many such claims are clearly exaggerated: 

“Sukhoi fighter jet has been optimized by the Army Air Force experts and now has the capability to hit and destroy targets with high precision in absolute darkness.” – General Seyed Mohammed Alavi, Lieutenant Commander of the Iranian Air Force for Operations, April 25, 2011.

“The production of hi-tech and advanced military tools, weapons and equipments [sic] displays Iran's might and power and proves that sanctions against the country have been futile. Iran has recently made good progress in the air industry and has succeeded in gaining the technical knowhow for producing stealth aircraft and drones.” – Brigadier General Ahmad Vahidi, Iranian Minister of Defense, October 7, 2011.

"Now the Islamic Republic of Iran is not only independent in the area of defense industries production, but also exports strategic defensive items.” – General Mostafa Mohammad Najjar, Iranian Defense Minister Brigadier, February 6, 2006.

"One of the most important actions taken in these drills was increasing the range of the anti-radar missiles mounted on Sukhoi-24 fighters… they hit the specified targets successfully. The missiles enjoy a 100-percent precision capability, meaning that they can hit any target with a zero margin of error." – Brigadier General Hossein Chitforoush, Iranian Air Force Lieutenant Commander, September 15, 2011

"The squadron is the first fighter squadron equipped with fighters [Saeqeh] and equipments made inside the country. The squadron is capable of detecting and confronting aggressive aircraft and enemy fighters." – General Seyed Mohammad Allavi, Lieutenant Commander of Army's Air Force for Operations, February 25, 2011.

"By mass-production of home-made Saeqeh fighters, we move past all the gorges of designing and building of this fighter and we will strive to use more high-tech and updated models in our fleet in the future." – Brigadier General Hassan Shahsafi, Iranian Air Force Commander, September 9, 2009. 10

The US, the Southern Gulf Problem, and Iran’s Capability for Air Combat Although Iran’s air assets have aged considerably in comparison with those of its steadily modernizing Gulf neighbors, the Southern Gulf states do have some special vulnerabilities. They 10

Quotes taken from a number of Iranian news sources such as Fars News, PressTV, the Tehran Times, and others. Also included are quotes from Western news outlets such as CNN, the New York Times, and the Washington Post.

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are dependent on critical infrastructure such as desalination facilities. Most are comparatively small countries and lack the same strategic depth that Iran possesses, they are vulnerable to Iran’s large force holdings and selective attacks that aim to cripple their critical infrastructure and coastal facilities. Furthermore, while the air forces of the member states of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) are more advanced than Iran’s, they are not necessarily a decisive factor in a conflict with Iran: the forces of the Gulf states need improved interoperability, specialization, and orientation around key missions. Additionally, while the GCC has the potential to serve as a unified military presence in the region, it now lacks effective unity of effort in war fighting, deterrence, and development terms. The Gulf Cooperation Council recognized the need for improvements in these areas during their December 2011 Ministerial meeting and has made improvements a key priority. It will, however, at best take several years for the GCC to act, and it has issued the right words before. If rhetoric were reality, virtually every nation in the world would be a superpower. Much now depends on the extent to which all of the Gulf states would cooperate effectively with the US. The US cannot fight a modern air war using carriers and ship-based cruise missile alone – although these provide extremely powerful strike and defense capabilities for more limited engagements in the Gulf area. It would take a full range of US-enablers like the E-3C AWACs, electronic intelligence and warfare aircraft, land-based air defense and strike fighters, refuelers, and support/arming/recovery bases to fight such a conflict.

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Figure III.4: Total Gulf Holdings of Combat Aircraft in 2011 Fixed Wing Combat Aircraft 400 349

339

350 300 250

184

200 150 100

79 50

39

50

54 18

6 0 Iran

Iraq

Saudi Bahrain Kuwait

Oman

Qatar

UAE

Yemen

Note: Only armed or combat-capable aircraft are counted, not trainers, recce or other aircraft. Iraq has 6 Cessna AC208Bs fulfilling dual recce and attack roles. Armed and Attack Helicopters 90

83

83

78

80 70 60 50 39

40

32

30

22

25 16

20

8

10 0 Iran

Iraq

Saudi

Bahrain Kuwait

Oman

Qatar

UAE

Yemen

Source: Adapted from IISS, The Military Balance, Periscope, JCSS, Middle East Military Balance, Jane’s Sentinel and Jane’s Defense Weekly. Some data adjusted or estimated by the author

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Figure III.5: Comparative Modern Iranian and Gulf Air Forces

Source: Adapted from the IISS, Military Balance, 2011; and the Jane’s Sentinel series.

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Figure III.6: Gulf Reconnaissance and AWACS Aircraft in 2011

* These figures show that that Saudi Arabia has a monopoly of airborne warning and control systems, and that its AWACS aircraft give it a major advantage in battle management, some forms of intelligence collection and air force maritime patrol capability. They also reflect the limited emphasis on reconnaissance aircraft capability in the Gulf region, and the limitations to situation awareness and targeting. While Iraq has growing holdings, their impact and mission integration are more geared towards internal security and support for COIN operations. The problems for the southern Gulf States will, however, be of limited importance if they operate in a coalition with the US. Source: Adapted from IISS, The Military Balance, Periscope, JCSS, Middle East Military Balance, Jane’s Sentinel and Jane’s Defense Weekly. Some data adjusted or estimated by the author.

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Ground-Based Air Defenses Iran faces many of the same problems in its land-based air defense forces that it does in its air force. Figure III.7 shows that Iran has extensive surface-to-air missile assets, but most are obsolete or obsolescent. Iran’s systems are poorly netted, have significant gaps and problems in their radar and sensor coverage and modernization, and a number of its systems are vulnerable to electronic warfare. The Limits to Iran’s Surface-Based Air Defenses Iran did not have functioning, integrated land-based air defense system at the time the Shah fell. It had much of the sensors and command and control systems for a medium to high-altitude system, but not the software and technical support necessary to make the system function. It has since put together many of the elements of such a system using Russian, Chinese, US, European, and Iranian-designed and made equipment, but Iran does not have the design and manufacturing capability to create truly modern system, one that is immune to electronic warfare, and one that can function without become tactically vulnerable to anti-radiation weapons and other forms of active “suppression of enemy air defense” (SEAD) systems. Iran has a titular holding of 150 IHawk systems and claims to be able to produce its own missiles. It is not clear from unclassified sources how many of the improvements US has made to IHawk in its MSIP and other programs over the years have leaked into Iranian hands, although it is clear that Iran has conducted a major covert espionage and purchasing effort. This is particularly critical because the Hawk is a US-made system and one where the US has unique knowledge of its vulnerabilities over any given generation. While it can be a highly capable system if fully modernized, it has limits even then. As an uncertain mix of technical upgrades, it is far less capable. It is equally unclear how much Iran has modernized its various holdings of 45 SA-7 medium to high altitude, 10 SA-5 long-range medium to high altitude, and Chinese-supplied SA-2 clone systems. Certainly, these systems cannot be disregarded, and they have been modernized by other countries to some degree. These systems, however, are ancient in technology terms, and countermeasures to the basic design and a number of upgrades were developed by the time of the Vietnam War. Pop-up emitter and remote sensor tactics can help, but such systems are inherently far more vulnerable than IHawk, particularly when they are not part of a layered, integrated system with a low-altitude surface-to-air missile like the SA-3 and mobile systems of the SA-6 system and it many far more capable Russian successors. Iran has shown in its exercises that it has developed a netted mix of radars and linked them to its air force and surface-to-air missile units, but it is unclear how survivable and electronic warfareresistant these systems are. It has modernized its tactics and paid close attention to the lesson of the Vietnam War, Balkans conflict, Iraq War and other uses of land-based defenses. At best, however, Iran cannot compensate for the age and gaps in its systems, their lack of real-world missile defense capability, and having to create a patchwork system without the benefit of the technology base of a modern power, and the combat experience of states that have used such systems in the last decade. Moreover, at least some unclassified exercise reporting indicates that Iran lacks effective test and evaluation methods and has politicized its technology to the point it sometimes believes its own 40


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rhetoric. This is sin common to all military powers, but there are signs that Iran sins more than most. The Struggle to Modernize Iran’s Surface to Air Missile Defenses Once again, Russia is Iran’s only current potential source of the modern long-range surface-to-air weapons Iran needs, and it would take major deliveries of a new integrated air defense system based around the S-300 or S-400 surface-to-air missiles to change this situation. Iran has augmented its largely obsolescent holdings of modern short-range air defense (SHORAD) systems through the acquisition of some 29-32 operational Tor-M1 (SA-15 Gauntlet) and Pantsyr S-1E (SA-22 Greyhound). Russia rejected the idea of deliveries of modern S-300PMU1 (SA-20 Gargoyle) long range SAMs in 2010, although a future shift in Russian policy represents a potential risk. Iran has claimed it is building its own S-300 equivalents, but such claims seem to be sharply exaggerated:11 

"Manufacturing Bavar (Belief) 373 Missile System is in progress and all production needs have been supplied domestically. This project will soon enter its final stage (of production) and it will be much more advanced than the S300 missile system. The flaws and defects of the (Russian) S-300 system have been removed in the indigenous version of the system and its conceptual designing has finished.” – Brigadier General Farzad Esmayeeli, Commander of Khatam ol-Anbia Air Defense Base, September 22, 2011.

"It is now several years that our defense industries researchers and experts have been designing a system whose capabilities are way beyond the S-300 missile system. The system has been designed based on our own operational needs." – Colonel Mohammad Hossein Shamkhali, Deputy Commander of Khatam ol-Anbia Air Defense Base for Research and Self-Sufficiency Jihad, September 22, 2011.

"If they do not deliver S-300 defensive system to us, we have replacements and we can supply our operational requirements through innovative techniques and different designs." – General Hassan Mansourian, Deputy Commander of Khatam ol-Anbia Air Defense Base for Coordination, July 6, 2010.12

The US, the Southern Gulf Problem and Iran’s Capability for Land-based Air Defense Once again, no one can predict the way in which Iran’s surface-to-air missile defenses would affect air combat that might emerge between Iran, the US, and its Arab numbers, but some factors seem likely – given the limits to the unclassified data now available: 

Much of Iran’s surface-to-air missile defense system is dependent on fire units and sensors that cannot be moved without disrupting the integration of the system, and which become vulnerable in near real time the moment it emits.

Physically attacking the entire system would be difficult, but attacking given links and areas to create a corridor to penetrate deep into Iran would not be a major challenge.

11

“Kremlin Bans Sale of S-300 Missiles to Iran.” BBC. September 22, 2010. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/worldeurope-11388680 12

Quotes taken from a number of Iranian news sources such as Fars News, PressTV, the Tehran Times, and others. Also included are quotes from Western news outlets such as CNN, the New York Times, and the Washington Post.

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No matter how much progress Iran has made, it will be vulnerable to a mix of US targeting capabilities, and electronic warfare and suppression methods.

Iran is a big country and has poor low altitude coverage of many areas. Many US fighters and the B-1 – as well as southern Gulf and Israeli strike fighters – could penetrate deeply and sometimes to stand-off air-tosurface missile range against a variety of Iranian targets.

While Israel might be fuel-refueling limited in flying complex penetration corridors from unpredictable routes, the US would face less serious problems.

Iran would have serious problems in trying to operate both air defense aircraft and surface-based missiles in the same areas in an environment where the US used its full attack and electronic warfare capabilities.

Many US capabilities are transferrable to southern Gulf fighters and air forces in the form of anti-radiation missiles, electronic warfare pods, and to the Saudi AWACS.

US cruise missiles, F-22 fighters, and B-2 bombers could penetrate most Iranian defenses, and the F-35 will soon add to that capability.

Once Iran’s air defenses were suppressed, the US and Southern Gulf air forces would have considerable freedom to restrike Iran at any time. Iran could try to deploy covert replacements, but would face serious problems in terms of UAV and satellite dictation and would still be vulnerable to any SEAD technique that worked in the initial US and/or Southern Gulf SEAD attacks.

It should again be stressed that these comments apply to sustained levels of combat over time where the US is present or Southern Gulf air forces are prepared, properly trained, and made interoperable by either US support or reforms that are still very much a matter of discussion rather than implementation. The Southern Gulf Problem and Surface-to-Air Missile Defense Figure III.7 shows Saudi Arabia and the smaller Southern Gulf states have a wide mix of far more modern surface-to-air missile assets than Iran, including upgraded IHawks, advanced versions of the Patriot with some missile defense capability, and more modern short-range systems than any Iranian system other than Iran’s 27-32 operational Tor-M1s. These systems are considerably more capable than most of Iran’s holdings, but many have been deployed in ways that offer limited interoperability with other Gulf states. Their effectiveness is also limited in some cases by a lack of effective long-range sensors, battle management systems training and readiness, and strategic depth. Once again, however, that the Southern Gulf states stressed the need for more coordination and interoperability in these areas of military cooperation at the Gulf Cooperation Council meeting in December 2011. Moreover, the forces shown in Figure III.7 – and all of Figures III.3 to III.13 - do not include the massive air, surface-to-air missile, and ballistic missile defense forces the US could deploy. They also do not take account of the US ability to provide the GCC states and Iraq with IS&R, maritime surveillance, air control and warning, and missile defense data and command and control capabilities. In practice, this could give combination of Gulf and US forces a decisive advantage, and one the US could reinforce with land-based surface-to-air and missile defense systems of its own and missile defense cruisers. This does, however, require both Southern Gulf willingness to call for such support, and much would depend on warning time and the quality and realism of contingency planning, simulations, and at least command post exercises. 42


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Figure III.7: Comparative Land Based Air and Missile Defense Forces

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Cordesman/Wilner, Iran & The Gulf Military Balance Rev 3 Country Bahrain

Major 8

Iran

I

SAM Hawk MIM-23B

Light SAM 60

16/150 I Hawk 3/10 SA-5 45 SA-2 Guideline

R BS-70 18 FIM-92A Stinger 7 Crotale SA-7/14/16, HQ-7 29 SA-15 S o me QW-1 Misaq 29 TOR-M1 Some HN-5 5/30 Rapier 10 Pantsyr (SA-22) Some FM-80 (Ch Crotale) 15 Tigercat Some FIM-92A Stinge r

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AA Guns 15

27 guns Oerlikon 35 mm 12 L/70 40 mm 1,700 Guns ZSU-23-4 23mm ZPU-2/4 23mm ZU-23 23mm M-1939 37mm S-60 57mm ZSU-57-2

____________ Iraq

Kuwait

Oman

5 / 24 I Hawk Phase III 5/40 Patriot PAC-2

None

12 12

Aspide S t a rburst Aspide Stinger

12 Oerlikon 35mm

Blowpipe 8 Mistral 2 S P 12 Panstsyr S1E

26 guns 4 ZU-23-2 23 mm 10 GDF-005 Skyguard 35

34 SA-7 6 Blindfire S713 Martello 20 Javelin 40 Rapier

12 L-60 40 mm

mm

Qatar

None

10 Blowpipe ? 12 FIM-92A Stinger 9 Roland II 24 Mistral 20 SA-7 _________________________________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________ Saudi Arabia 1 6 /128 I Hawk 40 Crotale 1,220 guns 4-6/16-24 Patriot 2 5 00 Stinger (ARMY) 92 M-163 Vulcan 20 mm 17/73 Shahine Mobile 5 00 Mistral (ADF) 30 M-167 Vulcan 20 mm (NG) 16/96 PAC-2 launchers 5 00 FIM-43 Redeye 8 50 AMX-30SA 30 mm 17 ANA/FPS-117 radar 500 R e d e ye (ADF ) 128 G DF Oerlikon 35mm 73/68 Crotale/Shahine 7 3 -141 Shahine static 1 50 L-70 40 mm (in store) 130 M-2 90 mm (NG) UAE

2/6/36 I Hawk

Yemen

S o me SA-2, 3 Some SA-6 SP

20+ Blowpipe 20 Mistral Some Rapier Some Crotale Some RB-70 Some Javelin Some SA-18 Some 800 SA-7 Some SA-9 SP Some SA-13 SP Some SA-14

62 guns 42 M-3VDA 20 mm SP 20 GCF-BM2 30 mm

530 guns 20 M-163 Vulcan SP 20mm 50 ZSU-23-4 SP 23 mm 100 ZSU-23-2 23 mm 150 M-1939 37 mm 50 M-167 20mm 120 S-60 57 mm 40 M-1939 KS-12 85 mm

Source: Adapted by Anthony H. Cordesman from IISS, The Military Balance, Periscope, JCSS, Middle East Military Balance, Jane’s Sentinel and Jane’s Defense Weekly. Some data adjusted or estimated by the author.

Source: Adapted from the IISS, Military Balance, 2011; and the Jane’s Sentinel series.

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Iran’s Largely Defensive Land Forces Iran is a major land power by regional standards, and has large ground forces that include both its conventional army and its Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps. It can also mobilize a large military militia called the Basij that could total at least several hundred thousand on mobilization. Figures III.8 shows that Iran’s land are well-equipped enough to present a serious threat, but the vast majority of its major land weapons are aging, of low to moderate capability, and lack modernization. Strengths and Weaknesses in Iran’s Army Iran has made major efforts to reduce the divisions and tensions between its regular army and the Revolutionary Guards since 2003. It has reduced the degree of separation between force elements, and practiced defensive operations where its regular forces first fight an invading enemy with support from the IRGC, and then disperse and join the IRGC in a more asymmetric form of lasting national warfare to defeat in initial successes by the invader. The Army has some 350,000 men (220,000 conscripts) organized into four corps, which the IISS reports has four armored divisions, six infantry divisions, six artillery groups, two commando divisions, an airborne division, aviation groups, and other smaller independent formations. These latter units include independent armored, infantry, and commando brigades. In practice, each Iranian division has a somewhat different organization. Some reporting indicates only one to two of Iran’s armored divisions are well enough equipped to be considered true armored divisions, Iran does have at least one elite Special Forces Division, which was formed in 1993–1994, and the 55th paratroop division. According to one source, the 23rd Special Forces Division has 5,000 full-time regulars and is one of the most professional units in the Iranian Army. The regular army also has a number of independent brigades and groups. These include some small armored units, one infantry brigade, one airborne and two to three Special Forces brigades, coastal defense units, a growing number of air-defense groups, five artillery brigades/regiments, four to six army aviation units, and a growing number of logistic and supply formations. The land forces have six major garrisons and 13 major casernes. There is a military academy at Tehran, and a signal-training center in Shiraz.13 The airborne and Special Forces train at a facility in Shiraz, too.14 Only 480–580 of Iran’s 1,600+ main battle tanks can be described as “modern” by common standards: these include some 480 T-72s and the Zulfiqars. Iran has some 730-860 other operational armored fighting vehicles, 550–640 armored personnel carriers (APCs). It only has 13

No reliable data exist on the size and number of Iran’s smaller independent formations.

There are reports that the lighter and smaller formations in the regular army include an Airmobile Forces group created since the Iran-Iraq War, and which includes the 29th Special Forces Division, which was formed in 1993-1994, and the 55th paratroop division. There are also reports that the regular army and IRGC commando forces are loosely integrated into a corps of up to 30,000 men with integrated helicopter lift and air assault capabilities. The airborne and special forces are trained at a facility in Shiraz. These reports are not correct. Note that detailed unit identifications for Iranian forces differ sharply from source to source. It is unclear that such identifications are accurate, and now dated wartime titles and numbers are often published, sometimes confusing brigade numbers with division numbers. 14

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310 self-propelled artillery weapons, but it has a very large array of over 2,000 towed artillery weapons, , more than 870 multiple rocket launchers. It has developed its own rockets, some of which have modern cluster warhead and some of which are reported to have at some form of guidance system. This is a large inventory of major weapons, although many are worn and obsolete and date back to the time or the Shah or the Iran-Iraq War. The Army also has about 1,700 air-defense guns and large numbers of light anti-aircraft (AA) missiles, large numbers of anti-tank weapons and guided missiles, and some 50 attack helicopters. It manufactures modern variants of Russian anti-tank guided weapons – including the AT-3 and possibly AT-4, and can manufacture tank and artillery ammunition, artillery weapons, and modern RPGs. It also makes an “improved” copy of the TOW missile, which it says it has reverse engineered from the missiles it received from the United States. This missile is said to exist in both a Toophan and a Toophan 2 version. Iran has large numbers of SA-7 (Strela 2M) and SA-14 (Strela) man-portable surface-to-air missiles, some more modern SA-16s and HN-5/HQ-5s, as well as Misaq man-portable surfaceto-air missiles. It may also have up to 500 SA-18s, which are advanced man-portable surface-toair missiles.15 Iran has some 50 Swedish RBS-70 low-level surface-to-air missiles. Iran seems to be producing some version of the SA-7, perhaps with Chinese assistance. It is not clear whether Iran can do this in any large number. Iran’s land-based air-defense forces are also acquiring growing numbers of Chinese FM-80s, a Chinese variant of the French-designed Crotale. Some reports indicate that it has some SA-8s, but these may be token transfers obtained for reverseengineering purposes. The Iranian Army seems to retain 50 AH-1J Sea Cobra attack helicopters, 20 CH-47Cs, 50 Bell214A/Cs, 68 AB-205As, 10 AB-206s, and 25 Mi-8/Mi-17 transport and utility helicopters. There are also reports that Iran signed orders for 4 Mi-17s in 1999 and 30 Mi-8s in 2001. Army aviation bases are located in Bakhtaran, Ghale Morghi, Isfahan, Kerman, Mashad, Tehran, and Masjed Soleiman.16 These Western-supplied transport and support helicopters have low operational readiness, and they have little sustained sortie capability. Iran’s Ability to Defend Its Teritory and Project Land Power Iran’s land force posture still reflects a deep fear of US-led invasion that reached a height in years after the US invasion of Iraq in 2003. The Iranian Army is now trained and organized for defense in depth, and to fight in the face of an enemy with air superiority. As long as the Army is loyal to the regime, it represent a serious force and one that make talk of an invasion of Iran far easier than any real world effort to carry out such a threat. Iran has large enough ground forces to make any US invasion of Iran problematic at best. Iran also can project power across its borders if it does not face a major air threat or cohesive resistance from the country involved. It is highly dependent on towed firepower, however, and it is not equipped to maneuver long distances outside of Iran or to sustain intensive operations outside the country. At the same time, Iran does have large elements of its conventional forces that it can use to supplement the forces it is developing for asymmetric warfare. Moreover, Iraq 15

http://www.fas.org/nuke/guide/iran/missile/mushak.htm.

16

Jane’s World Armies, Iran, October 26, 2006.

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will lack the land air capabilities necessary to deter and defend against a major Iranian land attack through at least 2020.

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Figure III.8: Comparative Iranian and Gulf Land Forces Comparative Armor

Comparative Artillery

Source: Adapted from the IISS, Military Balance, 2011; and the Jane’s Sentinel series.

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Iran’s Naval Forces and Their Role in Asymmetric Warfare Iran lacks modern conventional naval forces – with the exception of its submarines and some of its missile patrol boats. As Figures III.9 to III.11 show, however, Iran’s conventional naval forces are large enough to present a challenge during the initial phases of any major clashes. Iran also and they also has minelayers, as well as advanced mines that can be delivered by any surface vessel – including the stream of dhows that constantly crosses the Gulf. Moreover, many elements of Iran’s naval forces lend themselves to asymmetric warfare, and no assessment of Iran’s capabilities for such warfare is complete without an examination of the strengths and weaknesses of its naval forces. The Strengths and Weaknesses of Iran’s Naval Forces The Iranian Navy had some 18,000 men in 2012. According to the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), this total included two marine brigades of some 2,600 men and a 2,000man naval aviation force. It has bases at Bandar Abbas, Bushehr, Kharg Island, Bandar Anzali, Chah Bahar, Bander-e Mahshahar, and Bander-e Khomeini. At the end of 2011, Iran’s surface forces included 3 frigates, 2 corvettes, 11 missile patrol craft, 5 mine warfare ships, over 60 coastal and inshore patrol craft, and 13 amphibious ships. Its naval aviation branch is one of the few air elements in any Gulf navy, having 3 Orion 3PF maritime patrol aircraft and 13 armed helicopters. When combined with the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) naval branch, this brought the total maritime strength of Iran to 38,000 men, with significant capabilities for both regular naval and asymmetric naval warfare. Iran’s southern Gulf neighbors also have significant naval strengths, however, and the US can decisively intervene with massively superior force at any time. Iran also has a steadily aging force. It has given the modernization of its lighter naval forces limited priority, but its major surface ships are all old vessels with limited refits and aging weapons and fire-control systems. Since the end of the Iran-Iraq War, Iran has attempted to compensate for the weaknesses of its surface fleet by obtaining new anti-ship missiles and missile patrol craft from China. Some reports also indicate that it has acquired midget submarines from North Korea, submarines from Russia, and modern mines. Iran has expanded the capabilities of the naval branch of the IRGC, acquired additional mine warfare capability, and upgraded some of its older surface ships. Iran’s exercises have included a growing number of joint and combined arms exercises with the land forces and the air force. Iran has also improved its ports and strengthened its air defenses, while obtaining some logistic and technical support from nations like India and Pakistan. In August 2000, the Islamic republic announced that it had launched its first domestically produced light submarine, which is called the Al Sabehat 15. Iran has stated it can be used for reconnaissance and laying mines.17 Iran’s major active surface ships are now all obsolete to obsolescent. Its main ships consist of two Bayandor- (PF103) class corvettes launched in 1963 and commissioned in 1964. Their weapons control, search/track radars, and sonars have not been modernized since the mid-1960s,

17

Jane’s, “Iran”, 29 October 2001.

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although some aspects of their electronic warfare capabilities, communications, and battle management system do seem to have been upgraded. The Bayandor and the Naghdi are probably the most active large surface ships in the Iranian Navy. However, neither is equipped with antiship and anti-air missiles, sophisticated weapons systems, sonars, or advanced electronic warfare equipment and sensors.18 Iran also has three somewhat more modern operational Alvand- (Vosper Mark 5) class frigates: the Alvand, the Alborz, and the Sabalan. They were launched during 1967-1968 and commissioned during 1968-1969. Two have been upgraded to carry four Chinese C-802 antiship missiles each on twin launchers. The C-802 is a sea-skimming missile with a range of 120 kilometers, a 165-kilogram warhead, and a maximum speed of Mach 0.9. Reports state that in 2003 Iran announced that it would launch a 1,400 destroyer named Mouj and a 350-ton missile frigate named Sina the same year. So far Iran has not been known as having either vessel in service.19 Iran’s three Type 877EKM Kilo-class submarines and other submarines have offset some of the weaknesses of its major surface forces. The Kilo is a relatively modern and quiet submarine that first became operational in 1980. Each Kilo has six 530-mm torpedo tubes, including two wireguided torpedo tubes. Only one torpedo can be wire guided at a time. The Kilo can carry a mix of 18 homing and wire-guided torpedoes or 24 mines. Russian torpedoes have guidance systems include active sonar homing, passive homing, wire guidance, and active homing. Some reports indicate that Iran bought over 1,000 modern Soviet mines along with the Kilos and that the mines were equipped with modern magnetic, acoustic, and pressure sensors. In 2005, Iran announced that it was developing a new class of submarines called Ghadir.20 In addition, Iran reportedly started producing mini-submarines in 2000. One of these vessels allegedly is called Al-Sabehat 15; it can accommodate two crew and three divers, and its mission supposedly is to plant mines and carry out reconnaissance missions.21 Iran’s ability to use its submarines to deliver mines and fire long-range wake-homing torpedoes gives it a potential capability to strike in ways that make it difficult to detect or attack the submarine. Mines can be laid covertly in critical areas before a conflict, and the mines can be set to activate and deactivate at predetermined intervals in ways that make mining difficult to detect and sweep. Long-range homing torpedoes can be used against tanker-sized targets at ranges in excess of 10 kilometers and to attack slow-moving combat ships that are not on alert and/or that lack sonars and countermeasures. Many areas of the Gulf do not favor submarine operations. The Gulf is about 241,000 square kilometers in area and stretches 990 kilometers from the Shatt al-Arab to the Straits of Hormuz. It is about 340 kilometers wide at its maximum width and about 225 kilometers wide for most of its length. While heat patterns disturb surface sonars, they also disturb submarine sonars, and the

18

Jane’s Fighting Ships, 2005-2006, London, Jane’s Information Group, pp. 336-343.

19

http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/iran/navy.htm

20

Ali Akbar Dareini, “Iran tests submarine-to-surface missile”, Washington Post, August 27, 2006.

21

BBC News, Iran launches its first submarine, August 29, 2000.

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advantage seems to be slightly in favor of sophisticated surface ships and maritime patrol aircraft. The Strait of Hormuz at the entrance to the Gulf is about 180 kilometers long, but has a minimum width of 39 kilometers, and only the two deep-water channels are suitable for major surface ship or submarine operations. Further, a limited flow of fresh water and high evaporation makes the Gulf extremely salty. This creates complex underwater currents in the main channels at the Strait of Hormuz and complicates both submarine operations and submarine detection. The deeper parts of the Gulf are noisy enough to make ASW operations difficult, but large parts of the Gulf--including much of the southern Gulf on a line from Al Jubail across the tip of Qatar to about half way up the United Arab Emirates –are less than 20 meters deep. The water is deeper on the Iranian side, but the maximum depth of the Gulf--located about 30 kilometers south of Qeys Island – is still only 88 meters. This means that no point in the Gulf is deeper than the length of an SN-688 nuclear submarine. The keel to tower height of such a submarine alone is 16 meters. Even smaller coastal submarines have maneuver and bottom suction problems, cannot hide in thermoclines, or take advantage of diving for concealment or self-protection. This may explain why Iran is planning to relocate its submarines from Bandar Abbas, inside the Gulf, to Chah Bahar in the Gulf of Oman and is deepening the navy facility at Chah Bahar.22 There are some areas with considerable noise, but not of a type that masks submarine noise from sophisticated ASW detection systems of the kind operated by the United States and the United Kingdom. Further, the minimum operating depth of the Kilo is 45 meters, and the limited depth of the area around the Straits can make submarine operations difficult. Submarines are easier to operate in the Gulf of Oman, which is noisy enough to make ASW operations difficult, but such deployments would expose the Kilos to operations by U.S. and British nuclear attack submarines. It is unlikely that Iran’s Kilos could survive for any length of time if hunted by a U.S. or British Navy air-surface-SSN (nuclear submarine) hunter-killer team.23 In any case, the effectiveness of Iran’s submarines is likely to depend heavily on the degree of Western involvement in any ASW operation. If the Kilos do not face the U.S. or British ASW forces, they could operate in or near the Gulf with considerable impunity. If they did face U.S. and British forces, they might be able to attack a few tankers or conduct some mining efforts, but are unlikely to survive extended combat. This makes the Kilos a weapon that may be more effective in threatening Gulf shipping, or as a remote minelayer, than in naval combat. Certainly, Iran’s purchase of the Kilos has already received close attention from the southern Gulf States and convinced them that they must take Iran more seriously. Iran depends heavily on its anti-ship missile forces to make up for its lack of airpower and modern major surface vessels. Iran’s Western-supplied missiles are now all beyond their shelf life, and their operational status is uncertain. Iranian forces are now systems largely supplied by the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and have replaced most Western-supplied missiles with Chinese ones.

22

Jane’s Fighting Ships, 2002-2003, London, Jane’s Information Group, pp. 336-343,

See David Miller, "Submarines in the Gulf," Military Technology, 6/93, pp. 42-45 David Markov, “More Details Surface of Rubin’s ‘Kilo’ Plans,” Jane’s Intelligence Review, May 1997, pp. 209-215. 23

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The Iranian Navy’s missile patrol boats include 9-11 operational 275-ton French-made Combattante II (Kaman-class) fast attack boats, out of an original total of 12. These boats are reported to be armed with 2-4 C-802 Sardine anti-ship missiles, one 76-mm gun, and to have maximum speeds of 37.5 knots. The Kaman-class fast attack boats were originally armed with four U.S. Harpoon missiles, but their Harpoons may no longer be operational. At least five had been successfully converted with launchers that can carry 2–4 C-801/C-802s. Iran supplied the C-802s that Hezbollah successfully used against one of Israel’s most modern Sa’ar Class-5 missile ships during the fighting in 2006. The terminology for the C-801 and C-802 series of missiles in Iranian naval forces is confusing and sources contradict each other as to the variant used on given Iranian platforms. Some sources refer to all of these missiles as part of the CSS-N-4/YJ-1 series:24 Iran now is believed to have at least 100 C-801s and C-802s. One source notes that Iran may have imported up to 100 C-801s and eight launchers in 1987-1988 and built its arsenal to 200 by 1994 as well as the ability to produce the C-801 indigenously (under the designation "Tondar").25 Another sources notes that Iran may have deployed its C-701 missiles at launching bases under construction at Bandar Abbas, Bandar Lengeh, Bushehr, and Bandar Khomeini.26 Iran has sought to buy advanced anti-ship missiles from Russia, North Korea, and China, to buy anti-ship missile production facilities, and possibly even Chinese-made missile armed frigates. Some sources have claimed that Iran has bought eight Soviet-made SS-N-22 “Sunburn” or “Sunburst” anti-ship missile launch units from Ukraine and has deployed them near the Straits of Hormuz. However, U.S. experts have not seen firm evidence of such a purchase and doubt that Iran has operational holdings of such systems. The “SS-N-22” is also a title that actually applies to two different modern long-range supersonic sea skimming systems--the P-270 Moskit (also called the Kh-15 or 3M80) and the P80 or P-100 Zubi/Onika. The Iranian navy has a number of large patrol craft and fast attack craft (120+), and the IISS Military Balance for 2011 provides a total of more than 146 patrol and coastal combatants. The operational ships of this type include 13 Kamen-class missile patrol boats, each with 2-4 CSS-N4 Sardine anti-ship missiles. three North Korean–supplied 82-ton Zafar-class (Chaho-class) fast 24

Any classification of Iran’s missile arsenal evades order and clarity. Most reports about Iran’s missile express uncertainty about parts of Iran’s program, and many reports contradict each other, at least partly, either deliberately or not. One source sheds some light into Iranian antiship missile capabilities, but cannot be seen as more than an rough indication: Iranian designation

Designation in country of origin

Fajr-e-Darya

FL-6 (Chinese)

Kowsar

FL-8 (Chinese)

Nasr

FL-9 (Chinese)

Tondar

C-802 (Chinese)

Noor

HY-2 (Chinese)

Ra’ad

HY-2/C-80224

25

http://www.fas.org/man/dod-101/sys/missile/row/c-801.htm

26

Jane’s Fighting Ships, Administration, Iran, February 19, 2007.

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attack craft with I-band search radars and armed with 23-mm guns and a BM-21 multiple rocket launcher, two Kavian-class (U.S. Cape-class) 148-ton patrol craft armed with 40-mm and 23-mm guns, and three Improved PGM-71 Parvin-class 98-ton patrol craft supplied in the late 1960s, armed with 40-mm and 20-mm guns. There are some 87 inshore patrol boats displacing less than 100 tons each. These include 11 China Cats (C 14), with C-701 guided missiles, although only 9 of those are believed to be operational. They also include large numbers of small port patrol boats, in addition those operated by the IRGC. Most of these craft are operational and can be effective in patrol missions. They do, however, lack sophisticated weapon systems or air defenses, other than machine guns and SA-7s and SA-14s. However, many reports allege that China Cats carry C-701 anti-ship missiles, although missile craft are believed to be under the command of the IRGC. Apparently, further procurement of China Cats is likely, although details are unknown.27 Iran has five to six BH-7 and seven to eight SRN-6 hovercraft, believed to be operated by the IRGC. About half of these hovercraft may be operational. They are capable of speeds of up to 60–70 knots. They are lightly armed and vulnerable, but their high speed makes them useful for many reconnaissance and unconventional warfare missions. They can rapidly land troops on suitable beaches, but the beaching angle is critical and some beaches are not appropriate. They also have unmanned combat air vehicles (UCAVs. Iran Officers and Officials on Iran’s Naval Posture in the Gulf Iranian officials and senior officers have made many claims that this gives Iran has major capabilities for naval warfare, and that Iran is buying new systems that are altering the naval balance in the Gulf:

27

"Should the enemies desire to use the method and spirit of threats, we will naturally also threaten them . The (military) exercise by the armed forces of the Islamic Republic of Iran's Islamic Revolution, in fact, expresses the will to act against various types of threats that are targeting our national security." - Hossein Salami, Revolutionary Guards Deputy, February 7, 2012. http://www.farsnews.com/newstext.php?nn=13901118000917

“[T]he recent statements made by the US and the West about the Strait of Hormuz shows that they are frightened by the awe of the (Islamic) Revolution, otherwise the Iranian nation considers the Strait of Hormuz as the strait of peace. However, the Iranian nation is determined to cut the hand of those who seek adventurism in the Persian Gulf, the Sea of Oman and the Strait of Hormuz." – Ali Larijani, Speaker of Iranian Parliament, February 1, 2012. http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.php?nn=9010173255

“Tehran will not remain indifferent to US mischief in the region if Washington tries to cause problems for regional countries. The Strait of Hormuz is a region of peace and Iran has protected its peace for centuries and will continue to do so in order to maintain calm in it,”-Ali Larijani, Speaker of Iranian Parliament, January 31, 2012. http://www.presstv.ir/detail/223919.html

"The US has given a role to Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey to direct the regional developments in a way that they move towards these countries' interests in line with the US policies and opposite to Iran's policies.

Jane’s Fighting ships, China Cat (C 14) class (PTGF), February 19, 2007.

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Owing to the fact that Iran's Islamic Revolution serves as a role model for the regional and world nations in their fight against the tyranny of their rulers and arrogant powers, the US and its allies are attempting to prevent Tehran's further political influence in the region.” - Major General Yahya Rahim Safavi, Senior Military Aide to the Supreme Leader, January 31, 2012. http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.php?nn=9010173133 

"The United States did not dare to direct its aircraft carrier through the Strait of Hormuz alone; this is why the carrier was "escorted" by military vessels of other nations. If the Strait is closed, the aircraft carriers will become the war booty of Iran." - Javad Karimi Qodousi, parliamentary National Security Committee member, January 24, 2012. http://www.isna.ir/ISNA/NewsView.aspx?ID=News-1935908&Lang=P

“There is no decision to block and close the Strait of Hormuz unless Iran is threatened seriously and somebody wants to tighten the noose. All the options are on the table.” - Mohammad Khazaee, Iranian Ambassador to the United Nations, January 19, 2012. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-01-19/iran-s-un-envoy-says-closing-strait-of-hormuz-is-an-optionif-threatened.html

"Our capability to provide security in the region, specially the Strait of Hormuz during sensitive times, will not experience any change due to the western warships' trafficking in the region." -Gholam Reza Karami, Iranian lawmaker and Chairman of the Parliamentary Defense Committee, January 16, 2012. http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.php?nn=9010171403 

"Today the Islamic Republic of Iran has full domination over the region and controls all movements within it." - Navy Rear Admiral Ali Fadavi, Commander of Iran's Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), January 6, 2012. http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.php?nn=9007270592

“Iran has total control over the strategic waterway. Closing the Strait of Hormuz is very easy for Iranian naval forces.” -Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari, Iran’s naval commander, December 28, 2011. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/29/world/middleeast/noise-level-rises-over-iran-threat-to-close-strait-ofhormuz.html?_r=2

“If they impose sanctions on Iran’s oil exports, then even one drop of oil cannot flow from the Strait of Hormuz.” - Mohammad-Reza Rahimi, Iran’s first vice president, December 27, 2011. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/28/world/middleeast/iran-threatens-to-block-oil-route-if-embargo-isimposed.html?pagewanted=all

“Closure of the Strait of Hormuz is not on the Islamic Republic of Iran's agenda (at present), but if threats against Iran come to trample upon the rights of our nation while others use the strait for exporting their oil, then Iran will be entitled to the right to close the Strait of Hormuz. The international conventions reserve such rights for the Islamic Republic of Iran as well. For the time being, the Islamic Republic of Iran has not decided to close the strait, but this (closing the strait) depends on the conditions of the region." Mohammad Taqi Rahbar, Iranian lawmaker, December 19, 2011. http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.php?nn=9007277986

"According to the international laws, including Paragraph 4 of Article 14 of the Geneva Convention, in case Iranian oil is sanctioned, we will not allow even a single barrel of oil to pass through to reach the hostile countries". -Isa Jafari, Senior Iranian lawmaker, December 18, 2011.

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http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.php?nn=9007277872 

“The new equipment (submarines) are smaller and faster under water and operate similar to our small speedboats, which terrify our enemies on the surface. We are trying to increase our operational range and reach enemy vessels there [in the Indian Ocean].” – Major General Mohammed Ali Jafari, Commander of the IRGC, April 11, 2011.

"Underwater is a good area (of activity) that is used by our forces but in an asymmetric and small-scale form, meaning that we are not seeking to build large and giant submarines since they are vulnerable. These new high-speed small-sized equipments [sic] (vessels) will have an underwater function similar to the performance of small speedboats in seas, an ability that has worried the enemy. Accordingly, we must use the same asymmetric approaches in building tools and equipments and even in defining our tactics. In addition to rapid transfer of forces and detection of the enemy's surface and subsurface vessels, these submarines can identify military targets and carry special forces, while they also enjoy rapid swamp power and have radar (sonar) evading capability. The system enjoys high-precision in targeting.” – Major General Mohammed Ali Jafari, Commander of the IRGC, April 24, 2011.

"And now the Navy plans to widen its presence in the high seas in a bid to protect the country's interests and provide security for the country's shipping lines. In case of a final approval, the Army's naval fleet will be dispatched to the Atlantic Ocean.” – Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari, Commander of Iran’s Navy, September 21, 2011.

"Missile frigates and destroyers have been equipped with these missiles since long time ago and the surface-to-surface missiles of the logistic vessels were successfully tested and assessed during the recent naval war games, dubbed as Joushan. Right now we are mounting air-defense missile systems onto a number of surface vessels. Other units will also be equipped with these systems after final tests." – Rear Admiral Seyed Mahmoud Mousavi, Deputy Commander for Operations of Iran’s Navy, July 20, 2011.

"The Navy is in a good status in terms of training and equipments [sic], and the Navy is equipped with new weapons and systems every year. The range of the Navy's missiles and its coastal defense power are increasing on a daily basis." Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari, Commander of Iran’s Navy, April 26, 2011.

"By dispatching the Iranian navy ships to the Mediterranean Sea and through the Suez Canal, the Iranian Navy has increased the radius of its operations to 7,000 kilometers." – Commander Fariborz Ghaderpanah, Commander of Iran’s First Naval Zone, March 23, 2011.

"The Islamic Republic of Iran's Jammaran destroyer, Sina missile frigate and different submarines are examples of the products that have already been manufactured (domestically) shown powerful in accomplishing missions in the sea." – Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari, Commander of Iran’s Navy, December 7, 2010.28

The US, the Southern Gulf, and Iran’s Capability for Naval Combat Iran’s military rhetoric cannot be disregarded, and as the following analysis of it asymmetric warfare capabilities shows, its Navy can play a significant role in intimidating other states and in 28

Quotes taken from a number of Iranian news sources such as Fars News, PressTV, the Tehran Times, and others. Also included are quotes from Western news outlets such as CNN, the New York Times, and the Washington Post.

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threatening petroleum exports through the Gulf. At the same time, Iran’s navy is as vulnerable to a US or US-Gulf attack or counterattack as every other element of Iran’s forces. It would be costly to destroy Iran’s capabilities in an all-out naval conflict, and the political consequences would be subject to the law of unintended consequences, but Iran can win and no amount of Iranian bluster can disguise this. The Arab Gulf states also have growing naval power, and could play a significant role in dealing with Iran’s asymmetric naval threats and the sheer size of the smaller elements of its navy. At the same time, they have weaknesses like a lack of anti-submarine warfare and mine warfare capability, and Iran’s air and naval forces can still be used to selectively raid and attack targets in the Gulf region. Gulf naval forces need more effective standardization and interoperability, although once again, these problems have far less impact if Gulf navies cooperate closely with the US. Without US support, the Arab states are potentially vulnerable to Iranian conventional naval attacks despite their military resources given their lack of strategic depth, training, and real-world war fighting experience. With US support, Iran’s weaknesses would be decisive in anything other than a carefully managed asymmetric struggle.

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Figure III.9: Comparative Iranian and Gulf Major Naval Forces

Source: Adapted from the IISS, Military Balance, 2011; and the Jane’s Sentinel series.

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Figure III.10: Iranian and Gulf Smaller Naval Ships by Category in 2011

Note: Iranian totals include active forces in the Revolutionary Guards. Totals include coast guard-operated patrol and costal combatants where applicable. Source: Adapted from IISS, The Military Balance, Periscope, JCSS, Middle East Military Balance, Jane’s Sentinel and Jane’s Defense Weekly. Some data adjusted or estimated by the author.

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Figure III.11: Gulf Warships with Anti-Ship Missiles in 2011

Source: Adapted from IISS, The Military Balance, Periscope, JCSS, Middle East Military Balance, Jane’s Sentinel and Jane’s Defense Weekly. Some data adjusted or estimated by the author.

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Figure III.12: Gulf Attack, Anti-Ship and ASW Helicopters in 2011

Source: Adapted from IISS, The Military Balance, Periscope, JCSS, Middle East Military Balance, Jane’s Sentinel and Jane’s Defense Weekly. Some data adjusted or estimated by the author.

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Measuring the Overall Balance of US and Iranian Military Competition In summary, Iran’s conventional forces cannot compete with the US and Gulf states in any regular form of conventional warfare. Iran can, force the level of conflict to escalate sharply, but only at a tremendous cost to Iran. It is important to note, however, that Iran’s official statements do take a very different stand on the overall balance of US and Iranian conventional capabilities and constantly challenge the legitimacy of the US conventional deployments to the region: 

"Should the enemies desire to use the method and spirit of threats, we will naturally also threaten them . The (military) exercise by the armed forces of the Islamic Republic of Iran's Islamic Revolution, in fact, expresses the will to act against various types of threats that are targeting our national security." - Hossein Salami, Revolutionary Guards Deputy, February 7, 2012. http://www.farsnews.com/newstext.php?nn=13901118000917

“[T]he recent statements made by the US and the West about the Strait of Hormuz shows that they are frightened by the awe of the (Islamic) Revolution, otherwise the Iranian nation considers the Strait of Hormuz as the strait of peace. However, the Iranian nation is determined to cut the hand of those who seek adventurism in the Persian Gulf, the Sea of Oman and the Strait of Hormuz." – Ali Larijani, Speaker of Iranian Parliament, February 1, 2012. http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.php?nn=9010173255

“Tehran will not remain indifferent to US mischief in the region if Washington tries to cause problems for regional countries. The Strait of Hormuz is a region of peace and Iran has protected its peace for centuries and will continue to do so in order to maintain calm in it,”-Ali Larijani, Speaker of Iranian Parliament, January 31, 2012. http://www.presstv.ir/detail/223919.html

“Tehran will not remain indifferent to US mischief in the region if Washington tries to cause problems for regional countries. The Strait of Hormuz is a region of peace and Iran has protected its peace for centuries and will continue to do so in order to maintain calm in it,”-Ali Larijani, Speaker of Iranian Parliament, January 31, 2012. http://www.presstv.ir/detail/223919.html

"The US has given a role to Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey to direct the regional developments in a way that they move towards these countries' interests in line with the US policies and opposite to Iran's policies. Owing to the fact that Iran's Islamic Revolution serves as a role model for the regional and world nations in their fight against the tyranny of their rulers and arrogant powers, the US and its allies are attempting to prevent Tehran's further political influence in the region.” - Major General Yahya Rahim Safavi, Senior Military Aide to the Supreme Leader, January 31, 2012. http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.php?nn=9010173133

"The United States did not dare to direct its aircraft carrier through the Strait of Hormuz alone; this is why the carrier was "escorted" by military vessels of other nations. If the Strait is closed, the aircraft carriers will become the war booty of Iran." - Javad Karimi Qodousi, parliamentary National Security Committee member, January 24, 2012. http://www.isna.ir/ISNA/NewsView.aspx?ID=News-1935908&Lang=P

“There is no decision to block and close the Strait of Hormuz unless Iran is threatened seriously and somebody wants to tighten the noose. All the options are on the table.” - Mohammad Khazaee, Iranian Ambassador to the United Nations, January 19, 2012.

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http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-01-19/iran-s-un-envoy-says-closing-strait-of-hormuz-is-an-optionif-threatened.html 

"Our capability to provide security in the region, specially the Strait of Hormuz during sensitive times, will not experience any change due to the western warships' trafficking in the region." -Gholam Reza Karami, Iranian lawmaker and Chairman of the Parliamentary Defense Committee, January 16, 2012. http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.php?nn=9010171403 

"Today the Islamic Republic of Iran has full domination over the region and controls all movements within it." - Navy Rear Admiral Ali Fadavi, Commander of Iran's Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), January 6, 2012. http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.php?nn=9007270592

“Iran has total control over the strategic waterway. Closing the Strait of Hormuz is very easy for Iranian naval forces.” -Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari, Iran’s naval commander, December 28, 2011. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/29/world/middleeast/noise-level-rises-over-iran-threat-to-close-strait-ofhormuz.html?_r=2

“If they impose sanctions on Iran’s oil exports, then even one drop of oil cannot flow from the Strait of Hormuz.” - Mohammad-Reza Rahimi, Iran’s first vice president, December 27, 2011. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/28/world/middleeast/iran-threatens-to-block-oil-route-if-embargo-isimposed.html?pagewanted=all

“Closure of the Strait of Hormuz is not on the Islamic Republic of Iran's agenda (at present), but if threats against Iran come to trample upon the rights of our nation while others use the strait for exporting their oil, then Iran will be entitled to the right to close the Strait of Hormuz. The international conventions reserve such rights for the Islamic Republic of Iran as well. For the time being, the Islamic Republic of Iran has not decided to close the strait, but this (closing the strait) depends on the conditions of the region." Mohammad Taqi Rahbar, Iranian lawmaker, December 19, 2011. http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.php?nn=9007277986

"According to the international laws, including Paragraph 4 of Article 14 of the Geneva Convention, in case Iranian oil is sanctioned, we will not allow even a single barrel of oil to pass through to reach the hostile countries". -Isa Jafari, Senior Iranian lawmaker, December 18, 2011.

http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.php?nn=9007277872"Iran is always one of the most powerful countries all throughout the world and enjoys the capability to confront any kind of threats by the enemies.” – General Kioumars Heidari, Lieutenant Commander of the Iranian Army’s Ground Force, September 22, 2010.

"With our present technology, we can produce radars for different ranges and we can definitely detect enemies' stealth warplanes.” – General Hassan Mansourian, Deputy Commander of Khatam ol-Anbia Air Defense Base, September 19, 2010.

"The strong presence of the Islamic Republic of Iran's Navy in the high seas is promising and inspiring for nations. The Islamic Republic of Iran doesn't favor aggression, but it favors presence in the high seas because these seas belong to all and are a ground for transfer of culture.

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A naval force with such strategic features will play a decisive role in the country's politics, national dignity and honor, and independence.” – Supreme Leader Khamenei, July 24, 2011. 

"Iran is self-sufficient in making and mass-producing artillery, tanks, helicopters and warships. In the recent resolution, arrogant powers banned weapons sales to Iran, but we do not need their weapons and we can even export such weapons.” – Iranian Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi, April 16, 2011.

“Sukhoi fighter jet has been optimized by the Army Air Force experts and now has the capability to hit and destroy targets with high precision in absolute darkness.” – General Seyed Mohammed Alavi, Lieutenant Commander of the Iranian Air Force for Operations, April 25, 2011. 29

The Wild Card in the Conventional Balance: A Weak Iraq In the real world, the mix of US and Arab Gulf forces, bases, and resources give the US and Arab Gulf states a decisive advantage in virtually every aspect of conventional military competition. However, this same mix of Iranian and Arab Gulf strengths and weakness confronts the US with at least a decade in which it must compete with Iran by maintaining enough conventional forces in the Gulf, and credible surge capabilities, to deter and defend against the full spectrum of the Iranian threats to the Gulf region, including missiles, weapons of mass destruction, asymmetric forces, and conventional forces. The US must also focus on building up southern Gulf forces that can deal with the same spectrum of threats, and compete with Iran for influence in Iraq and to create Iraqi security forces that can both provide internal security and deter and defend against Iran. Finally, Iraq is a major wild card in the competition in conventional forces. Iraq lost almost all of its major conventional weapons during the US-led invasion in 2003. Figure III.13 shows that the US invasion of Iraq stripped away Iraq’s capability to deter and defend against Iran, and act as a regional counterbalance. So far, the US has not been able to negotiate an effective Strategic Framework Agreement with Iraq following the withdrawal of US conventional forces in 2011. Even if the US can develop such an effective strategic partnership with Iraq, this is unlikely to give Iraq the conventional force strength it need to dully deter and defend against Iran before 2020. Iraq now lacks any coherent plan for force modernization, and its plans for limited imports of M-1 tanks and F-16 aircraft are only the first step in rebuilding effective national defense capabilities.

29

Quotes taken from a number of Iranian news sources such as Fars News, PressTV, the Tehran Times, and others. Also included are quotes from Western news outlets such as CNN, the New York Times, and the Washington Post.

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Figure III.13: Shifting the Balance: Iran vs. Iraq in 2003 and 2011

Source: Adapted from IISS, The Military Balance 2011, various editions and Jane’s Sentinel series.

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Competition in Asymmetric Forces All of these same trends explain why Iran is seeking to compensate for its inability to modernize its conventional forces, the delays in its military production efforts, and the limits on its arms by building up different kinds of military forces called “asymmetric” or “irregular” forces. These efforts include a mix of weapons, and other military technologies to allow its conventional forces to try to exploit the weakness in US, allied, and Arab Gulf conventional forces. They also include steadily growing land, air, missile, and naval capabilities for its Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). These include small, hard to detect, elements for naval mine and missile warfare in the Gulf, training hostile and extremist elements in other countries, and steadily expanding long missile forces controlled by the IRGC that can already strike at targets anywhere in the region and are the logical delivery systems if Iran produces nuclear weapons While any use of such forces would have far less serious effects than any Iranian use of nuclear weapons, the events of the last year have shown they pose steadily growing risks. Iran has made more and more dramatic threats in response to the fact the US and EU have imposed far more serious sanction, and Iran’s actual use of such forces would be much less provocative than missile or nuclear strikes and is much more probable. This makes this area of military competition critical to the Arab Gulf states, the secure flow of world energy exports, and the stability of the global economy.

Iran’s Growing Asymmetric Forces Iran’s leaders and senior officers have provided a wide range of descriptions of the reasons for their efforts, and have made steadily more dramatic claims about their progress in building up its asymmetric forces and about the role they might place in US and Iranian military competition. Mohammad Ali Jafari, the commander in chief of the IRGC has made numerous statements regarding Iran’s growing emphasis on asymmetric or irregular warfare, and the role it plays in US and Iranian military competition. One such statement notes that, “Asymmetrical warfare... is [our] strategy for dealing with the considerable capabilities of the enemy. A prominent example of this kind of warfare was [the tactics employed by Hezbollah during] the Lebanon war in 2006... Since the enemy has considerable technological abilities, and since we are still at a disadvantage in comparison, despite the progress we have made in the area of equipment, [our only] way to confront [the enemy] successfully is to adopt the strategy [of asymmetric warfare] and to employ various methods of this kind." – General Mohammad Ali Jafari, Commander of the IRGC

Other Iranian leaders and officials have echoed these themes and provided more detail: 

"Our method (of choice in any possible war) is asymmetric warfare since enemy's systems and military doctrine have been designed based on the classical methods of battling.” – Brigadier General Farzad Esmayeeli, Commander of Khatam ol-Anbia Air Defense Base, August 28, 2011.

"At this stage of the war games, part of the special and professional units of the IRGC ground force successfully displayed asymmetric warfare tactics and techniques with full coordination and preparedness. He IRGC's cavalry units exercised new asymmetric warfare tactics in the initial phase of the drills today. “The armored and mechanized units of the IRGC Ground Force expanded the depth of their operation(al zone) through exercising new asymmetric warfare tactics and relying on mobile firepower, iron-shield and

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secure and impenetrable communications and then destroyed the hypothetical enemy.” -General Hamid Sarkheili, spokesman of Shohaday-e Vehdar war games, January 8, 2012.30 

"The Zolfaqar vessel is considered as a new model of the vessels of the same class which is capable of conducting operations in different marine conditions thanks to its sea-to-sea missiles and proper speed. The sea-to-sea cruise missile with high destructive capability and targeting power has immensely increased the vessel's power." -Brigadier General Ahmad Vahidi , Iranian Defense Minister, January 2, 2012. http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.php?nn=9007279956

"Underwater is a good area (of activity) that is used by our forces but in an asymmetric and small-scale form, meaning that we are not seeking to build large and giant submarines since they are vulnerable. These new high-speed small-sized equipments [sic] (vessels) will have an underwater function similar to the performance of small speedboats in seas, an ability that has worried the enemy. Accordingly, we must use the same asymmetric approaches in building tools and equipments and even in defining our tactics. In addition to rapid transfer of forces and detection of the enemy's surface and subsurface vessels, these submarines can identify military targets and carry special forces, while they also enjoy rapid swamp power and have radar (sonar) evading capability. The system enjoys high-precision in targeting.”

– Major General Mohammed Ali Jafari, April 24, 2011.

“We should sketch out plans in a bid to resolve problems, and our goal should be winning the upper hand in the balance of powers in asymmetric wars." – Brigadier General Ahmad Miqani, Commander of Khatam ol-Anbia Air Defense Base, July 6, 2009.

"What makes up for asymmetries in wars against those countries which enjoy technological superiority and hi-tech military tools and equipment is faithful and highly motivated troops." "This faith and motivation can resist against the enemies' superior equipment and make up for a given country's technological lacks and inferiorities. Therefore, Baseej, as a faithful and motivated force, plays a decisive, fundamental and pivotal role in asymmetric battles." – Major General Mohammed Ali Jafari, Commander of the IRGC, December 10, 2007.

"We can use all the available military equipment and tools in any (possible) asymmetric war through creativity, initiative and employing new methods. We should redefine methods for utilizing weapons in accordance with the type of the combat.” General Mohammad Pakpour, Commander of the IRGC Ground Force, July 16, 2009.

– Brigadier

“The new equipment (submarines) are smaller and faster under water and operate similar to our small speedboats, which terrify our enemies on the surface. “We are trying to increase our operational range and reach enemy vessels there [in the Indian Ocean].” – Major General Mohammed Ali Jafari, Commander of the IRGC, April 25, 2011.

“All divisions of the Islamic Republic’s military pay close attention to events in neighboring states and incorporate these into their asymmetric warfare training. For example, if we train pilots in aerial combat, we actively link those lessons with asymmetric warfare.” – Brigadier General Ataollah Salehi, commanderin-chief of the Iranian army, January 12, 2011.

“The Kaviran meets our needs in asymmetric warfare. Its high rate of fire could enhance our ability to confront helicopters and low-level planes.” – General Ahmad-Reza Purdastan, commander of the Islamic

“IRGC Forces Exercise Asymmetric Tactics on Second Day of Drills”. FARS News Agency, January 8, 2012. Available at http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.php?nn=9010170343 30

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Republic of Iran Army Ground Force regarding the development of the new Kaviran all-terrain vehicle and its 7.62 mm Gatling gun, September 23, 2010. 

"The Revolutionary Guards [Corps] will invest efforts in strengthening its asymmetrical warfare capabilities, with the aim of successfully confronting the enemies.” – Major General Mohammed Ali Jafari, Commander of the IRGC.

"After September 11, [2001], all [IRGC] forces changed their [mode of] operation, placing emphasis on attaining combat readiness. The first step [towards achieving] this goal was to develop [a strategy] of asymmetrical warfare and to hold maneuvers [in order to practice it]." – Major General Mohammed Ali Jafari, Commander of the IRGC. 31

These statements, and others like them, sometimes involve exaggerated and highly politicized rhetoric, but they also help illustrate the trends in a critical part of Iran’s military perceptions, actions, and force development, and highlight key exercises and developments in military technology. Other open source evidence also shows that Iran is building an increasingly capable asymmetric capability relies on hard factual indicators like Iran’s acquisition of fast-attack watercraft, midget submarines, anti-ship missiles, smart mines, light guided weapons, and UCAVs, all effective asymmetric tools to counter the superior conventional forces of its neighbors. These assets include small, mobile, hard-to-detect platforms such as the Qadr-SS-3 midget submarine, high-speed combat boats such as the Seraj-1 and Zolfaqar, the Bavar-2 flying boat, the Kaviran all-terrain vehicle, and the ATV-500 Jaguar, among others, all of which fit into the IRGC’s asymmetric doctrine.323334 These systems, while low-tech and lightly-armed, are not capital-intensive and are intended to offset superior military technology through sheer numbers and high mobility. Iran understands that it cannot reasonably win a fight against the US in a conventional war or direct frontal confrontation, and these assets are designed to strike at vulnerable targets and critical infrastructure, such as Gulf shipping, oil tankers, oil platforms, and coastal desalination facilities. They can be used to “swarm” civilian or military targets, or in slow battle of attrition that pose a constant low-level threat calculated to avoid a massive US or Gulf response. They can be widely dispersed, and can be used in unpredictable attacks. Moreover, they can be concealed away from ports and military bases. Iran can either escalate or drag out a constant crisis, seeking to wear down resistance to its demand or win grudging acceptance of its nuclear problems in the way that India, North Korea, and Pakistan have done. These capabilities include Iran’s ability to threaten and intimate its Gulf neighbors, and threaten Gulf exports. In short, Iran has developed a mix of land, air, and naval capabilities that can threaten its neighbors, challenge the US, and affect other parts of the Middle East and Asia. Iran may also be able to use state and non-state actors as proxies to threaten and manipulate a range of 31

Quotes taken from a number of Iranian news sources such as Fars News, PressTV, the Tehran Times, and others. Also included are quotes from Western news outlets such as CNN, the New York Times, and the Washington Post. 32

PressTV, August 10, 2010

33

Tehran Iranian Student News Agency (ISNA), September 23, 2010.

34

Internet Mashregh News, December 31, 2010.

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neighboring states, including Afghanistan, Iraq, and Israel. These forces are the key military elements of Iranian strategic competition and are steadily increasing in size and capability.

Conventional Weakness vs. Asymmetric Capability Iran’s conventional weaknesses also need to be kept in careful perspective. Iran has spent two decades building up capabilities for asymmetric and irregular warfare. The end result is still a mix of Iranian forces the US can counter relatively quickly with the large-scale use of its own forces, but no none wants this kind of war and they still give Iran a powerful capability to intimidate its neighbors, and which would be far harder for the US to defeat in a limited war of attrition where the US might not be able to act decisively in striking Iranian forces and targets. Iran’s military doctrine not only places heavy emphasis on asymmetric warfare, it sends signal that the US and Iran’s neighbors cannot ignore: •

Iran sends signals about its use of asymmetric warfare through its military parades and exercises.

The IRGC often claims to conduct very large exercises, sometimes with 100,000 men or more. The exact size of such exercises is unclear, but they are often a fraction of IRGC claims.

By displaying both its real and virtual military (e.g. naval) fighting capabilities through electronic, printed and network media, and through official statements, Iran seeks to achieve the following politico-diplomatic and propaganda ends (4Ds):

o Defiance (to maintain a course of resistance, targeting primarily the Western political will and system).

o Deception (on the real state of Iranian warfighting capabilities, targeting the Western military establishments).

o Deterrence (with the IRI military “might”, targeting Western public opinion, delivered through the media).

o Demonstration (of the outreach of its own power, targeting the Iranian people and the Moslem world).

Iran’s asymmetric capabilities interact with its nuclear weapons development efforts to compensate for the limitations to its conventional forces. “Going nuclear” provides a level of intimidation that Iran can use as both a form of terrorism and to deter conventional responses to its use of asymmetric warfare: •

Even the search for nuclear power is enough to have a major effect on competition and perceptions.

Development of long range missiles adds to Iran’s credibility and pressure on Iran’s competitors.

Crossing the nuclear threshold in terms of acquiring a “bomb in the basement” option.

Threats to Israel legitimize the capability to tacitly threaten Arab states. Support of Hamas and Hezbollah increase legitimacy in Arab eyes – at least Arab publics.

Many future options: stockpile low enriched material and disperse centrifuges, plutonium reactors, underground tests, actual production, arm missiles, breakout arming of missiles.

Declared forces, undeclared forces, leverage Israeli/US/Arab fears.

At the same time, “going asymmetric” allows Iran to substitute asymmetric forces for weak conventional forces: 68


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Combined nuclear and asymmetric efforts sharply reduce the need for modern conventional forces – which have less practical value.

Linkages to Syria, Lebanon, other states, and non-state actors like Hamas and Hezbollah add to Iran’s ability to deter and intimidate/leverage.

Iran can exploit fragility in the Gulf, world dependence on oil exports, and GCC dependence on income and imports.

Threats to Israel again legitimize the capability to tacitly threaten Arab states.

Unlike Iran’s nuclear and missile programs, Iran has also proven its capability to use such forces effectively. Iran’s past actions have shown this threat is all too real: 

Iranian tanker war with Iraq.

Oil spills and floating mines in the Gulf.

Use of Al Qods Force in Iraq.

Iranian use of UAVs.

Border and coastal “incidents.”

Arms transfers, in cooperation with Syria, to Hezbollah.

Pilgrimage “incidents” in Makkah.

Support of Shi’ite groups in Bahrain.

Missile and space tests; expanding range of missile programs (future nuclear test?).

Naval guards’ seizure of British boat, confrontation with US Navy, exercises in Gulf.

Development of limited “close the Gulf” capability.

Hamas/PIJ arms transfer and their rocket attacks on Eilat, Aqaba in August 2010.

Iran regularly practices “swarming” targets in the Gulf with large numbers of small craft, shore-based anti-ship missiles, missile-armed aircraft, and increasing support from UAVs/UCAVs.

Increasingly arming and supporting insurgents in Afghanistan.

Iran’s Growing Mix of Asymmetric Warfare Forces Iran has continued to improve the capabilities and training of its conventional forces for asymmetric warfare in recent years and, has also built up specialized elements within its force structure. As of 2012, some of the key recent developments in Iran’s growing asymmetric capabilities included: 

The development of the Karrar and R’ad UCAVs in early 2010, both of which have a range in excess of 1000 km and can destroy targets with guided munitions. 35

The installation of a “Coastal Defense Missile” system along the country’s 1,500 mile coastline, a move deemed the “appropriate strategy” to protect the country from attack. 36

The development of the Khalij Fars (“Persian Gulf”) anti-ship ballistic missile.37

35

“Hizballah Possesses Advanced Iranian-Controlled Air Drone System.” Al-Siyasah Online, November 6, 2010.

36

Mashregh News Agency, January 3, 2011.

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The introduction of new high-speed combat boats armed with guided missiles and torpedoes such as the Seraj-1 and the Zalfaqar.38

The introduction of the Bavar-2 flying boat, which is equipped with night vision and armed with machine guns and rockets.39

The introduction of high mobility all-terrain vehicles such as the ATV-500 Jaguar and the Kaviran.4041

Increasing use of SDVs (“Swimmer Delivery Vehicle”), which can be used for inserting special forces elements or laying mines covertly.

Unlike Iran’s conventional forces, and its nuclear and missile efforts, the range of Iranian asymmetric optkions and forces is too wide to easily charterize or catalog. The core aspects of Iran’s growing capabilities for asymmetrtic warfare are shown in Figure III.14, but this is only part of the story.

37

“Iran mass producing smart ballistic missiles: IRGC chief.” Tehran Times, February 8, 2011.

38

PressTV, August 10, 2010.

39

Ministry of Defense of the Islamic Republic of Iran, September 28, 2010.

40

Tehran Iranian Student News Agency (ISNA), September 23, 2010.

41

Internet Mashregh News, December 31, 2010.

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Figure III.14: Key Iranian Capabilities for Asymmetric Warfare 

125,000+ men total in IRGC,

Can draw on 1,000,000+ Basij.

20,000 Naval Guards, including 5,000 marines.

Armed with HY-3 CSS-C-3 Seersucker (6-12 launchers, 100 missiles, 95-100 km), and 10 Houdong missile patrol boats with C-802s (120 km), and 40+ Boghammers with ATGMs, recoilless rifles, machine guns.

Large-scale mine warfare capability using small craft and commercial boats.

Based at Bandar e-Abbas, Khorramshar, Larak, Abu Musa, Al Farsiyah, Halul, Sirri. IRGC air branch reported to fly UAVs and UCAVs, and control Iran’s strategic missile force.

1 Shahab SRBM Bde (300-500-700 km) with 12-18 launchers, 1 Shahab 3 IRBM Btn (1,200-1,280 km) with 6 launchers and 4 missiles each.

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The Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) The Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC, or “Sepah-e Pasdaran”) is the key element in this aspect of US and Iranian military competition. Its current forces and capabilities are shown in Figures III.15 to III.18:  

Figure III.15 shows the expanding capabilities of the IRGC, and the pivotal role it is coming to play in shaping Iran’s overall military capabilities. The IRGC is not only playing a growing role in Iran’s overall force mix, but in its top leadership and economy. Figure III.16 shows Iran’s increasing arsenal of UAVs and UCAVs. Figure III.17 describes the evolving military capabilities of the IRGC. They are tailored to both offensive and defensive irregular and asymmetric warfare.

The IRGC grew out of the Iranian Revolution of 1979. Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini established the force both to protect the Islamic order of the new Iranian government, and to act as a counter to the regular armed forces – which were perceived as still loyal to the Shah or as having uncertain loyalty to the new regime. The IRGC became the backbone of Iran’s military forces during the Iran-Iraq War, as well as a key tool in dealing with internal opposition and providing support to other state and non-state actors outside Iran. The IRGC has now evolved into a major political, military, and economic force. It reports directly to the Supreme Leader, and is believed to be loyal to Ayatollah Khamenei, but has its own factions – some of which have loyalties to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who is a veteran of the IRGC. It is more political and ideological than the regular armed forces. A number of senior officers in the IRGC have relatives or close ties to Iran’s leading clerics. While unclassified sources are of uncertain reliability, the IRGC is generally reported to have approximately 125,000 men. It has significant conventional forces, and operates Iran’s longerrange surface-to-surface missiles. It is believed to play a major role in Iran’s effort to create nuclear weapons, and most or all other chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) programs, and to be the force that would operate Iran’s nuclear-armed forces if they are deployed. The IRGC has substantial capabilities for asymmetric warfare and covert operations. It was members of the Naval Branch of the IRGC that seized 15 British sailors and Marines, who seem to have been in Iraqi waters, in March 2007.42 The IRGC also includes the Al Qods Force and other elements that operate covertly or openly overseas – working with Hezbollah of Lebanon, Shi’ite militias in Iraq, and Shi’ites in Afghanistan. IRGC Land Forces The IRGC has small elements equipped with armor and has the equivalent of conventional army units, and some units are trained for covert missions and asymmetric warfare, but most of its forces are lightly equipped infantry trained and equipped for internal security missions. These forces are reported to have between 120,000 and 130,000 men, but such totals are uncertain as are all unclassified estimates of the strength, organization, equipment, and industrial base of the Slackman, Michael. “Seizure of Britons Underlines Iran’s Political Split.” New York Times. April 4, 2007, p, 5; Lyall, Sarah. “Iran Sets Free 15 Britons Seized at Sear in March.” New York Times. April 5, 2007. 42

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IRGC. This manpower pool includes conscripts recruited from the same pool as regular army conscripts, and training and retention levels are low. The IRGC land forces also seem to control the Basij (Mobilization of the Oppressed) and other paramilitary forces in most internal security operations and if they are mobilized for war. Some sources, like the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), report a force structure with 20 “divisions,” but most IRGC units seem to be large battalion-sized elements. According to a Jane’s report, estimates of the IRGC’s organization differ sharply. Some sources claim that there are two armored, five mechanized, 18 infantry, and one Special Forces division, and about 15-20 independent brigades. The report concludes that many alleged divisions are equivalent to large brigades and the personnel numbers of the IRGC could support only three to five divisions.43 The total manpower pool of the IRGC could support only about five to six light infantry divisions. There is supposedly also one airborne brigade. The IRGC often claims to conduct large exercises, sometimes with 100,000 men or more. The exact size of such exercises is unclear, but they are often a small fraction of what the IRGC claims. With the exception of a limited number of more elite elements, training is limited and largely suitable for internal security purposes. Most forces would require substantial refresher training to act in any mission other than static infantry defense and using asymmetric warfare tactics like hit-and-run operations or swarming elements of forces when an invader appears vulnerable. The IRGC is the center of much of Iran’s effort to develop asymmetric warfare tactics to counter a US invasion. Work by Michael Connell of the Center for Naval Analysis notes that the IRGC has been systematically equipping, organizing, and retraining its forces to fight decentralized partisan and guerrilla warfare. It has strengthened the anti-tank and anti-helicopter weaponry of the IRGC battalions, and stressed independent battalion-sized operations that can fight with considerable independence even if Iran loses much of the coherence in its command, control, communications, and intelligence capabilities.44 Its exercises have included simulated attacks on US AH-64 attack helicopters with Iran’s more modern man-portable surface-to-air missiles (MANPADs), and used mines and improvised explosive device (IED)-like systems to attack advancing armored forces. The IRGC, like the army and the Basij, have attempted to develop and practice deception, concealment, and camouflage methods to reduce the effectiveness of US and other modern imagery coverage, including dispersing into small teams and avoiding the use of uniformed personnel and military vehicles. While the credibility and effectiveness of such tactics are uncertain, the IRGC claims to be adopting tactics to avoid enemy radars and satellites. Both the IRGC and the army have also attempted to deal with US signals and communications intelligence collection capabilities by making extensive use of buried fiber optics and secure communications, while developing more secure ways to use the internet and commercial

43

“Iran.” Jane’s World Armies. October 3, 2011

Connell, Michael. “The Influence of the Iraq Crisis on Iranian Warfighting Doctrine and Strategy.” CNA Corporation, Alexandria, April 2007; Vision of the Islamic Republic of Iran Network, Network 1. 18:34 GMT, March 9, 2005. 44

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landlines. Iran claims to be creating relatively advanced secure communications systems, but its success is uncertain.45 Connell notes that the IRGC is developing such tactics in ways that could form a layered or “mosaic” defense with the army and air forces, where the IRGC could keep up constant pressure on any advancing US forces. He indicates that the IRGC has developed special stay-behind units or “cells” that would include some 1,900 to 3,000 teams of three to four soldiers whose main mission would be to attack US lines of supply and communication, strike at elements in rear areas, and conduct ambushes of combat troops. This could include sending units forward into countries like Iraq and Afghanistan to attack US forces there, or encourage local forces to do so, and sending teams to raid or infiltrate southern Gulf states friendly to the US.46 At the same time, Connell notes that if the Iranian Army were defeated and an attacker like the US moved into Iran’s territory, the IRGC, the Iranian Army, and the Basij are now organized and trained to fight a much more dispersed war of attrition in which force elements would disperse and scatter, carrying out a constant series of attacks on US forces wherever they deployed as well as against US lines of communication and supply. If the government allowed such force elements to act as their current doctrine calls for, such elements would have great independence of action, rather than relying on centralized command. The IRGC and the Iranian Army have clearly paid close attention to both the limited successes that Saddam’s Fedayeen had against the US advance on Baghdad, and the far more successful efforts of Iraqi insurgents and militias in attacking US and other coalition forces following the fall of Baghdad. One technique such forces attempt to organize for and practice is using cities and built-up areas as defensive areas that provide concealment and opportunities for ambushes, and for the use of swarming tactics, which forces an attacker to disperse large numbers of forces to try to clear and secure given neighborhoods. Connell indicates that some 2,500 Basij members staged such an exercise in the Western suburbs of Tehran in February 2007. Once again, Iran drew on the lessons of Iraq; however, Iran also employed such tactics with great success against Iraqi forces during the Iran-Iraq War, and it has closely studied the lessons of urban and built-up area fighting in Somalia and Lebanon. Other reports indicate that the IRGC remains the center of Iran’s hardline security forces, but has become steadily more political and bureaucratic, and most of its forces now have no combat experience – it has been more than twenty years since the end of the Iran-Iraq War in 1988. Corruption and careerism are growing problems, and the IRGC’s role in the defense industry has led to financial abuses. As such, it is the elite elements of the IRGC that give it real meaning beyond serving the regime’s need to control its population.

Iran has said that experts at its Hossein and Sharif Universities are working on an “impenetrable intranet communications network.” Connell indicates that Iran claims such a system was fielded during the Eqtedar (“Power”) exercises in February 2007. Baztab, Web edition, February 20, 2007. 45

Connell, “The Influence of the Iraq Crisis on Iranian Warfighting Doctrine and Strategy.” Keyhan, February 20, 2007, p. 14. 46

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There are different opinions over the relative conventional role of the IRGC relative to other Iranian forces. One source identifies a trend that will eventually render the regular army more technologically advanced and more modern in general. Accord to this report, the IRGC, by contrast, is to focus on “less traditional defense duties,” such as enforcing border security, commanding the country’s ballistic missile and potential weapons of mass destruction forces, and preparing for a closing of the Strait of Hormuz militarily.47 The IRGC Air Force The air force of the IRGC is believed to operate Iran’s three Shahab-3 intermediate-range ballistic missile units, and may have had custody of its chemical weapons and any biological weapons. It is not clear what combat formations exist within the IRGC, but the IRGC may operate Iran’s ten EMB-312 Tucanos. It also seems to operate many of Iran’s 45 PC-7 training aircraft, as well as some Pakistani-made trainers at a training school near Mushak, but this school may be run by the regular air force. It has also claimed to manufacture gliders for use in unconventional warfare. These are unsuitable delivery platforms, but could at least carry a small number of weapons.48 Figure III.16 reflects that Iran and the IRGC, by extension, has recently invested heavily in UAVs and UCAVs in recent years. Iranian officials regularly make lofty claims about theses crafts’ capabilities, and there is scant data available regarding their operational history and performance. Consequently, it is difficult to assess their capabilities in any kind of hypothetical conflict with US forces. This data does show, however, that the IRGC perceives R&D into UAV/UCAV technology is a worthwhile investment, and a complement to its asymmetric tactics and strategy.

47

“Iran.” Jane’s World Armies

48

Reuters. June 12, 1996, 17:33.

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Figure III.15: Key Elements of the IRGC •

125,000+ men, capable of drawing upon drawing on 1,000,000 Basij.

Key is 20,000 Naval Guards, including 5,000 marines.

Armed with HY-3 CSS-C-3 Seersucker (6-12 launchers, 100 missiles, 95-100 km), and 10 Houdong missile patrol boats with C-802s (120 km), and 40+ Boghammers with ATGMs, recoilless rifles, and machine guns.

Large-scale mine warfare capability using small craft and commercial boats.

Based at Bandar e-Abbas, Khorramshar, Larak, Abu Musa, Al Farsiyah, Halul, and Sirri.

• IRGC air branch reported to fly UAVs and UCAVs, and control Iran’s strategic missile force.

1 Shahab SRBM Bde (300-500-700 km) with 12-18 launchers, 1 Shahab 3 IRBM Btn (1,200-1,280 km) with 6 launchers and 4 missiles each.

The IRGC has a wide variety of assets at its disposal to threaten shipping lanes in the Gulf, Gulf of Oman, and the Caspian Sea.

3 Kilo (Type 877) and unknown number of midget (Qadr-SS-3) submarines; smart torpedoes, (antiship missiles?) and smart mine capability.

Use of 5 minelayers, amphibious ships, small craft, commercial boats.

Attacks on tankers, shipping, offshore facilities by naval guards.

Raids with 8 P-3MP/P-3F Orion MPA and combat aircraft with anti-ship missiles(C-801K (8-42 km), CSS-N-4, and others).

Free-floating mines, smart and dumb mines, oil spills.

Land-based, long-range anti-ship missiles based on land, islands (Seersucker HY-2, CSS-C-3), and ships (CSS-N-4, and others. Sunburn?).

Forces whose exercises demonstrate the capability to raid or attack key export and infrastructure facilities.

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Figure III. 16: Iranian UAVs and UCAVs Prime Designation Manufacturer

Development/ Production

Asr-e Talai

Alamdar MAV

Underway

Famas

Black Eagle

Operation

Payload Wt.

Endurance (hr)

Range

Ceiling (ft)

Mission Surveillance

Unknown Unknown Faraz Asia Faraz-2 MAV Technologies Company FARC

Sobakbal

Underway

Deployed

.35

Ghods Aviation Industries

Ababil (Swallow)

Completed

Deployed

45

Completed

Deployed

Mohajer-1/2/3/4 (Mirsad-1, Doma, Hodhod)

0.5

10

Surveillance

2

2.7-13.5 mi

19,686 ft Surveillance

240

4,268

Attack (RPGs)

30-150

3,352

Aerial Target

Deployed Completed

Deployed

variants Completed

Deployed

Target drone – aka “Target 3000”

Saeqeh-1/2 Tallash (Endeavor Hadaf)

and

Mohajer-5 Shekarchi (Hunter HESA IAMI)

(aka Ababil (?)

1.5+

30-120

3,048

Underway

Hadaf-1

Aerial target; RSTA; longrange surveillance Aerial Target

Unknown

Karrar (Striker)

Underway

Disputed, 115-700

Nazir (Harbinger) Unknown

R’ad (Thunder)

Unknown

Pehpad

Underway

Testing

Stealth

Underway

Deployed

Sharif Shahbal University of Technology

1,000

Hunter-killer Hunter-killer Hunter-killer

Underway

700

Hunter-killer R/S announced 2/10/2007

5.5

12

3,000

Reconnaissance/ surveillance

Source: Adapted by Alexander Wilner using the AIAA 2011 Worldwide UAV Roundup

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Figure III.17: The Evolving Capabilities of the IRGC •

Iran's Deputy Army Commander Brigadier General Abdolrahim Moussavi has announced that Iran is committed to expanding its strategic reach, arguing that, "In the past, our military had to brace itself for countering regional enemies. This is while today we are faced with extra-regional threats."

Iran upgraded a naval base at Assalouyeh in Iran's southern Bushehr province.

This base is the fourth in a string of IRGC bases along the waterway that will extend from Bandar Abbas to Pasa Bandar near the Pakistan border.

Part of, what IRGC's Navy Commander Rear Admiral Morteza Saffari describes as a new mission to establish an impenetrable line of defense at the entrance to the Sea of Oman.

Forces can carry out extensive raids against Gulf shipping, carry out regular amphibious exercises with the land branch of the IRGC against objectives like the islands in the Gulf, and could conduct raids against countries on the southern Gulf coast.

Iran could launch a coordinated attack involving explosives-laden remote-controlled boats, swarming speedboats, semi-submersible torpedo boats, FACs, kamikaze UAVs, midget and attack submarines, and shore-based anti-ship missile and artillery fire.

Could “swarm” a US-escorted convoy or surface action group transiting the Strait of Hormuz, and barrages of rockets with cluster warheads could be used to suppress enemy defensive fire and carrier air operations.

Naval Guards work closely with Iranian intelligence and appear to be represented unofficially in some embassies, Iranian businesses and purchasing offices, and other foreign fronts.

Iran has launched a domestic weapons procurement campaign aimed at improving its defense capabilities and has announced the development of 109 types of advanced military equipment over the past two years.

In December 2008 Iranian Navy Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari confirmed the delivery of two new domestically-built missile boats, Kalat (Fortress) and Derafsh (Flag), as well as a Ghadir-class light submarine to the Iranian navy.

The deputy commander of the IRGC's navy, Rear Admiral Ali Fadavi, told the Fars News Agency on 11 November 2008 that both unmanned speedboats and UAVs are now mass-produced in the country.

On December 6, 2008 the Iranian Navy test-fired a new surface-to-surface missile from a warship as part of exercises along a strategic shipping route. "The Nasr-2 was fired from a warship and hit its target at a distance of 30 km (19 miles) and destroyed it," Iranian state run radio reported.

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The IRGC Naval Forces The IRGC’s naval branch is reported to have some 20,000 men, including marine units of some 5,000 men. It is scarcely the largest element of Iran’s IRGC or its asymmetric forces, but it plays such a critical role in Iran’s military competition with the US and the Southern Gulf states that it merits special attention. The key aspects of the IRGC Naval Branch are summarized in Figures III.18 to III.21 •

Figure III.18 describes the special role of the naval branch of the IRGC and the critical role it can play in asymmetric warfare in the Gulf.

Figure III.19 shows Iran’s strength in naval asymmetric warfare capabilities relative to that of other Gulf navies. It should be noted, however, that few Iranian Navy ships have had modern refits, and efforts to upgrade them have had mixed success – particularly in creating integrated command centers and sensor suites.

Figure III.20 shows Iran’s strength in mine warfare capabilities relative to that of other Gulf navies. These totals disguise the fact that almost any ship can lay or drop mines, but mine hunting and sweeping is far more difficult than in the past, and other Gulf navies have very little mine sweeping capability.

Figure III.21 shows Iran’s robust amphibious warfare capabilities relative to other Gulf navies.

The IRGC Naval Branch undergoes extensive exercises and demonstrates capabilities that show it could deliver conventional weapons, bombs, mines, and CBRN weapons into ports and oil and desalination facilities. It is operational in the Gulf and the Gulf of Oman, and could operate elsewhere if given suitable sealift or facilities. As of 2011, Iran’s navy has sent warships into the Mediterranean and claimed intentions of sending ships into the Atlantic, but such a capability is doubtful.4950 The IRGC’s naval branch has bases in the Gulf, many near key shipping channels and some near the Strait of Hormuz. These include a wide variety of facilities at Al-Farsiyah, Halul (an oil platform), Sirri, Abu Musa, Bandar-e Abbas, Khorramshahr, and Larak. It also controls Iran’s coastal defense forces, including naval guns and an HY-2 Seersucker land-based anti-ship missile unit deployed in five to seven sites along the Gulf coast. Its forces can carry out extensive raids against Gulf shipping, carry out regular amphibious exercises with the land branch of the IRGC against objectives like the islands in the Gulf, and could conduct raids against Saudi Arabia or other countries on the southern Gulf coast. They give Iran a major capability for asymmetric warfare. The Guards also seem to work closely with Iranian intelligence and appear to be represented unofficially in some embassies, Iranian businesses and purchasing offices, and other foreign fronts. The IRGC naval forces have at least 40 light patrol boats, 10 Houdong guided missile patrol boats armed with C-802 anti-ship missiles, a battery of HY-2 Seersucker land-based anti-ship missiles, and a number of submarines, mini submarines, and swimmer delivery vehicles (SDVs). Some of these systems could be modified to carry a small CBRN weapon, but are hardly optimal Londono, Ernesto and Erdbring, Thomas. “Iran Hails Warships’ Mission in Mediterranean.” Washington Post. February 22, 2011. 49

50

“Defense Minister Confirms Iran Plans to Deploy Vessels in Atlantic Ocean.” Tehran Times. October 17, 2011.

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delivery platforms because of their limited-range payload and sensor/guidance platforms that are unsuited for the mission.

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Figure III.18: The Impact of the IRGC Naval Guards: Force Strength, Roles, and Missions •

The IRGC has a naval branch consists of approximately 20,000 men, including marine units of around 5,000 men.

The IRGC is now reported to operate all mobile land-based anti-ship missile batteries and has an array of missile boats; torpedo boats; catamaran patrol boats with rocket launchers; motor boats with heavy machine guns; mines as well as Yono (Qadir)-class midget submarines; and a number of swimmer delivery vehicles.

The IRGC naval forces have at least 40 light patrol boats, 10 Houdong guided missile patrol boats armed with C-802 anti-ship missiles.

The IRGC controls Iran’s coastal defense forces, including naval guns and an HY-2 Seersucker land-based antiship missile unit deployed in five to seven sites along the Gulf coast.

The IRGC has numerous staging areas in such places and has organized its Basij militia among the local inhabitants to undertake support operations.

IRGC put in charge of defending Iran's Gulf coast in September 2008 and is operational in the Gulf and the Gulf of Oman, and could potentially operate elsewhere if given suitable sealift or facilities.

Can deliver conventional weapons, bombs, mines, and CBRN weapons into ports and oil and desalination facilities.

Force consists of six elements: surface vessels, midget and unconventional submarines, missiles and rockets, naval mines, aviation, and military industries.

Large numbers of anti-ship missiles on various types of launch platforms.

Small fast-attack craft, heavily armed with rockets or anti-ship missiles.

More fast mine-laying platforms.

Enhanced subsurface warfare capability with various types of submarines and sensors.

More small, mobile, hard-to-detect platforms, such as semi-submersibles and unmanned aerial vehicles.

More specialized training.

More customized or purpose-built high-tech equipment.

Better communications and coordination between fighting units.

More timely intelligence and effective counterintelligence/deception.

Enhanced ability to disrupt the enemies command, control, communications, and intelligence capability.

The importance of initiative, and the avoidance of frontal engagements with large US naval surface warfare elements.

Means to mitigate the vulnerability of even small naval units to air and missile attack.

The IRGC has numerous staging areas in such places and has organized its Basij militia among the local inhabitants to undertake support operations.

The naval branch has bases and contingency facilities in the Gulf, many near key shipping channels and some near the Strait of Hormuz.

These include facilities at Al-Farsiyah, Halul (an oil platform), Sirri, Abu Musa, Bandaer-e Abbas, Khorramshahr, and Larak.

Iran recently started constructing new naval bases along the coasts of the Gulf and the Sea of Oman for an “impenetrable line of defense.”

On October 27, 2008, Iran opened a new naval base at Jask, located at the southern mouth of the Strait of Hormuz, a strategic chokepoint for Persian Gulf oil.

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Figure III.19: Iranian Naval Capabilities for Asymmetric Warfare

Source: Adapted from IISS, The Military Balance, various editions; Jane’s Sentinel series; Saudi experts

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Figure III.20: Iranian Capabilities for Mine Warfare

8

7

6

5

4

3

2

1

0

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Iraq

Saudi

Bahrain

Kuwait

Oman

Qatar

UAE

Yemen

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0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Mine Countermeasure

5

0

7

0

0

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Source: Adapted from IISS, The Military Balance, various editions; Jane’s Sentinel series; Saudi experts

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Figure III.21: Iranian Amphibious Warfare Capabilities

30

25

20

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10

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Iraq

Saudi

Bahrain

Amphibious Ships Landing Craft

Kuwait

Oman

Qatar

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Yemen

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16

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5

1 1

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3

Source: Adapted from IISS, The Military Balance, various editions; Jane’s Sentinel series; Saudi experts

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The Basij or Basij-e Mostaz'afin, "Mobilization of the Oppressed" The Basij were founded in 1979 as a paramilitary organization to supported the revolution, and then became the source of the recruiting for many of the human wave forces Iran used during the Iran-Iraq War from 1980-1988. Some estimates put their total numbers in the millions during the war, but there are no reliable estimates of how large a force they were. Today the Basij are more of an internal security force, force used to suppress opposition movements and create counter-demonstrations, and mobilization base for the regime than part of Iran’s asymmetric forces and an element that plays are direct role in competition with the US. Some elements do, however, receive paramilitary training and have participated in exercises where the Iranian Army, IRGC, and Basij cooperate to resist a US-led invasion. Beginning in 2004-2005, they began to be used in urban defense exercises, and supposed were organized into some 2,000 "Ashura battalions" that had "riot-control responsibilities" and an internal security role, as well as a contingency mission of creating local resistance in the face of a supposed outside (US) invasion. These were to some extent imitations of the Ashura Bridges that Iran had created for its human wave operations during the Iran-Iraq War. They now have specialized subunits – largely for political control and to enforce the regimes religious restrictions on social behavior – at every level from the school to professions to the mosque. Members include professional cadres and indoctrinators, volunteers, and part timers assigned to a mobilization base. One needs to be very careful about the credibility of how well structured and disciplined the Basij are today, but an estimate in the Wikipedia provides a good picture of the structure the Baij now has in theory:51 Basij form the fifth branch of the Army of the Revolutionary Guard, and the "three main armed wings" of the Basij are the Ashoura and Al-Zahra Brigades, the Imam Hossein Brigades (composed of Basij war veterans who cooperate closely with the IRGC ground forces) and the Imam Ali Brigades (which deal with security threats).According to Radio Free Europe, the "backbone" of the Basij comprises 2,500 Al-Zahra battalions (all women) and Ashura battalions (male), numbering 300–350 personnel each. The IRGC aims to arm 30 percent of these battalions with semi-heavy and heavy weapons. However, all members of the battalions are trained to use light arms and rifles. They are trained "in riot-control tactics and how to deal with domestic uprisings," and officially tasked with "defending the neighborhoods in case of emergencies." In addition, since 2007 the Basij have established "30,000 new combat cells, each of them 15-20 members strong, named Karbala and Zolfaqar". The cells "cooperate closely" or in emergency situations are "controlled by" the Revolutionary Guard …The current commander of the Basij is Mohammad Reza Naqdi, who replaced Hossein Taeb in October 2009. Hossein Taeb was appointed commander of the Basij on July 14, 2008….The first deputy commander General Mirahmadi was formally installed on 4 September 2005. The Tehran commander is Seyyed Mohammad Haj Aqamir. The deputy Basij commander for Tehran, General Ahmad Zolqadr, was formally installed on 5 September 2005; the new Basij commander in Tabrizi, Brigadier General Mohammad Yusef Shakeri, on 29 September 2005.[ Estimates of the number of Basij vary, with its leadership giving higher figures than outside commentators. …According to a former commander of the Basij, Brigadier General Mohammad Hejazi, the strength of the force in 2004 was 10.3 million. By 2007, its strength stood at 12.6 million. The current commander of the Basij, Hasan Taeb, told the semi-official Fars news agency on November 25 that the force now numbers 13.6 million, which is about 20 percent of the total population of Iran. Of this number, about 5 million are 51

Wikipedia, “Basij,” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basij.

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women and 4.7 million are schoolchildren. ... In fact the Basij may be able to mobilize no more than 1.5 million men and women of military age.

In reality, the Basij’s military structure today is more of a hollow shell design for regime control purposes than a fully functional force. It can scarcely be ignore, however, in any assessment f the level of resistance any attempt to conduct an operation in Iran might encounter, whether a regular army operation or the use of Special Forces and intelligence operatives. The regime also increasingly uses the Basij to try to mobilize its youth. As the US State Department report on human rights, issues on April 8, 2011 notes,52 In November 2009 according to the Mehr news agency, the leader of the student Basij organization, Mohammad Saleh Jokar, announced that 6,000 Basij units would be created in the country's elementary schools. Jokar said the action aimed to expand and promote Basij and revolutionary ideals among young persons. He added that approximately 4.5 million students and 320,000 teachers were members of the Basij. An RFE report noted that the Basij also began a program to register baby girls for later training in the Basji Hossein Haj Mousaee Basij unit. The report also discussed "resource centers" being built at elementary schools to prepare children to join the units.

These efforts must also be kept carefully in mind in putting too easy an emphasis on the scale of Iranian popular resistance to the regime, and the impact of activities like social networking. The regime has its own tools, and limited indicators like cell phone polls indicate that these can often be effective. The Al Qods Force Iran uses its intelligence service – the Vevak, its diplomats and attaches, “private” citizens, businesses and foreign business covers, and foreign nationals to support its efforts at asymmetric and political warfare. It has built up a specialized force to work with outside state and non-state actors called the Al Qods Force. The size and strength of this force is shown in Figure III.22. The Al Qods Force is a branch of the IRGC that is assigned to special operations and unconventional warfare, and has had priority in terms of funding, training, and equipment. It plays a major role in giving Iran the ability to conduct unconventional warfare overseas using various foreign movements as proxies, and is thought to be composed of 5-15,000 men. In January 2007, Iran’s Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) decided to place all Iranian operations in Iraq under the command of the Al Qods Force. At the same time, the SNSC decided to increase the personnel strength of the Al Qods to 15,000.53 Exact force The Al Qods Force is under the command of Brigadier General Qassem Soleimani and has supported non-state actors in many foreign countries. These include Hezbollah in Lebanon, Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, Shi’ite militias in Iraq, and Shi’ites in Afghanistan. Links to Sunni extremist groups like Al Qaeda have been reported, but never convincingly confirmed. 52

http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/2010/nea/154461.htm.

53

IntelligenceOnline.com, Tehran Targets Mediterranean, March 10, 2006.

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On January 11, 2007, the director of the Defense Intelligence Agency stated in testimony before the US Senate Select Committee on Intelligence that Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards CorpsQods Force had the lead for its transnational terrorist activities, in conjunction with Lebanese Hezbollah and Iran’s MOIS.54 Other sources believe that the primary mission of the Al Qods Force has been to support Shi’ite movements and militias, and such aid and weapons transfers seem to have increased significantly in the spring of 2007. The Al Qods Force has provided significant transfers of weapons to Shi’ite (and perhaps some Sunni) elements in Iraq. These include the shaped charge components used in some IEDs and the more advanced components used in explosively formed projectiles, including the weapon assembly, copper slugs, radio links used to activate such devices, and the infrared triggering mechanisms. These devices are very similar to those used in Lebanon, and some seem to operate on the same radio frequencies. Shaped charge weapons first began to appear in Iraq in August 2003, but became a serious threat in 2005.55 On January 11, 2007, the US military in Iraq detained five men accused of providing funds and equipment to Iraqi insurgents. According to US military sources, these men had connections to the Al Qods Force.56 On January 20, 2007, gunmen dressed as US soldiers entered the Provincial Joint Coordination Center in Karbala and killed and wounded several US servicemen. According to some sources, including US military intelligence, the gunmen were members of the Al Qods Force. The sophisticated planning and execution of this attack made it unlikely that any Iraqi group was involved in it.57 General David H. Petraeus, the commander of US forces in Iraq at the time, stressed the growing role of the Al Qods Force and the IRGC in testimony to Congress in April 2007. He noted that the US had found Al Qods operatives in Iraq and seized computers with hard drives that included a 22-page document that had details on the planning, approval process, and conduct of an attack that killed five US soldiers in Karbala. Petraeus noted, “They were provided substantial funding, training on Iranian soil, advanced explosive munitions and technologies as well as run-of-the-mill arms and ammunition… in some cases advice and in some cases even a degree of direction… Our sense is that these records were kept so that they could be handed in to whoever it was that is financing them… And again, there’s no question… that Iranian financing is taking place through the Al-Qods force of the Iranian Republican Guards Corps.”58

The Al Qods Force plays a continuing role in training, arming, and funding Hezbollah in Lebanon and to have begun to support Shi’ite militia and Taliban activities in Afghanistan. Experts disagree on the scale of such activity, how much support it has provided to Sunni Maples, Michael D. “Threat Assessment.” Statement of Michael D. Maples Director, Defense Intelligence Agency U.S. Army before the Committee on Senate Select Intelligence, January 11, 2007. 54

55

Gordon, Michael and Shane, Scott. “Iran Supplied Weapons in Iraq.” New York Times. March 26, 2007

56

Defense Department Documents and Publications, Coalition Targets Iranian Influence in Northern Iraq, January 14, 2007. Kaufman, Stephen. “Bush Says Iranian Group Certainly Providing Weapons in Iraq.” February 14, 2007. http://usinfo.state.gov/xarchives/display.html?p=washfileenglish&y=2007&m=February&x=20070214171942esnamfuak0.7028467 57

58

Gertz, Bill. “US General Calls Al Qaeda ‘Public Enemy No. 1’ in Iraq.” Washington Times, April, 27, 2007, p. 4.

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Islamist extremist groups rather than Shi’ite groups, and over the level of cooperation in rebuilding Hezbollah forces in Lebanon since the cease-fire in the Israel-Hezbollah War of 2006. The debates focus on the scale of such activity and the extent to which it has been formally controlled and authorized by the Supreme Leader and the President, however, and not over whether some level of activity has been authorized. The exact relationship between the Al Qods Force, Hamas, and the Palestinian Jihad is speculative. Some Iranian arms shipments have clearly been directed at aiding anti-peace and anti-Israeli elements in the Gaza Strip. There is some evidence of aid in training, weapons, and funding to hostile Palestinian elements in both the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. Open sources do not, however, provide a clear picture of the scale of such activity. Some reports indicate that the budget for the Al Qods Force is classified, directly controlled by the office of Supreme Leader Khamenei, and is not reflected in Iran’s general budget. The active elements of the Al Qods Force operate outside Iran’s borders, although it has bases both inside and outside of Iran. The Al Qods Force’s troops are divided into specific groups or “corps” for each country or area in which they operate. There are Directorates for Iraq; Lebanon, Palestine, and Jordan; Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India; Turkey and the Arabian Peninsula; Asian countries of the former Soviet Union; Western nations (Europe and North America); and North Africa (Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria, Sudan, and Morocco). The Al Qods Force has offices or “sections” in many Iranian embassies, which are closed to most embassy staff. It is not clear whether these are integrated with Iranian intelligence operations or if the ambassador in each embassy has control of, or detailed knowledge of, operations by the Al Qods staff. However, there are indications that most operations are coordinated between the IRGC and offices within the Iranian Foreign Ministry and MOIS. There are separate operational organizations in Lebanon, Turkey, Pakistan, and several North African countries. There are also indications that such elements may have participated in the bombing of the Israeli Embassy in Argentina in 1992 and the Jewish Community Center in Buenos Aires in 1994 – although Iran has strongly denied any involvement in either.59 The Al Qods Force seems to control many of Iran’s training camps for extremists, terrorists, and unconventional warfare in Iran and countries like the Sudan and Lebanon. In Sudan, the Al Qods Force is believed to run a training camp of unspecified nature. It has at least four major training facilities in Iran. The Al Qods Force has a main training center at Imam Ali University that is based in the Sa’dabad Palace in northern Tehran. Troops are trained to carry out military and terrorist operations and are not indoctrinated in ideology. There are other training camps in the Qom, Tabriz, and Mashhad governorates and in Lebanon and the Sudan. These include the Al Nasr camp for training Iraqi Shi’ites and Iraqi and Turkish Kurds in northwest Iran, and a camp near Mashhad for training Afghan and Tajik revolutionaries. The Al Qods Force seems to help operate the Manzariyah training center near Qom, which recruits foreign students in the religious seminary and which seems to have trained some Bahraini extremists. Some foreigners are reported to have received training in demolition 59

New York Times, May 17, 1998, p. A-15; Washington Times, May 17, 1998, p. A-13; Washington Post, May 21, 1998, p. A-29.

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and sabotage at an IRGC facility near Isfahan, in airport infiltration at a facility near Mashhad and Shiraz, and in underwater warfare at an IRGC facility at Bandar-e Abbas.60 Israeli defense experts state they believe the IRGC and the Al Qods Force not only played a major role in training and equipping Hezbollah, but may have assisted it in the Israeli-Hezbollah War in 2006. Israeli intelligence officers claim to have found command and control centers, and a missile and rocket fire-control center in Lebanon that was of Iranian design. They feel the Al Qods Force played a major role in the Hezbollah anti-ship missile attack on and Israeli Navy Sa’ar-class missile patrol boat and that Iran and Syria supported Hezbollah with intelligence from facilities in Syria during the fighting. The Al Qods Force still seems to play a role in dealing with the Sadrists and other hardline Shi’ite forces in Iraq. It also may have helped some elements of the Syrian security forces during the unrest in Syria in 2011. It is often difficult, however, to confirm reports about Al Qods activity, or to separate out its role from other elements of the IRGC and branches of Iranian intelligence, like the Vevak. Some reports of its role seem dubious and others seem to credit the Al Qods Force without clear evidence that it actually has the lead. On October 11, 2011, the Al Qods Force gained attention as a result of its role in planning Iran’s alleged assassination plot against the Saudi ambassador to the US, Adel Al-Jubeir.61 Several members of the Force have been sanctioned by the US for their role in this attempt, and it may reflect a new willingness of Iran to take risks in confronting the US and Arab states.

60

Venter, “Iran Still Exporting Terrorism,” Jane’s Intelligence Review, pp. 511-516

61

Murphy, Brian. “Ambassador Plot Casts Light on Iran’s Strike Force.” Associated Press. October 12, 2011, http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5gLiQoxfIOXE7F7fwGQMaNq1ebqQ?docId=d3a283b005ee493c8703ec2a717dbfd7

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Figure III.22: The Iranian Al Qods Force •

Comprised of 5,000 - 15,000 members of the IRGC (Increased size of force in 2007)

Equivalent of one Special Forces division, plus additional smaller units

Special priority in terms of training and equipment

Plays a major role in giving Iran the ability to conduct unconventional warfare overseas using various foreign movements as proxies

Specialize in unconventional warfare mission

Control many of Iran’s training camps for unconventional warfare, extremists, and terrorists

Has offices or “sections” in many Iranian embassies throughout the world

Through its Al Qods Force, Iran provides aid to Palestinian terrorist groups such as Hamas, Lebanese Hezbollah, Iraq-based militants, and Taliban fighters in Afghanistan.

Despite its pledge to support the stabilization of Iraq, Iranian authorities continued to provide lethal support, including weapons, training, funding, and guidance through its Al Qods Force.

Al Qods Force continues to provide Iraqi and Afghani militants with:

specialized training,

funding,

Iranian-produced advanced rockets,

sniper rifles,

automatic weapons,

mortars,

Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs)

and explosively formed projectiles (EFPs) that have a higher lethality rate than other types of IEDs

Since 2006, Iran has arranged a number of shipments of small arms and associated ammunition, rocket propelled grenades, mortar rounds, 107mm rockets, and plastic explosives, possibly including man-portable air defense systems (MANPADs), to the Taliban.

Israeli defense experts continue to state that they believe the IRGC and Al Qods Force not only played a major role in training and equipping Hezbollah, but may have assisted it during the IsraeliHezbollah War in 2006, and played a major role in the Hezbollah anti-ship missile attack on an Israeli Navy Sa’ar-class missile patrol boat.

The Al Qods Force is widely believed to have been behind the plot to assassinate Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the US, Adel al-Jubeir in 2011.

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The MISIRI, MOIS, or Vevak Iranian intelligence plays a role in Iran’s asymmetric warfare efforts as well. It is far from clear how the structure of Iranian intelligence operates, how clear the separation is from various elements of the IRGC and Al Qods forces, whether there is a clear separation of intelligence from internal security, how the diplomatic covers of Iran’s intelligence arte run, and whether Iran’s massive networks of over organizations, business fronts and use of bribery and intimidation to import weapons, parts, and military technology hangs together. What is clear is that Iran conducts all of these operations in extensive networks overseas, and that its main intelligence branch plays a key role. This branch is called the Ministry of Intelligence and National Security of the Islamic Republic of Iran (MISIRI). It is Iran’s secret police and primary intelligence agency, which are embedded throughout Iranian embassies in Iraq and all over the world, as well as in Iranian commercial, education, NGO, and religious groups). (The MISIRI is more commonly referred to as the VEVAK (Vezarat-e Ettela'at va Amniyat-e Keshvar), VAJA, or MOIS (Ministry of State Intelligence and Security). It is this organization, rather than elements of the IRGC that seems to play a critical role in threatening and sometime killing opponents of regime overseas as well as supporting Iranian efforts use diplomatic covers and most of Iran’s active civilian fronts to support asymmetric warfare at the political level. It was the IRGC, however, that seems to have run the assassination attempt on the Saudi Ambassador in Washington, and the relative roles of the two organizations are uncertain. There also seem to be separate fronts for importing military and nuclear technology dating back in some cases to fronts established during the Iran-Iraq War that are tied to elements in various ministries and sometimes academic institutions. Similar uncertainties exist as to how the intelligence branches, IRGC, and military manage repression and internal security in Iran. They seem to have overlapping functions and each can sometimes play a role in influencing Iran’s civil, military, and security courts, as well as manage its own detention facilities and prisons and use torture and sometimes attacks on both Iranian citizens in Ira and Iranian’s overseas. Repression and intimidation are used to directly support the regime’s ability to ensure there is no internal threat and enhance its ability to operate overseas. As the US State Department report on human right issued on Aril 8, 2011 notes,62 Several agencies share responsibility for law enforcement and maintaining order, including the MOIS, the Law Enforcement Forces under the Interior Ministry, and the IRGC. The Basij and informal groups known as the Ansar-e Hizballah (Helpers of the Party of God) were aligned with extreme conservative members of the leadership and acted as vigilantes. In October 2009 the government announced the merger of the Basij into the IRGC ground forces. While some Basij units received formal training, many units were disorganized and undisciplined. During government-led crackdowns on demonstrations, the Basij were primarily responsible for the violence against the protesters….Corruption and impunity were problems. 62Bureau

of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, “2010 Human Rights Report: Iran”

2010 Country Reports on Human Rights http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/2010/nea/154461.htm.

Practices,

April

8,

2011,

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Regular and paramilitary security forces committed numerous serious human rights abuses, but there were no transparent mechanisms to investigate security force abuses and no reports of government actions to reform the abusers. …The constitution and penal code require a warrant or subpoena for an arrest and state that an arrested person must be informed of charges within 24 hours. Authorities rarely followed these procedures in practice. Authorities held detainees, at times incommunicado, often for weeks or months without charge or trial, frequently denying them prompt contact with family or timely access to legal representation. In practice there was neither a time limit for detention nor judicial means to determine the legality of the detention. According to the law, the state is obligated to provide indigent defendants with attorneys only for certain types of crimes. The courts set prohibitively high bail, even for lesser crimes, and in many cases courts did not set bail. Authorities often compelled detainees and their families to submit property deeds to post bail. Prisoners released on bail did not always know how long their property would be retained or when their trials would be held. The intelligence arm of the IRGC reportedly conducted arrests during the year, sometimes without a warrant. Additionally, security forces executed general warrants to arrest protesters or those perceived as opponents of the government. The use of these general warrants precluded the need for individual warrants. … By law the judiciary is independent from the executive and legislative branches; in practice it remained under the influence of executive and religious government authorities. … In November 2009, according to the ICHRI, security forces arbitrarily arrested scores of students throughout the country in an attempt to stifle protests expected on Students' Day, December 7. For instance, on November 3, media reported that authorities had arrested civil activists and student leaders Hasan Asadi Zaidabadi and Mohammad Sadeghi. Zaidabadi was released in December 2009, and Sadeghi was released after 40 days of detention. There was no information as to whether the two were ever tried. During protests in December 2009 after the death of Grand Ayatollah Hussein-Ali Montazeri and during Ashura celebrations, the ICHRI and IHRV reported that authorities detained between 200 and 1,000 persons, many of whom remained in prison at year's end, some facing death sentences. Death sentences were given to individuals who were accused of moharebeh (see section 1.a.) for participation in Ashura Day protests. On March 17, the ICHRI reported that Revolutionary Court judge Abolqasem Salavati sentenced teacher Abdolreza Ghanbari to death for moharebeh based on his participation in Ashura protests. According to the ICHRI, Ghanbari did not have access to a fair trial nor permission to select a lawyer for his defense. The Prosecutor's Office requested death sentences for at least 11 other individuals arrested during 2009 Ashura celebrations. There were no reports of Iranian-American journalists arrested during the year; however, in 2009 and previous years, security forces arrested several Iranian-American journalists and academics on charges of espionage and "acting against national security." Prison authorities subjected the activists to harsh interrogation techniques and solitary confinement and in most cases kept them in prison for several months. At year's end one academic was free on bail but not permitted to depart the country. …The government often charged individuals with vague crimes such as "antirevolutionary behavior," "moral corruption," "siding with global arrogance," moharebeh, and "crimes against Islam." Prosecutors imposed strict penalties on government critics for minor violations. When postrevolutionary statutes did not address a situation, the government advised judges to give precedence to their knowledge and interpretation of Islamic law. The head of the judiciary chose revolutionary court judges in part due to their ideological commitment to the system. Secret or summary trials of only five minutes' duration frequently occurred. Other trials were deliberately designed to publicize a coerced confession.

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‌ Statistics regarding the number of citizens imprisoned for their political beliefs were not available, but human rights activists estimated the number in the hundreds. Approximately 500 democracy activists and journalists were in detention in Evin Prison alone at year's end. According to opposition press reports, the government arrested, convicted, and executed persons on questionable criminal charges, including drug trafficking, when their actual offenses were reportedly political. The government charged members of religious minorities and others with crimes such as "confronting the regime" and apostasy and followed the same trial procedures as in cases of threats to national security. During the year the government rounded up students, journalists, lawyers, and political activists to silence them or prevent them from organizing protests. Authorities occasionally gave political prisoners suspended sentences or released them for short or extended furloughs prior to completion of their sentences, but they could order them to return to prison at any time. Suspended sentences often were used to silence and intimidate individuals. The government also controlled political activists by temporarily suspending baseless court proceedings against them and allowing authorities to rearrest them at any time, and it attempted to intimidate activists by calling them in repeatedly for questioning. The government issued travel bans on former political prisoners; for instance, authorities continued to prevent former political prisoner Siamak Pourzand from leaving the country to receive medical care and to join his wife, also a former political prisoner, and family abroad. Authorities routinely held political prisoners in solitary confinement for extended periods and denied them due process and access to legal representation. Political prisoners were also at greater risk of torture and abuse in detention. The government did not permit international humanitarian organizations or UN special rapporteurs access to political prisoners. ‌According to multiple sources, the government executed approximately 312 persons in summary executions during the year, many after trials that were conducted in secret or did not adhere to basic principles of due process. Some human rights groups reported the number was as high as 500 but had difficulty documenting the additional cases. Authorities did not release statistics on the implementation of death sentences, the names of those executed, or the crimes for which they were found guilty. Exiles and human rights monitors alleged that many persons supposedly executed for criminal offenses such as narcotics trafficking were actually political dissidents. The law criminalizes dissent and applies the death penalty to offenses such as apostasy (conversion from Islam), "attempts against the security of the state," "outrage against high-ranking officials," "enmity towards god" (moharebeh), and "insults against the memory of Imam Khomeini and against the supreme leader of the Islamic Republic." According to Amnesty International (AI), an increasing number of people were charged with moharebeh, a vaguely defined offense that carries the death sentence. According to Philip Alston, the UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary, or arbitrary executions, moharebeh is "imposed for a wide range of crimes, often fairly ill defined and generally having some sort of political nature." Iran Human Rights (IHR) reported that 38 individuals were executed for the crime of moharebeh during the year. ‌ Common methods of torture and abuse in prisons included prolonged solitary confinement with extreme sensory deprivation (sometimes called "white torture"), beatings, rape and sexual humiliation, long confinement in contorted positions, kicking detainees with military boots, hanging detainees by the arms and legs, threats of execution, burning with cigarettes, pulling out toenails, sleep deprivation, and severe and repeated beatings with cables or other instruments on the back and on the soles of the feet. To intensify abuse, perpetrators reportedly soaked prisoners before beating them with electric cables, and there were some reports of electric shocks to sexual organs. Prisoners also reported beatings on the ears, inducing partial or complete deafness; blows in the area around the eyes, leading to partial or complete blindness; and the use of poison to induce illness. Some prison facilities, including Evin Prison in Tehran, were notorious for cruel and prolonged torture of political opponents of the government. Authorities also maintained unofficial secret prisons and detention centers outside the national prison system where abuse reportedly occurred. The government reportedly

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used white torture especially on political prisoners, often in detention centers outside the control of prison authorities, including Section 209 of Evin Prison.

Unfortunately, any assessment of the role that the MOIS/Vevak and other intelligence elements play in outside Iran in competing with the US and in operating in other countries requires access to sensitive intelligence data. It is clear than Iran has steadily built up cells and networks, and expanded the role of intelligence in its embassies, NGOs, Iranian owned or “cover” business, Iranian oversea workers and groups, religious organizations and charities, and education efforts. It is also clear that some of the supposed Iranian academic groups, journalists, analytics, religious figures, and delegations sent to other countries and involved in second track diplomacy are active intelligence agents. This includes Iranians who act as if they are critics of the regime. This does not mean that the vast majority of Iranians in the opposition or who travel overseas are intelligence operatives, but it does mean that legitimate critics face seriously problems with covert infiltration and intelligence operatives, that the regime routinely uses such covers, and Iranians who are too frank or critical can face punishment on their return to Iran. Similarly, Iranians who are citizens of other countries – particularly those with relative still in Iran – face the threat of pressure or intimidation by such operatives.. It is not clear how these are structured, how well they penetrate into the Arab Gulf and regional states, or how deeply they reach into the US, Europe, Asia, and other areas. One must also be extremely careful of references to the IRGC and Al Qods force; in at least some cases, the actual operative is almost certainly Iranian intelligence.

Other Asymmetric Forces The IRGC, Basij, and Al Qods Force, and MOIS are only part of Iran’s steadily increasing pool of forces – which include elements of its regular armed forces, Vevak, and other elements of its intelligence community and cells within its embassies. The growing regional role of these forces is shown in Figure III.23. The potential impact of Iran’s ties to Hezbollah and to Hamas are shown in Figure III.24 and Figure III.25. •

Figure III.23 shows how the full range of Iranian security efforts work with other states and non-state actors and the expanding presence of Iranian cadres and intelligence elements.

Figure III.24 summarizes Iran’s ties to Hezbollah and its role in Lebanon in cooperation with Syria. Hezbollah is now considerably better armed than in 2006, and has far better defense in depth.

Figure III.25 summarizes Iran’s role in Gaza. Iran is not a key player, but even limited arms shipments allow it to play a spoiler role.

Iran’s use of regional allies and proxies – including non-state actors like Hezbollah and state actors like Syria -- has become a key aspect of Iran’s asymmetric strategy, although these forces are largely independent and Iran has only limited leverage over their behavior. Iranian ties to such proxies and the US’ response to them are discussed in detail later in region-specific chapters, but they merit discussion as a cornerstone of Iran’s asymmetric military strategy in the Middle East. While data on the specific levels of Iranian assistance are incomplete and often inaccurate, there is general agreement that aid levels remain significant. Washington continues to view Iran as the

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foremost state-sponsor of US-designed foreign terrorist organizations (FTO) and non-state proxy organizations opposed to US regional interests.63 In a September 13, 2011 hearing before the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, Matthew G. Olsen, the Director of the National Counterterrorism Center, added:64 “Iran is still the foremost state sponsor, and since 9/11 the regime has expanded its involvement with terrorist and insurgent groups—primarily in Iraq and Afghanistan—that target US and Israeli interests. Iran‘s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods Force and Ministry of Intelligence and Security have been involved in the planning and execution of terrorist acts and the provision of lethal aid—such as weapons, money, and training—to these groups, particularly Lebanese Hizballah.”

On January 31, 2012, the US Director of National Intelligence, James R. Clapper, stated that the Iranian is becoming increasingly bolder in its support for regional proxies, namely the Syrian regime, Hezbollah, and Hamas, as well as various other burgeoning surrogates created in the wake of the Arab Spring.65 More specifically, he stated that, “In its efforts to spread its influence externally, Iran continues to support proxies and surrogates abroad, and it has sought to exploit the Arab Spring but has reaped limited benefits, thus far. Its biggest regional concern is Syria because regime change would be a major strategic loss for Tehran. In Iraq, it probably will continue efforts to strengthen ties to Baghdad and the Kurdistan Regional Government. In Afghanistan, Iran is attempting to undermine any strategic partnership between the United States and Afghanistan.” 66

In addition to Hezbollah in Lebanon, Iran has supplied and trained a number of non-state clients across the region, including Shi’ite militias in Iraq, Afghan insurgents, Hamas in Gaza, and possibly to the Houthi rebels in Yemen. These groups, while weak in comparison to larger conventional forces, provide Iran with the ability to undermine regional governments allied with the US and the West, and, as in the case of Iraq, to harass US forces in active warzones. Iranian proxies (Shi’ite militias and Hezbollah, respectively) continue to undermine the consolidation of potentially pro-Western governments in Iraq and Lebanon, and have allowed Iran to impact their local politics and foreign policy orientations. As such, Iran’s proxies are an effective asymmetric tool for Iran to undermine US regional influence while maximizing its own. Iran’s asymmetric efforts have spread beyond the region. In late 2011 an Iranian plot to assassinate the Saudi Ambassador to the US, Adel al-Jubeir came to light. Additionally, commander of Iran’s navy, Admiral Habibollah Sayyari, announced Iran’s intention to “establish a strong presence near U.S. marine borders” by sending warships to the east coast of the US. 67 63

“Are We Safer?” Hearing Before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. September 13, 2011 http://www.dni.gov/testimonies/20110913_testimonies_olsen.pdf “Are We Safer?” Hearing Before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. September 13, 2011 http://www.dni.gov/testimonies/20110913_testimonies_olsen.pdf 64

James R. Clapper. Unclassified Statement for the Record on the Worldwide Threat Assessment of the US Intelligence Community for the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. January 31, 2012. http://www.dni.gov/testimonies/20120131_testimony_ata.pdf 65

James R. Clapper. Unclassified Statement for the Record on the Worldwide Threat Assessment of the US Intelligence Community for the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. January 31, 2012. http://www.dni.gov/testimonies/20120131_testimony_ata.pdf 66

“Iranian plot to kill Saudi ambassador thwarted, U.S. officials say.” CNN. October 11, 2011. http://articles.cnn.com/2011-10-11/justice/justice_iran-saudi-plot_1_informant-iranian-plot-saudiarabia?_s=PM:JUSTICE 67

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While the immediate implications and intent of these actions and statements are unclear, they are an unmistakable sign that Iran seeks to project its asymmetric reach beyond the Middle East, or at least appear to be capable of doing so. DNI Clapper’s testimony of January 31, 2012 reflects the growing concern amongst US officials that Iran is increasingly willing to escalate its asymmetric competition with the US by striking at US interests or personnel overseas:68 The 2011 plot to assassinate the Saudi Ambassador to the United States shows that some Iranian officials— probably including Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei—have changed their calculus and are now more willing to conduct an attack in the United States in response to real or perceived US actions that threaten the regime. We are also concerned about Iranian plotting against US or allied interests overseas. Iran’s willingness to sponsor future attacks in the United States or against our interests abroad probably will be shaped by Tehran’s evaluation of the costs it bears for the plot against the Ambassador as well as Iranian leaders‟ perceptions of US threats against the regime.

James R. Clapper. Unclassified Statement for the Record on the Worldwide Threat Assessment of the US Intelligence Community for the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. January 31, 2012. http://www.dni.gov/testimonies/20120131_testimony_ata.pdf 68

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Figure III.23: Iranian Use of Other States and Non-State Actors

Iranian Actors

Revolutionary Guards Related State/ Non-State Actors

Vevak/other intelligence

Iran

Al Qods Force

Syria

Arms transfers

Hezbollah

Target/Country Where Operating Iraq Lebanon Israel West Bank/Gaza

Military and security Advisors

Hamas

Yemen? Egypt

Commercial training

Mahdi Army, Promised Day Brigades Special Groups

Finance/investment

Yemeni “Shi’ites”?

Bahrain

Investment/training companies

Bahrani Shi’ites?

Afghanistan

Afghan Hazara?

Venezuela

Clerics, pilgrims, shrines

Education: scholarships, teachers

Kuwait

Saudi “Shi’ites”

Cultural exchanges Athletic visits

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Figure III.24: Iran and the Hezbollah •

Hezbollah was originally formed in 1982 by Iranian seminarians.

Iran’s aid packages (arms and money) to Hezbollah are said to exceed $100 million per year.

Iran has gone from supplying small arms, short-range missiles and training to providing more sophisticated long-range missiles and other higher-end weaponry

Iran exported thousands of 122-mm rockets and Fajr-4 and Fajr-5 long-range rockets to Hezbollah in Lebanon, including the Arash with a range of 21–29 kilometers.

Between 1992 and 2005, Hezbollah received approximately 11,500 missiles and rockets; 400 shortand medium-range pieces of artillery; and Aresh, Nuri, and Hadid rockets and transporters/launchers from Iran.

In 2005, Iran sent Hezbollah a shipment of large Uqab missiles with 333-millimeter warheads and an enormous supply of SA-7 and C-802 missiles, two of which were used in an attack on an Israeli ship.

Iran also supplied Hezbollah with an unknown number of UAV’s, the Mersad, that Hezbollah briefly flew over the Israel-Lebanon border on November 7, 2004, and April 11, 2005; at least three were shot down by Israel during the summer 2006 war.

Iran supplied Hezbollah advanced surface-to-air missiles, including Strela-2/2M, Strela-3, Igla-1E, and the Mithaq-1. The same missiles were reported to have been used to target Israeli helicopters.

During Hezbollah’s summer 2006 war with Israel, Iran resupplied the group’s depleted weapons stocks.

Hezbollah has recovered from its 2006 confrontation with Israel and has been able to rearm and regroup, and Iran has been an important part of that recovery.

Various Types of Rockets, reportedly increasing its stockpile to 27,000 rockets, more than double what Hezbollah had at the start of the 2006 war.

Among the deliveries were 500 Iranian-made “Zelzal” (Earthquake) missiles with a range of 186 miles, enough to reach Tel Aviv from south Lebanon. Syria may have delivered Scuds.

Fighting in Lebanon in 2006 seems to have increased Hezbollah’s dependence on Iran. Both Hezbollah’s loss of weapons and fighters in the conflict with Israel and the resulting damage to its reputation and position within Lebanon made it more reliant upon Iran.

Elements of Hezbollah planned attacks in Egyptian Sinai; operate in Iraq

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Figure III.25: Iran and Hamas •

Iran openly supported Hamas and spoke out against the lack of support for Hamas by Arab regimes throughout the Middle East during engagements between the IAF and Hamas in late 2008 and early 2009 in Gaza.

Iran provided training, arms and logistical support to Hamas during the fighting in Gaza between Israeli forces and Hamas militants in late December 2008 and early January 2009.

Israeli intelligence sources continued to report Iranian efforts to rearm Hamas after a ceasefire agreement was reached in January 2009.

Arms transfers come through Sudan and Sinai.

Level of Iranian financial support uncertain

In February 2012, the Prime Minister of Hamas, Ismail Haniya, visited Iran. The visit likely reflects the continued good relations and ties between both entities, as well as Iran’s continuing support to Hamas.

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“Closing the Gulf:” Iran’s Real World Military Options for Asymmetric Warfare Iran’s recent threats to “close the Gulf” provide another tangible illustration of Iran’s asymmetric warfare capabilities. In late December 2011 and early January 2012, Iran carried out military drills in the Gulf to demonstrate its stated capability to close the Strait of Hormuz, made threatening statements about the presence of the US’ 5th Fleet in the region, and the Iranian parliament is considering a bill that would prohibit the presence of foreign warships in the Gulf without the permission of the Iranian navy.6970 

"Should the enemies desire to use the method and spirit of threats, we will naturally also threaten them . The (military) exercise by the armed forces of the Islamic Republic of Iran's Islamic Revolution, in fact, expresses the will to act against various types of threats that are targeting our national security." - Hossein Salami, Revolutionary Guards Deputy, February 7, 2012. http://www.farsnews.com/newstext.php?nn=13901118000917

“[T]he recent statements made by the US and the West about the Strait of Hormuz shows that they are frightened by the awe of the (Islamic) Revolution, otherwise the Iranian nation considers the Strait of Hormuz as the strait of peace. However, the Iranian nation is determined to cut the hand of those who seek adventurism in the Persian Gulf, the Sea of Oman and the Strait of Hormuz." – Ali Larijani, Speaker of Iranian Parliament, February 1, 2012. http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.php?nn=9010173255

“Tehran will not remain indifferent to US mischief in the region if Washington tries to cause problems for regional countries. The Strait of Hormuz is a region of peace and Iran has protected its peace for centuries and will continue to do so in order to maintain calm in it,”-Ali Larijani, Speaker of Iranian Parliament, January 31, 2012. http://www.presstv.ir/detail/223919.html

“Tehran will not remain indifferent to US mischief in the region if Washington tries to cause problems for regional countries. The Strait of Hormuz is a region of peace and Iran has protected its peace for centuries and will continue to do so in order to maintain calm in it,”-Ali Larijani, Speaker of Iranian Parliament, January 31, 2012. http://www.presstv.ir/detail/223919.html

"The US has given a role to Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey to direct the regional developments in a way that they move towards these countries' interests in line with the US policies and opposite to Iran's policies. Owing to the fact that Iran's Islamic Revolution serves as a role model for the regional and world nations in their fight against the tyranny of their rulers and arrogant powers, the US and its allies are attempting to prevent Tehran's further political influence in the region.” - Major General Yahya Rahim Safavi, Senior Military Aide to the Supreme Leader, January 31, 2012. http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.php?nn=9010173133

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CNN Wire Staff. “Iran Warns U.S. Over Aircraft Carrier.” CNN, January 3, 2011, http://articles.cnn.com/201201-03/middleeast/world_meast_iran-u-s-_1_chabahar-iran-last-week-irna?_s=PM:MIDDLEEAST 70

Abbate, Kenneth. “Iran Prepares Bill to Bar Foreign Warships from Persian Gulf.” Washington Post.” Washington Post, January 4, 2011, http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle_east/iran-prepares-bill-to-bar-foreignwarships-from-persian-gulf/2012/01/04/gIQAhlWYaP_story.html?tid=wp_ipad

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"The United States did not dare to direct its aircraft carrier through the Strait of Hormuz alone; this is why the carrier was "escorted" by military vessels of other nations. If the Strait is closed, the aircraft carriers will become the war booty of Iran." - Javad Karimi Qodousi, parliamentary National Security Committee member, January 24, 2012. http://www.isna.ir/ISNA/NewsView.aspx?ID=News-1935908&Lang=P

“There is no decision to block and close the Strait of Hormuz unless Iran is threatened seriously and somebody wants to tighten the noose. All the options are on the table.” - Mohammad Khazaee, Iranian Ambassador to the United Nations, January 19, 2012. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-01-19/iran-s-un-envoy-says-closing-strait-of-hormuz-is-an-optionif-threatened.html

"Our capability to provide security in the region, specially the Strait of Hormuz during sensitive times, will not experience any change due to the western warships' trafficking in the region." -Gholam Reza Karami, Iranian lawmaker and Chairman of the Parliamentary Defense Committee, January 16, 2012. http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.php?nn=9010171403

"Today the Islamic Republic of Iran has full domination over the region and controls all movements within it." - Navy Rear Admiral Ali Fadavi, Commander of Iran's Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), January 6, 2012. http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.php?nn=9007270592 

"The Zolfaqar vessel is considered as a new model of the vessels of the same class which is capable of conducting operations in different marine conditions thanks to its sea-to-sea missiles and proper speed. The sea-to-sea cruise missile with high destructive capability and targeting power has immensely increased the vessel's power." -Brigadier General Ahmad Vahidi , Iranian Defense Minister, January 2, 2012. http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.php?nn=9007279956

“Iran has total control over the strategic waterway. Closing the Strait of Hormuz is very easy for Iranian naval forces.” -Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari, Iran’s naval commander, December 28, 2011. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/29/world/middleeast/noise-level-rises-over-iran-threat-to-close-strait-ofhormuz.html?_r=2

“If they impose sanctions on Iran’s oil exports, then even one drop of oil cannot flow from the Strait of Hormuz.” - Mohammad-Reza Rahimi, Iran’s first vice president, December 27, 2011. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/28/world/middleeast/iran-threatens-to-block-oil-route-if-embargo-isimposed.html?pagewanted=all

“Closure of the Strait of Hormuz is not on the Islamic Republic of Iran's agenda (at present), but if threats against Iran come to trample upon the rights of our nation while others use the strait for exporting their oil, then Iran will be entitled to the right to close the Strait of Hormuz. The international conventions reserve such rights for the Islamic Republic of Iran as well. For the time being, the Islamic Republic of Iran has not decided to close the strait, but this (closing the strait) depends on the conditions of the region." Mohammad Taqi Rahbar, Iranian lawmaker, December 19, 2011. http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.php?nn=9007277986

"According to the international laws, including Paragraph 4 of Article 14 of the Geneva Convention, in case Iranian oil is sanctioned, we will not allow even a single barrel of oil to pass through to reach the hostile countries". -Isa Jafari, Senior Iranian lawmaker, December 18, 2011. http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.php?nn=9007277872

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The Potential Strategic, Energy, and Global Economic Impacts of the Iranian Threat Iran began to issue these threats in late 2011 and did so at a time that illustrates just how complex the mix of US and Iranian competition can be in the diplomatic, economic, and military dimensions. Iran backed its threats with a series of major naval exercises inside and outside the Gulf. It acted at time its nuclear programs were moving steadily closer to the point where Iran would have a “threshold” capability to make nuclear weapons, and Iran was moving its Uranium enrichment facilities into a deep mountain shelter near Fordow. The US and EU in turn were imposing far stronger sanctions that threatened to cripple Iran’s economy. Israel was suspected of assassinating Iranian nuclear scientists, and possibly sabotaging Iranian nuclear and missile sites. Iran was suspected of plotting to kill the Saudi Ambassador to the US and of bombings of Israeli diplomats. A power struggle was going on over the future of Syria between an Iran backing Assad and Arab world that largely called for him to leave. The US and Iran were competing for influence over Iraq. And, a new round of public debaters were taking place over whether Israeli might strike Iran to prevent it from acquiring nuclear weapons. These conditions illustrate the growing complexity and seriousness of US and Iranian competition, and role that asymmetric forces can have even if they are only used as threat. Iran’s illustrate its growing to threaten or attack US, Arab Gulf, and European interests – the most important of which is the flow of Gulf petroleum exports to the global economy. These realities are sometimes disguised in the case of the US by politics and polices that claim the US can eliminate its strategic dependence on energy imports. In practice, however, this is a hollow, politically motivated set of goals and claims that has gone on – without any meaningful strategic impact – since the Nixon Administration. The more recent efforts of the Bush and Obama Administrations have been no more credible or honest than those of their predecessors. They have no near and mid-term prospect of having any more impact, and will do nothing to reduce the need for US strategic commitments to deterring and containing Iran and other threats to the Gulf region. As Figure III.26, shows, estimates by the Energy Information Agency of the US Department of Energy indicate that the US will remain dependent on major energy imports through 2035 – the furthest period for which the EIA makes such estimates. Moreover, while US is not currently a major direct importer of Gulf oil, but it does have to pay world prices for oil and any reduction in global supply raises prices. Moreover, the US is deeply tied to a global economy dependent on the flow of Gulf energy exports to Europe and Asia and to manufactured imports that require such oil and gas exports. Like wheat and other global commodities, the strategic importance of oil exports is not dependent on whether petroleum goes from one nation to another at any given time, but rather it is dependent on the supply of the overall global market and balance of supply and demand. While the volume of Gulf exports varies according to demand and the state of the global economy, the US Energy Information Agency estimated in January 2011 that the Strait of Hormuz, which is located between Oman and Iran, is the world's most important oil chokepoint. 102


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Some 15.5 to 17 million barrels a day have flowed through the Strait to world markets in recent years, or some 30% of global petroleum exports. This has been 33% to 40% of all seaborne traded oil, and some 17% of all oil traded worldwide, and these percentages ignore a substantial trade in liquid gas. Saudi Arabia can export another 4.5 million barrels a day of crude and 2 million barrels a day of NGL and products through the Yanbu’ terminal on the Red Sea, but this pipeline is already in use and does not represent surplus capacity. Iraq has one major crude oil export pipeline, the Kirkuk-Ceyhan (Iraq-Turkey) pipeline, which transports oil from the north of Iraq to the Turkish Mediterranean port of Ceyhan. This pipeline has a capacity of around 300,000 barrels a day, but has been subject to repeated disruptions this decade, limiting exports from the northern fields. However, Iraq has signed an agreement with Turkey to extend the operation of the 1.6 million barrels per day pipeline, as well as to upgrade its capacity by 1 million barrels per day. This will add a total additional capacity of over 7 million barrels per day to the flow through the Strait of Hormuz. The end result is that the US politics of calling for “energy independence” have little – if any – impact on either US threat perceptions or plans for the defense of the Gulf. In practice, US national security planners accept the fact that the Gulf is and will remain is the location of a strategically vital share of the world’s petroleum resources. Figure III.27 shows the importance of this aspect of US and Iranian military competition will increase indefinitely into the future. Both the US Energy Information Agency and International Energy Agency estimate there will be a steady increase in Gulf production capacity through 2030 – rising from some 25 million barrels a day of capacity in 2008 to some 35 million in 2035. The EIA report on the International Energy Outlook for 2010 estimates that Gulf oil production capacity will rise from 28 of the world total today to 31% in 2035 and do so in spite of major increases in production in other areas and in liquids from alternative fuels. The Strait of Hormuz has become the symbol of this US and global dependence on energy exports, although it is only one military center of gravity among many affecting the flow of exports. In a report issued in January 2012, the Energy Information Agency of the US Department of Energy reported that a daily oil flow of almost 17 million barrels moved through the Strait of Hormuz in 2011, up from between 15.5-16.0 million barrels a day in 2009-2010. The flows through the Strait were roughly 35 percent of all seaborne traded oil in 2011, or almost 20 percent of oil traded worldwide.71 This EIA report was issued at a time when Iran was making a new set of threats to “close the Gulf” in reaction to the new and far stronger sanctions legislation being passed in the US and EU.72 On average, 14 crude oil tankers per day passed through the Strait in 2011, with a DOE/EIA, “World Oil Transit Chokepoints,” http://www.eia.gov/cabs/world_oil_transit_chokepoints/full.html. 71

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Brian Murphy, “Iran's Roar Shows Widening Sway of Military,” Associated Press,

January 11, 2012; By the Editors, “ An Oil Strategy in Case Iran’s Navy Shuts Down the Strait of Hormuz: View, Bloomberg, Jan 11, 2012. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-01-12/an-oil-strategy-in-caseirans-navy-shutsdown-the-strait-of-hormuz-view.html.

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corresponding amount of empty tankers entering to pick up new cargos. More than 85 percent of these crude oil exports went to Asian markets, with Japan, India, South Korea, and China representing the largest destinations. 73 It is important to stress that Iran can threaten this traffic at many points inside the Gulf, and outside the Strait of Hormuz. The Strait, however, does force all shipping activity to move through a very narrow target area both in the Straits and on either side, particularly in the areas where the shipping channels pass by Iranian’s held islands to the west of the Strait.. The Strait is deep and wide enough to handle the world's largest crude oil tankers, with about two-thirds of oil shipments carried by tankers in excess of 150,000 deadweight tons. At its narrowest point, however, the Strait is 21 miles wide, but the width of the shipping lane in either direction is only two miles, separated by a two-mile buffer zone. The Energy Information Agency report notes that,74 Closure of the Strait of Hormuz would require the use of longer alternate routes at increased transportation costs. Alternate routes include the 745 mile long Petroline, also known as the East- West Pipeline, across Saudi Arabia from Abqaiq to the Red Sea. The East-West Pipeline has a nameplate capacity of about 5 million bbl/d. The Abqaiq-Yanbu natural gas liquids pipeline, which runs parallel to the Petroline to the Red Sea, has a 290,000-bbl/d capacity. Additional oil could also be pumped north via the Iraq-Turkey pipeline to the port of Ceyhan on the Mediterranean Sea, but volumes have been limited by the closure of the Strategic pipeline linking north and south Iraq.

But, it is important to note that it is not the Strait that is important but the secure flow of petroleum exports. Iran can attack or impede this flow from anywhere within the Gulf. Moreover, there is little near to mid-term possibility that the world’s dependence on the Strait will be reduced to any meaningful sense. Iraq has sought to negotiate an agreement with Turkey to extend the operation of the 1.6 million barrels per day pipeline, as well as to upgrade its capacity by 1 million barrels per day. The United Arab Emirates is also completing an Abu Dhabi Crude Oil Pipeline with a capacity of the 1.5 million barrels per day that will cross the emirate of Abu Dhabi and end at the port of Fujairah just south of the Strait. Other alternate routes could include the deactivated 1.65 million barrels a day Iraqi Pipeline across Saudi Arabia (IPSA), and the deactivated 0.5 million barrels a day Tapline to Lebanon. 75 The effect of such changes, however, will be limited even when they are complete and will be largely offset by future increases in Gulf exports. Both the U.S. EIA and International Energy Agency (IEA) estimate there will be a steady increase in Gulf production capacity through 2030 – rising from some 25 million barrels a day of capacity in 2008 to some 35 million in 2035. The EIA report on the International Energy Outlook for 2010 estimates that Gulf oil production

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DOE/EIA, “World Oil Transit Chokepoints,” http://www.eia.gov/cabs/world_oil_transit_chokepoints/full.html.

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2011,

:DOE/EIA, “World Oil Transit Chokepoints,” http://www.eia.gov/cabs/world_oil_transit_chokepoints/full.html.

December

30,

2011,

75

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capacity will rise from 28 of the world total today to 31% in 2035 and do so in spite of major increases in production in other areas and in liquids from alternative fuels.76 This helps explain why senior US, Israel, Arab, European, and other policymakers actually do share a common perception that that the global economy is critically dependent on the stable flow of Gulf oil exports. The politics of calling for “energy independence” have little – if any – impact on either U.S. threat perceptions or plans for the defense of the Gulf. In practice, U.S. national security planners accept the fact that the Gulf is and will remain is the location of a strategically vital share of the world’s petroleum resources.

U.S. Energy Information Administration, “International Energy Outlook 2010.” ftp://ftp.eia.doe.gov/forecasting/0484%282010%29.pdf 76

July 2010.

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Figure III.26: Estimated US Dependence on Petroleum Imports: 1970-2035 (In Millions of Barrels Per Day, Reference Case)

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Annual Energy Outlook 2012 Early Release Overview, EIA/DOE, January 2012, p. 1, http://www.eia.gov/forecasts/aeo/er/.

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Figure III.27: Growing Strategic Importance of Gulf Petroleum production: 2007-2035 In Millions of Barrels Per Day

Source: EIA, ”Reference Case,” International Energy Outlook, 2011, pp. 229, 231

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Iran’s Growing Military Assets for Such a Mission As the previous analysis has shown, the Iranian military establishment and the IRGC is steadily acquiring the kind of military assets that can halt or obstruct Gulf shipping and threaten the US’ superior conventional naval forces in the region. Although US conventional power would defeat Iranian forces in a protracted conflict, Iran’s arsenal of smart munitions, anti-ship cruise missiles (ASCMs), submarines, mines, and fast-attack craft potentially could inflict significant losses on US and allied forces and disrupt Gulf shipping in a surprise attack. There is no one scenario Iran would have to use in “closing the Gulf.” Iran might actually try to use all of its assets to close the Gulf, but this would almost force the US, its Southern Gulf allies, Britain, and France into an all-out attack on Iran’s conventional and asymmetric forces, and quite probably trigger a much broader set of attacks on Iran’s nuclear, missile, and military production facilities. Such a war would also cut Iran off from exporting its own petroleum and from critical imposts – including food, refined petroleum products, and manufactured goods. Iran has far smaller economic reserves than the Southern Gulf states and is already vulnerable to being shut out of the world banking system. In contrast, Iran has a host of different tools it could use to threaten traffic through the Gulf, harass shipping, carry sporadic “anonymous” or semi-deniable attacks, or conduct a careful campaign of attrition designed to keep up constant pressure but remain below the threshold that would provoke or justify a massive US-led campaign. If Iran stayed away from the Strait, it could also carry out such a campaign without threatening its own ability to export and import, and could seek the “weakest link” in the Southern Gulf to attack. Iran could play both a “short” and a “long” game – peaking its actions when this suited its interest, reducing or halting them if they became too provocative, and constantly changing its approach and tactics. This would also force the US and Southern Gulf states into a constant state of military alert and tension, greatly raising the cost to them ion countering Iran.

Iran’s Submarines and Submersibles Iran’s most modern assets for challenging US conventional power in the Gulf and closing the Strait include submarines, surface craft, mines, anti-ship missiles, and a number of other systems777879

Gunzinger, Mark and Dougherty, Chris. “Outside-In: Operating from Range to Defeat Iran’s Anti-Access and Area-Denial Threats.” Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments. January 17, 2012. http://www.csbaonline.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/CSBA_SWA_FNL-WEB.pdf 77

78

Binnie, Jeremy. “Iran Flexes Sea Denial Muscles.” Jane’s Defence Weekly. January 5, 2012.

Richardson, Doug. “Iran Test-fires Missiles During ‘Velayat 90’ Naval Exercise.” Jane’s Missiles & Rockets. January 6, 2012. 79

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Submarines8081 Iran has attempted of offset some of the weaknesses of its major surface forces by obtaining three Type 877EKM Kilo-class submarines. The Kilo is a relatively modern and quiet submarine that first became operational in 1980. The Iranian Kilos are Type 877EKM export versions that are about 10 meters longer than the original Kilos and are equipped with advanced command and control systems. Each Type 877EKM has a teardrop hull coated with anechoic tiles to reduce noise. It displaces approximately 3,076 tons when submerged, and 2,325 tons when surfaced. It is approximately 72.6 meters long, 9.9 meters in beam, has a draught of 6.6 meters, and is powered by three 1,895 horsepower generator sets, one 5,900 shaft horsepower electric motor, and one six-bladed propeller. It has a complement of 52 men and an endurance of 45 days. Its maximum submerged speed is 17 knots, and its maximum surface speed is 10 knots. Each Kilo has six 530-mm torpedo tubes, including two wire-guided torpedo tubes. Only one torpedo can be wire guided at a time. The Kilo can carry a mix of 18 homing and wire-guided torpedoes or 24 mines. Russian torpedoes are available with ranges of 15-19 kilometers, speeds of 29-40 kn0ots, and warheads with 100-, 205-, and 305-kilogram weights. Their guidance systems include active sonar homing, passive homing, wire guidance, and active homing. Some reports indicate that Iran bought over 1,000 modern Soviet mines along with the Kilos and that the mines were equipped with modern magnetic, acoustic, and pressure sensors. The Kilo has a remote anti-aircraft launcher with one preloaded missile in the sail, and Soviet versions have six SA-M-5 (Igla/SA-16) surface-to-air missiles stored inside. However, Russia supplied Iran only with the SA-14 (Strela). It can be modernized to carry Chinese YJ-1 or Russian Novator Alfa surface-to-surface missiles. The Kilo has a maximum surface speed of 10 knots, a maximum submerged speed of about 17 knots, a minimum submerged operating depth of about 30 meters, an operation diving depth of 240 meters, and a maximum diving depth of 300 meters. The submarine also has a surface cruise range of 3,000-6,000 nautical miles and a submerged cruise range of 400 nautical miles – depending on speed and combat conditions. Iran could use its submarines to strike against US naval forces, attack commercial vessels, and lay mines. Iran’s ability to use its Kilo-class submarines to deliver mines and fire long-range wake-homing torpedoes give it a potential capability to strike in ways that make it difficult to detect or attack the submarine. Mines can be laid covertly in critical areas before a conflict, and the mines can be set to active and deactivate at predetermined intervals in ways that make mining difficult to detect and sweep. Long-range homing torpedoes can be used against tanker-sized targets at ranges in excess of 10 kilometers and to attack slow-moving combat ships that are not on alert and/or that lack sonars and countermeasures. o

877EKM “Kilo”

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Number in Service: 3 Speed: 17 kts Max Depth: 300 m Armament: 6 x 533 mm torpedo tubes; 18 torpedoes, or 24 mines

Iran does face significant operational problems in using its submarines in local waters, although not in most of the Gulf of Oman, or in the Arabian Sea and the Indian Ocean. Many areas of the Gulf do not favor submarine operations. The Gulf is about 241,000 square kilometers in area and stretches 990 kilometers from the Shatt al-Arab to the Straits of Hormuz. It is about 340 kilometers wide at its maximum width and about 225 kilometers wide for most of its length. While heat patterns disturb surface sonars, they also disturb submarine sonars, and the advantage to be slightly in favor of sophisticated surface ships and maritime patrol craft. The deeper parts of the gulf are noisy enough to make ASW operations difficult, but large parts of the Gulf – including much of the southern Gulf on a line from Al Jubail across the tip of Qatar to about half way up the UAE – are less than 20 meters deep. The water is deeper on the Iranian side, but the maximum depth of the Gulf – located about 30 kilometers south of Qeys Island – is still only 88 meters. This means that no point in the Gulf is deeper than the length of an SN-688 nuclear submarine. The keel to tower height of such a submarine alone is 16 meters. Even smaller coastal submarines have maneuver and bottom suction problems, cannot hide in thermoclines, or take advantage of diving for concealment or self-protection. This may explain why Iran is planning to relocate its submarines from Bandar Abbas inside the Gulf, to Chah Bahar in the Gulf of Oman, and is deepening the naval facility at Chah Bahar.82 The Strait of Hormuz at the entrance to the Gulf is about 180 kilometers long, but has a minimum width of 39 kilometers. In many areas, and only the two deep-water channels are suitable for major surface ship or submarine operations. Furthermore, a limited flow of fresh water and high evaporation makes the Gulf extremely salty. This creates complex underwater currents in the main channels at the Strait of Hormuz and complicates both submarine operations and submarine detection. There are some areas in the Strait and the Gulf with considerable noise, but not of a type that masks submarine noise from sophisticated ASW detection systems of the kind operated by the US and the UK. Additionally, the minimum operating depth of the Kilo is 45 meters, and the limited depth of the area around the Straits can make submarine operations difficult. Submarines are easier to operate in the Gulf of Oman, which is noisy enough to make ASW operations difficult, but such deployments would expose the Kilos to operations by US and British nuclear attack submarines. It is unlikely that Iran’s Kilos could survive for any length of time if hunted by a US or British Navy air-surface SSN (nuclear submarine) hunter-killer team.83 In any case, the effectiveness of Iran’s submarines will depend heavily on the degree of US involvement in ASW operations. The Arab Gulf navies only have token ASW capability. If the 82

Jane’s Fighting Ships, 2002-2003, pp. 336-343.

83

See David Miller, “Submarines in the Gulf,” Military Technology, 6/93, pp. 42-45; David Markov, “More Details Surface of Rubin’s ‘Kilo’ Plans.” Jane’s Intelligence Review, May 1997, pp. 209-215.

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Kilos do not face the US-led ASW forces, they could operate in or near the Gulf with considerable impunity. If they did face US-led forces, they might be able to attack a few tankers or conduct some mining efforts, but are unlikely to survive extended combat. This makes the Kilos a weapon that may be more effective in threatening Gulf shipping, or as a remote minelayer, than in naval combat. Certainly, Iran’s purchase of the Kilos has already received close attention from the Southern Gulf states, and convinced them that they must take Iran more seriously. In January-February 2012, Rear Admiral Farhad Amiri of the Iranian navy claimed that Iran was designing and producing two new indigenously developed submarines, the Fateh-class (500 tons) and the Be’sat-class (12,000 tons).84 These claims, however, cannot be verified, and it is unclear, and it is unknown whether or not Iran will field these assets. They do, however, reflect the importance Iranian military personnel place on submarines as a potential asset to counter or upset US naval presence in the region. Midget Submarines 8586 Iran’s “midget” submarines represent another asset in the IRGC Navy’s asymmetric doctrine. They are small, unobtrusive, and can operate in shallower waters than the much larger Kilo. While they are relatively unsophisticated in comparison to larger, more modern submarines, their small size and low noise profile can be used launch surprise attacks on US forces and covertly lay mines o

IS-120 Ghadir “midget” submarine  Number in Service: 19  Displacement: 120 tons  Speed: 11 kts surfaced/8 kts submerged  Max Depth: Unknown  Armament: 2 x 533 mm torpedoes. Can carry mines instead of torpedoes. Some reporting indicates that MANPADs are carried aboard.  Electronics: I Band surface search or navigation  Sonar: Active/Passive

o

Nahong-class:  Number in Service: 1  Displacement: 100 tons  Speed: 8kts  Max Depth: 200 m  Armament: 2 x 533 mm torpedoes in drop collars. Can also carry 4 MDM-6 or EM-52 smart mines.  Electronics: Surface search or navigation radar.  Sonar: Bow-mounted active/passive sonar.  EW: ESM mast similar to Russian “Stop Light” type. Note: The Nahong is reportedly stationed in the Caspian Sea, but can be transported overland to the Gulf.

84

Binnie, Jeremy. “Iranian sub fleet continues to expand.” Jane’s Defence Weekly. February 16, 2012.

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While they would be unable to survive for any considerable length of time if they engaged prepared US forces, these small submarines can be widely dispersed, used without warning against targets without ASW capability or that seem to lack readiness. They do pose a threat to US forces or unprotected commercial craft in a limited asymmetric campaign or the opening stages of a major conflict. Importantly, it must be noted that the modern South Korean ASW corvette sunk by North Korea in 2010, the Cheonan, is thought to have been sunk by a North Koran Yono-class submarine, on which both the Nahong-class and the Ghadir are based.87 Consequently, it is clear that these vessels are capable of posing a serious threat to betterequipped, more advanced forces. Swimmer Delivery Vehicles (SDVs) 8889 The full capabilities of Iran’s SDVs are not fully described in open source reporting. It is likely that their primary purpose is reconnaissance, sabotage, and the insertion of special operations soldiers and combat divers. They are likely restricted to short-range, coastal operations. Although it appears that their capability to threaten US forces directly are limited given their lack of armament and range, their small size and ability to elude detection render them potentially dangerous in a an asymmetric campaign, particularly in a sabotage capacity. o o

Al-Sabehat 15:  Number in Service: 10 (est.)  Armament: Up to 17 limpet mines Ghavasi-class “Chariot”:  Number in Service: 1  Armament: Unknown. Possibly limpet mines carried by combat divers, or a single 533 mm torpedo.

Iran’s Bases and Other Assets for “Closing the Gulf” Iran’s submarines are only a small part of the assets it can use. While some analysis seems almost obsessed with combat at or near the Strait of Hormuz, Iran has naval bases, and small military, civil, and contingency facilities in many places in the Gulf and outside it in the Gulf of Oman. Quite aside from the Strait of Hormuz, it has the ability to operate from range of islands near the main shipping channels in the Gulf, including Sirri and three islands it has seized from the UAE: Abu Musa and the Greater and Lesser Tumbs. Iranian Military Installations in the Gulf90 The numerous coastal and island facilities from which Iran could launch an asymmetric campaign to attempt to deny US forces access to the Gulf, or impede or halt commercial traffic include the following bases and facilities: o

Bandar-e Khomeini (30°25'41.42"N, 49° 4'50.18"E)

87

“South Korea Confirms North’s Torpedo Sank Warship.” Malaysian National News Agency. May 21, 2010.

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The exact naval/military presence at Bandar-e Khomeini is unknown, and there does not appear to be one. However, given the this facility’s strategic location, it likely has a military dimension.

o

Bandar-e Mahshahr (30°29'43.62"N, 49°12'23.91"E)  This base is largely limited to housing patrol boats speedboats, some of which are armed with anti-ship missiles and torpedoes. As of June 30, 2009, its observable assets include the following:  3 IPS-16 Paykaap  5 Bavar  1 IPS-18 Tir  7 battle-ready speedboats  30+ non-battle-ready speedboats  1 Mk III patrol boat  2 unknown patrol boats  5-6 unidentified support/patrol boats

o

Khorramshahr (30°26'2.71"N, 48°11'34.25"E)  Khorramshahr is the former headquarters of the Imperial Iranian Navy, and it is currently overseen and controlled by the IRGC-owned Shahid Mousavi industries group. It is the home to extensive repair and overhaul facilities of the IRGC Navy.

o

Kharg Island (29°14'48.01"N, 50°19'48.88"E)  Kharg Island is the home of one of Iran’s largest and most valuable petrochemical facilities. Its harbors are located alongside the protected eastern shore of the island with three observable individual harbors, though the other harbors are likely capable of hosting ships as well, and due to its strategic position, the island as a whole is probably capable of hosting much larger ships then what is visible. Kharg’s visible naval assets are composed of medium-large sized fast-attack crafts (FACs) such as several unknown types such as a Thondar look-alike, but with smaller rear-mounted missiles and a different bridge. There are also four more FAC or patrol boat of an unknown type. In the same harbor, there are a number of high-quality speedboats. Three are also a number of other military installations on the island, including a HAWK battery as well as several HQ-2 SAM systems of questionable operability. As of March 4, 2004, observable assets at the base include the following:  4 unknown patrol boats  20+ speedboats  1 unknown FAC

o

Bandar-e Bushehr (28°58'2.58"N, 50°51'50.74"E)  This facility houses major assets of both the Iranian Navy and the IRGCN, as well as several of Iran’s larger corvette-sized vessels. It also serves as a storage and repair/overhaul facility for Iran’s naval assets. Bandar-e Bushehr is also the home base for two of the IRIN’s Bayandor-class corvettes, one of which is the IRIS 82 Naqdi, which has been refitted with two C-802 anti-ship missiles and new guns, which gives it an appearance distinct from that of the 81 Bayandor. This facility also houses 6-7 Kaman/Sina-class missile boats, including possibly the P228 Gorz. The port also houses a number of speedboats and semi-submersible vessels, as well as two RH-53D Sea Stallions and six AB-212 ASW helicopters. As of June 16, 2009, observable assets at the base include the following:  2 Bayandor-class corvettes  6 Kaman/Sina-class FACs

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 2 Hendijan support ships  Various speedboats As of January 16, 2010, the following assets have been observed at the naval academy (28°53'47.19"N, 50°51'3.96"E):  1 unidentified midget submarine (23 m)  2 unidentified midget submarines ( 17 m & 13 m)  3 probably Al Sabehat 15 SDVs  1 hover craft  Various other small craft o

Asalouyeh (27°27'21.08"N, 52°38'15.55"E  Inaugurated in 2008, this base is a recent addition to Iran’s naval facilities. According to IRGCN Admiral Morteza Saffari, the base would house torpedo boats, FACs, shore-based anti-ship missiles, and possibly IPS-series patrol boats and Thondar FACs.

o

Bandar-e Abbas (Naval base: 27° 8'35.79"N, 56°12'45.61"E; IRGCN missile boat base: 27° 8'30.91"N, 56°12'5.58"E; IRGCN torpedo & MLRS boat base: 27° 8'21.13"N, 56°11'53.28"E; Hovercraft base and nearby naval air strip: 27° 9'15.68"N, 56° 9'49.97"E) 

Bandar-e Abbas has been the headquarters of the Iranian navy since 1977, and is located in the Strait of Hormuz itself. It is Iran’s largest and most important naval base, as well as the home of the majority of Iran’s submarines fleet, naval aviation assets, and hovercraft. Moreover, it also the home of Shahid Darvishi shipbuilders, which produces a large number of Iranian naval assets, including submersibles, landing craft, and tugboats. As of June 29, 2009, observable assets of the base include the following:  1 Bandar Abbas support ship  A number of unknown support ships  1 Jamaran (Mouj) frigate  1 Alvand frigate  3 Thondar missile boats  2 IPS-16  4 IPS-18  31+ speedboats

o

Jask (25°40'40.90"N, 57°51'4.54"E)  IRGC base located approximately 150 km to the east of the Straits of Hormuz. It is suspected to house Ghadir midget submarines, as well as F-27 maritime patrol craft.

o

Bostanu (27° 2'58.22"N, 55°59'3.22"E)  Recently-established IRGCN FAC and midget submarine base. It is known to house ship repair and building facilities. Located approximately 25 km to the west of Bandar-e Abbas

o

Chabahar  IRGCN base. It is the farthest east of all of Iran’s military port facilities.

o

Qeshm (26°43'10.09"N, 55°58'30.94"E)  IRGC base. Suspected to house midget submarines and is suspected to house a large number of coastal anti-ship ballistic missile bunkers. As of December 21, 2003, observable assets at the base include the following:  34+ speedboats

o

Sirri Island (25°53'40.20"N, 54°33'7.82"E)

o

Abu Musa (25°52'22.32"N, 55° 0'38.62"E)

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Occupied by Iran but claimed by the UAE. Suspected to house a small number of IRGCN forces. Also known to house HAWK SAMs and HY-2 “Silkworm” anti-ship missiles.

Greater Tunb and Lesser Tunb (GT: 26°15'54.33"N , 55°19'27.75"E; LT: 26°14'26.08"N, 55° 9'21.18"E)  Occupied by Iran but claimed by the UAE. Home to heavily fortified airstrips and AA guns.

Iran can also use shore-based anti-ship missile sites, other commercial ports, small harbors and contingency facilities to support and deploy a wide range of military assets. These assets include surface ships, mines, land-based anti-ship missiles, maritime patrol aircraft, combat aircraft with anti-ship missiles, UAVs, and UCAVs. While Iran’s asymmetric assets do not provide it with the ability to win a major direct conflict with US forces, the coordinated, simultaneous use of Iran’s submarines, ASCMs, fast-attack craft, and swarm tactics in a first strike could inflict costly losses on US naval forces and commercial shipping in the Strait. These assets and tactics, in combination with Iran’s large arsenal of naval mines, likely render Iran capable of closing the Gulf for a short while. Moreover, Iran can retrofit many of the country’s civilian watercraft with rockets, heavy machine guns, and the ability to lay mines. They do, however, represent Iran’s most modern and potent resources for striking against US forces in the Gulf and rendering the Strait impassable. Major Surface Warships9192 Iran’s key surface ships have been described earlier, but a summary analysis of their size and armament illustrates the range of surface threats that Iran might deploy: o

Sa’am-class light patrol frigates:  Number in service: 3  Displacement: 1,100 tons  Crew: 125-146  Speed: 39 kts  Armament: BM-21 artillery rockets, 3 x GAM-B01 20mm cannon, 1 x 76mm gun, 2 x SM-1 SAM launchers, 4 x C-802 anti-ship missiles (CSS-N-4 Sardine?), 2 x triple 324mm torpedo tubes (6 eff.), 1 x 114 mm gun

o

Mouj-class corvette:  Number in service: 1  Displacement: 1,400 tons  Crew: 120-140  Speed: 28+ kts  Armament: 4 x C-802 anti-ship missiles (CSS-N-4 Sardine?), 4 x SM-1 SAM launchers, 1 x 76mm gun, 2 x GAM-B01 20mm cannons, 1 x Bofors 40mm AA gun, 2 x triple 324mm torpedo tubes (6 eff.), 1 x 76mm gun

o

Bayandor (PF-103) missile/gun corvette:  Number in service: 1  Displacement: 900-1,135 tons  Crew: 140  Speed: 20 kts  Armament: 4 x C-802 anti-ship missiles (CSS-N-4 Sardine?), 1 x 76mm gun, 1 x Bofors 40mm AA gun, 2 x triple 324mm torpedo tubes

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Electronics:  Radar: AN/SPS-6C D Band Air Search, Decca 1226SS I band surface search, Raytheon 1650 I Band Nav, Mk 36 I/J band FC  Sonar: AN/SQS-17 Active/Passive sonar  EW: AN/WLR-1 ESM, AN/UPX-12B IFF

They are an uncertain asset. Their air and missile defenses are poor to mediocre, they are highly visible targets, and they are easy to detect by radar. Committing them to combat almost ensures their loss – as the US-Iranian “tanker war” during 1987-1988 demonstrated. Moreover, if Iran does use them, they constitute a highly visible act of act that is clearly attributable to Iran – justifying an immediate and massive response. Fast-attack Watercraft, Speedboats, Patrol Craft, and Hovercraft.9394 Iran seems much more likely to focus on the use of smaller ships. The IRGC Naval Branch and Iranian Navy have a wide range of smaller vessels that they can use for asymmetric warfare: o

Kaman-class and Sina-class guided missile patrol boats:  Number in service: 9 Kaman, 3 Sina  Armament: 4 x C-802 anti-ship missiles, 1 x OTO-Melara 76mm Rapid Fire gun, 1 x Bofors 40mm AA gun. Some Sina are equipped with a 20mm cannon instead of the Bofors 40mm  Electronics:  Radar: Signaal WM28 I/J band surface search and FC radar, Decca 1226SS I band surface search.  EW: Alligator ECM

o

Thondor-class missile boat:  Number in service: 10  Displacement: 205 tons  Crew: 28  Speed: 35 kts  Armament: 4 x C-802 anti-ship missiles, 1 x twin 30mm AA gun, 1 x twin 23mm AA gun

o

C-14 China Cat:  Number in service: 4-10  Displacement: 19 tons  Crew: 10  Speed: 55 kts  Armament: 4 x TL-10 Kowsar light anti-ship missiles, or 2 x C-704 Nasr anti-ship missiles, or 1x 122mm MLRS (16 barrels), 1 x 23mm cannon, and 1 x 12.7mm heavy machine guns on some craft

o

Mk-13 Patrol Craft:  Number in service: 4-10  Armament: 2 x TL-10 anti-ship missile launchers, 2 x 324mm torpedo tubes

o

Kajami-class (Taedong-B) Submersible Torpedo Boat  Number in service: 1-3 (est.)  Speed: 40 kts (est.)  Submerged speed: 4 kts (est.)

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Armament: 2 x 324mm torpedoes

o

Gahjae-class (Taedong-C) semi-submersible torpedo boat:  Number in service: 5 (est.)  Speed: 40 kts (est.(  Submerged speed: unknown  Armament: 2 x 324mm torpedoes

o

IPS-28 Tir-class torpedo boat:  Number in service: 10  Displacement: 28.16 tons  Crew: 6  Speed: 52 kts  Armament: 2 x 533mm, 1 x 12.7mm heavy machine gun

o

IPS-16 fast attack craft (Peykaap, Bavar, Zolfaqar):  Number in service: 20 (est.) Paykaap, 10-25 (est.) Bavar, 8-10 (est.) Zolfaqar  Displacement 13.75 tons  Crew: 3  Speed: 52 kts  Armament:  Paykaap: 2 x 324mm torpedo tubes, small arms  Bavar: 2 x C-701 “Kowsar”anti-ship missiles, 2 x 324mm torpedo tubes, small arms  Zolfaqar: 2 x C-704 “Nasr” anti-ship missiles, 2 x 12.7 mm heavy machine guns

o

Dalam-class torpedo boat:  Number in service: 2 (est.)  Status largely unknown. Capable of firing Russian Shkval (Hoot) supercavitating rocket torpedoes

o

Tarlan-class torpedo boat:  Number in service: 15 (est.)  Displacement: 8.5 tons  Speed: 58 kts  Armament: 1 x Shkval (hoot) rocket torpedo or other 533mm torpedo, 1 x 12.7mm heavy machine gun

o

Explosive motor boat:  Number in service: unknown  Crew: 1  Warhead: 500lb shaped charge (est.)  Escape vehicle: 1 x Yamaha Waverunner VX Sport jet ski  Note: This craft is designed to destroy larger vessels by ramming them. The pilot, however, is not intended to die in the attack, and is theoretically capable of escaping the vehicle before impact on a jet ski. The craft is rumored to be piloted by specially IRGC special forces operatives similar to combat divers.

o

Seraj-1-class (Bladerunner) MLRS boat:  Number in service: unknown  Displacement: 2.5 tons  Speed: 50-62 kts  Armament: 1 x 12.7mm heavy machine gun mounted on the bow, 107mm MLRS mounted above the cockpit

o

FB RIB-33 high speed patrol boats:

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Number in service: unknown Displacement: 3.2+ tons Crew: 3 Speed: 57 kts (max.) Armament: 1 x 11-barrel MLRS

o

FB MIL-40 MLRS craft:  Number in service: unknown  Displacement: 6 tons  Crew: 3  Speed: 62 kts  Armament: 1 x 11-barrel 107 mm MLRS, 1 x 12.7mm heavy machine gun

o

MIL-55 HSPB:  Number in service: unknown  Displacement: 15.3 tons  Crew: 5  Speed: 68 kts  Armament: 1 x 11-barrel 107mm MLRS, 1 x 12.7mm heavy machine gun, mines

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Torough-class Patrol Boat (Boghammar):  Number in service: unknown  Displacement: 6.4 tons  Speed: 45 kts  Armament: Variable. Typical armament consists of 1 x 12.7mm heavy machine gun and 1 x 107mm MLRS

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Ashoura-class (MIG-G-0800):  Number in service: unknown  Armament: Variable. Typical armament can consist of 1 x 12.7mm heavy machine gun, 1 x 12-barrel 107mm rocket launcher, or 1 x M-08 (Sadaf-1/2) mine. Other possible armaments include 107mm recoilless rockets, RPG-7 launchers, and small arms.

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Type-4 high-speed patrol boats:  Specific stats unknown. Reportedly similar to the Ashoura-class of speed boats.

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Murce MIG-G-0900:  Number in service: 20  Armament: 1 x 12.7mm heavy machine gun, 1 x 11-barrel 107mm MLRS.

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Parvin PGM-9  Number in service: 3  Displacement: 102-142 tons  Crew: 30  Speed: 17 knots  Armament: 1 x 40mm cannon, 2 x 20mm cannons, 2 x 12.7mm heavy machine guns, 1 x 81mm mortar  Electronics: Furunno I Band Navigation

o

MIG-S-2600:  Number in service: unknown  Displacement: 82 tons  Speed: 40 kts  Armament: 1 x BM-21 MRLS, 1 x twin ZU-23mm cannon  Radar: Decca 1226

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65’ Mark III patrol boat:  Number in service: 10  Displacement: 28-36 tons  Crew: 5  Speed: 26 kts  Armament: Variable. Armament can consist of 12.7mm heavy machine guns, 7.62mm machine guns, Mk 16 20mm cannon, Mk 19 40mm grenade launcher, Mk3 40mm Bofors cannon, Mk4 60mm, or Mk2 81mm mortar. Small arms.

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Pashe (MIG-G-1900):  Based on US patrol boats. Reportedly armed with a ZU-23 23mm cannon. Also equipped with surface search/navigation radar.

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Ghaem (MIG-S-1800):  IRGCN patrol craft. Armament reportedly limited to small arms.

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Kashdom-II inshore patrol craft:  Number in service: 15  Displacement: 17.5 tons  Speed: 50 kts  Armament: 1 x 23mm cannon, 1 x 12.7 mm heavy machine gun

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Peterson patrol boat:  Number in service: 30  Displacement: 20.1 tons  Crew: 5  Speed: 26 kts  Armament: 2 x 12.7mm heavy machine guns

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BH-7 “Wellington” Mk5 hovercraft:  Number in service: 2-6  Displacement: 50 tons  Speed: 30-60 kts  Armament: 2 x C-802 anti-ship missiles, 2 x 12.7mm heavy machine guns

These craft are capable of carrying machine guns, rockets, missiles, and torpedoes, and can be adapted for to lay mines. These assets, while unsophisticated, could be used to swarm US ships and overwhelm their defenses through sheer mobility and volume of fire. Alternatively, they could be used to conduct sporadic attacks in a long battle of attrition operating unpredictably from bases or hidden small sites anywhere in the Gulf or outside it. Shore and Ship-based ASCMs. 9596 Iran possesses a large number of shore, ship-based, and air-launched anti-ship missiles and cruise missiles (ACSMs), most of which are operated by elements of the IRGC. These assets include shore batteries of ASCMs along Iran’s coast and on its islands in the Gulf, many of which are on mobile launchers. It is notable that the US never successfully targeted Iraq’s anti-ship missile assets during the war to liberate Kuwait although they were deployed along a far smaller coastal 95

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area. Many of Iran’s missiles can be deployed on the smaller, harder to detect, and more expendable ships and boats in the Iranian Navy and the Naval Branch of the IRGC, or on Iran’s fighters. Some could be remotely target by maritime patrol aircraft or UAVs. Most of Iran’s missiles are either Chinese-made, or derive from Chinese designs. They include the CSS-N-2 Silkworm, CSS-C-3 Seersucker (C-201), CSS-N-4 Sardine (C-801 Noor, C-801K), CSS-N-8 Saccade (C-802), C-701/TL-10 Kowsar, Sedjil, Ra’ad, Nasr, and the Ghader.9798 o

CSS-N-4 Sardine/C-801 Noor*  Number in service: 60-200 (includes all C-800 series missiles)  Range: 80km  Warhead: 165 kg  Speed: High subsonic  Launch platform(s): Truck launchers, Alvand/Mouj FFGs, Bayandor FSG, Hamzeh FSG, Kaman PTG, Thondar PCFG. Kilo possible. * In January 2012, Janes reported that Iran tested a reportedly upgraded version of the C-802 Noor missile during the Velayat-90 war games. The new missile, called the “Ghader,” has a 200 km range according to Iranian sources. The credibility of these reports, as well as potential launch platforms for the missile remain uncertain. 99

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C-801K (air-launched version of the C-801 Noor):  Range: 37 km  Warhead: 165 kg  Speed: High subsonic  Launch platforms: F-4 Phantom, Su-24 Fencer, Mi-17 Hip.

o

CSS-N-5 Saccade/C-802  Range: 120 km  Warhead: 165 kg  Speed: High subsonic  Launch platforms: Truck launchers, Alvand/Mowj FFGs, Bayandor FSG, Hamzeh FSG, Kaman PTG, Thondar PCFG.  In 2010, Iran displayed the air-launched C-802k “Ghaem” next to a photo of an F-4 Phantom, which could potentially reflect its intended delivery platform. Some reporting indicates that this version of the missile possesses a greater operational range than the C-802.

o

C-701/TL-10 Kowsar:*  Launch platforms: trucks, shore batteries, ships, helicopters, and jets.  Kowsar TL-10A:  Range: 3-15 km  Speed: Mach .85  Warhead: 30 kg semi-armor piercing  Guidance: TV  Kowsar 1/C-701T:  Range: 4-15 km  Speed: Mach .8

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Richardson, Doug. “Iran Test-Fires Missiles During ‘Velayat 90’ Naval Exercise.” Jane’s Missiles & Rockets, January 6, 2012. 99

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Warhead 29 kg semi-armor piercing Guidance: TV

Kowsar 2:  Little info. Likely IR-guided.

Kowsar 3/C-701R:  Range 4-25 km  Speed: Mach .78  Warhead: 29 kg  Guidance: Radar  * In February 2, Jane’s reported that Iran unveiled a domestically-produced version of the C-701 called the “Zafar.” Its exact capabilities remain unknown and unconfirmed.100

o

C-704/Nasr:  Range: 8-35 km  Warhead: 130 kg  Speed: Mach .9  Guidance: Radar  Launch platforms: Shore and ship-based launchers

o

CSS-C-3 Seersucker/HY-2  Number in service: 300  Range: 90 km  Warhead: 450 kg  Speed: High subsonic  Launch platforms: Truck or tracked launchers.

o

Ra’ad:     

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Number in service: Unknown Range: 360 km (claimed/unverified) Warhead: 450 kg Speed: High subsonic Launch platforms: Truck or tracked launchers.

RGM-84A Harpoon:  Range: 140 km  Warhead: 221 kg penetrating blast  Speed: Mach .8  Note: These missiles date to the late 1970s. Long thought to have been withdrawn from service, they have been sighted at Iranian military parades. The continued effectiveness of these units cannot be verified.

While many of these missiles are relatively short-ranged, the Strait of Hormuz is only 34 miles wide at its narrowest point, and Iran has many islands near the shipping channels. Smaller ships and boast are harder to detect by radar, and Iran might mount some missiles on commercial ships – a tactic it has practiced with other types of missiles. Some experts also feel that Iran could

100

Binnie, Jeremy. “Iran Rolls Out Zafar Missiles.” Jane’s Defence Weekly. January 6, 2012.

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potentially use high-volume missile barrages to overwhelm US shipboard defenses and impede minesweeping operations. Anti-Ship Ballistic Missile: The Khalij Fars Iran is seeking to acquire and deploy far more advanced anti-ship missiles, although its claims seem grossly exaggerated. For example, the commander of the IRGC, Brigadier General Mohammed Ali Jafari, announced the deployment of a “smart” anti-ship ballistic missile, the Khalij Fars, in a February 8, 2011 press conference. According to Iranian press reports, the Khalij Fars is allegedly capable of striking at moving ships in the Gulf at ranges of up to 150 km.101 o

Khalij Fars  Number in Service: Unknown  Warhead: 650 kg  Speed (terminal): Mach 3 (est.)

The Tehran Times has reported that Jafari also claimed that Iran had developed “supersonic” smart ballistic missiles which “cannot be tracked and can hit targets with high precision” as well as “coastal radars with a range of 300 km.”102 General Jafari also stated that the IRGC had recently completed studies on two mobile radars with a range of 60 km, which could be attached to small destroyers. Similarly, the Islamic Republic News Agency quoted General Jafari as stating that, “Iran is mass producing a smart ballistic missile for sea targets with a speed three times more than the speed of sound.” The Iranian Students News Agency quoted General Jafari as stating the following regarding the new weapon: “As the enemy’s threats will likely come from the sea, air, and by missiles, the Revolutionary Guard has been equipped with capabilities to neutralize the enemy’s advanced technology.”103

While these claims remain unconfirmed and some seem sharply exaggerated, Iran could potentially upset the regional balance if it did reach such a level of sophistication in guidance, range, reliability, and operational accuracy. It not only would threaten the naval balance, but potentially allow Iran to develop conventionally armed missiles that could strike at high-value targets such as desalination plants, power plants, oil platforms, and military installations with precision. Naval Mines Naval mines can be used in a wide range of ways ranging from free floating, scattered mines that Iran could deny it had deliberately employed to sophisticated laying of “smart” mines. Iran could use almost any ship – Navy, IRGC, or commercial – to try to limit the freedom of movement for US and allied naval forces, block traffic into ports and petroleum facilities, and impede Gulf shipping traffic. Iran has a considerable capacity to lay mines. It has a stock of some 2,000-3,000 naval mines, as well as the number of vessels it could muster to lay them. In addition to the aforementioned 101

“Iran mass producing smart ballistic missiles: IRGC chief.” Tehran Times, February 8, 2011.

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“Iran mass producing smart ballistic missiles: IRGC chief.” Tehran Times, February 8, 2011.

103

Iranian Students News Agency, February 7, 2011.

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combat vessels, Iran could use a wide range of other surface ships to mine a given portion of the Gulf (any surface ship can release mines). Although the exact composition of Iran’s arsenal mines is uncertain, it is thought to include significant stocks of the Russian MDM-6 and the Chinese EM-52, as well as the Chinese MC-52, the EM-55, the EM-31, and the EM-11. o

MDM-6:  Type: Bottom  Warhead: 1,100 kg  Operational Depth: 12-120 m  Fusing: Magnetic, acoustic, pressure Note: The MDM-6 is a sophisticated mine that detonates in response to magnetic, acoustic, or pressure influences within a radius of 50-60 meters, and it has an operating depth of approximately 12-120 meters. It is a moored mine that fires a torpedo-like warhead when it senses a ship, and the mine’s warhead consists of 1,100 kg of high explosive. The MDM-6 can be laid by number of systems, including the 533 mm torpedo tubes of Iran’s Kilo-class submarines, or from surface ships with the appropriate rail and stern ramps. 104

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EM-52:  Type: Bottom, rising  Warhead: 300 kg  Operational Depth: 4.8-183 m  Fusing: Acoustic Note: This mine is guided in its “rocket” ascent phase. It can be deployed with a submarine’s torpedo tubes. It is considered to be Iran’s most potent mine, and, according to some reporting, may be able to pierce the keel of a US aircraft carrier.105

The EM-52 and the MDM-6, as well as any other similar “smart” mines in Iran’s arsenal, are capable of tracking multiple targets, and can be difficult to detect as they rest on or near the seafloor. Even relatively unsophisticated “dumb” mines, however, present a threat to US forces and Gulf shipping, as they are not easily detected or removed, and can be laid in large numbers by almost any ship that has the capacity to physically carry them. For instance, an Iranian M-08 World War I-era mine nearly sank the USS Samuel B Roberts after the ship struck it on April 14, 1988.106 Although the M-08 is an antiquated moored contact mine, it nearly sank an advanced US naval ship that was caught off guard. Consequently, Iran’s ability to lay a large number of mines in a short period of time remains a critical aspect to its stated capability to deny US forces access to the Gulf, and impede or halt shipping through the Strait. The fact that Iran can lay mines in so many different ways over so wide an area also presents major problems in terms of mine warfare. The US can deploy a force of at least four minesweepers, an extensive ship-based force of minesweeping helicopters, and unmanned undersea vehicles. The Saudi Navy has four aging US Navy MSC-322 (Addriyah-class) minesweepers, and three modern UK Sandown (Al Jawf-class) mine hunters, and several Talmadge, Caitlin. “Closing Time: Assessing The Iranian Threat to Close the Strait of Hormuz.” http://belfercenter.ksg.harvard.edu/files/IS3301_pp082-117_Talmadge.pdf 104

Fisher, Richard D. “China’s Military Modernization: Building for Regional and Global Reach.” September 2008 105

106

Love, Robert William. “History of the US Navy.” Harrisburg: Stackpole Books. 1992

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southern Gulf navies have minesweeping helicopters. The US has also made upgrading its mine warfare capabilities in the Gulf a key part of the new strategy that it announced in January 2012, and the US Navy has extensively planned for both mine warfare in the Gulf under current conditions and upgrading its forces and cooperation with its allies in the future. The US and its Arab Gulf allies do, however, now have limited assets relative to the area that have to be covered to deal with some many possible forms of mine laying over so wide and area, however, and the Sandowns failed to detect an Iraq mine field during the naval campaign in 1991. This helps explain why the US announced in early 2012 that would deploy a “mothership” (converted amphibious assault ship) to the Gulf to support mine warfare vessels and SOF. Maritime Patrol Aircraft107108 Iran’s P-3F maritime patrol aircraft and reconnaissance are aging, and are large, vulnerable slow fliers that are easy to detect. Nevertheless, Iran has some smaller aircraft for these missions and any of these aircraft could still play a significant role in some asymmetric scenarios o

P-3F Orion:  Number in service: 2-3  Iran’s Orions are the most capable patrol aircraft of Iran’s navy, and they carry out ASW and maritime patrol operations. According to reports from the Gulf, however, these sensors these aircraft possess have degraded as a result of wear and tear, and a lack of spare/replacement parts.

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Da-20A Falcon:  Number in service: 1-3  Iran’s Da-20As have reportedly been fitted for electronic warfare and electronics intelligence missions. Their configuration and mission capability is uncertain.

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C-130H:  Number in service: 5 (est.)  Iran uses its C-130s for transport as well as aerial reconnaissance. These aircraft could potentially be used as a platform for laying mines as well.

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Fokker F-27 400M and 600M Friendship:  Number in service: 4 (2 of each class)  These aircraft are used by the IRGCN as logistics and patrol aircraft. Some reporting indicates that they have been adapted for mine-laying operations.

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DO-228:  Number in service: 2 (est.)  Twin engine maritime patrol aircraft fitted with surface search radar.

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Helicopters109110 Iran’s naval aviation assets include a number of multipurpose helicopters, most which are used for transport, logistics, and can be fitted with machine guns and rockets. Iran also possesses approximately 50 AH-1J dedicated helicopter gunships. Their capabilities, however, have likely deteriorated without access to spare parts and modern weapons. Torpedoes111112 As noted earlier, Iran has a variety of torpedoes. Some can be used at long ranges. Others can equip remotely controlled small craft or suicide vessels o

53-65KE:  Range: 26 km at low speed, 11 km at high speed  Speed: 44-65 kts  Guidance: Wake-homing  Fusing: Contact and magnetic  Warhead: 300 kg  Depth: 0-366 m

o

TEST-71MKE & ME-NK:  Range: 12.8 km-26 km  Guidance: Active/Passive homing (wire guided)  Fusing: Contact and magnetic  Warhead: 205 kg  Depth: 0-366 m

o

PT-97W/YT534W1:  Range: 8.7 km-13 km  Speed: 35-40 kts  Guidance: Passive acoustic homing, wake-homing  Fusing: Contact and magnetic  Warhead: 250 kg  Depth: 2-14 m

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CHT-02D:  Range: 8.7-13 km  Speed: 35-40kts  Guidance: Passive acoustic homing, wake-homing  Fusing: Contact and acoustic  Warhead: 250 kg  Depth: 2-14 m

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VA-111E Shkval “Hoot”:  Range 11-15 km  Speed: about 200 kts  Guidance: Internal – straight line

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 Fusing: Magnetic or timer  Warhead: 700 kg  Depth: 6 m Note: The VA-111E is a supercavitating torpedo. This means that the torpedo generates a gas cavity around itself while it moves through water, which enables it to move at extremely high speed. As a result, however, it does not have sonar tracking, and can only travel in a straight line. These properties render the VA-11E an excellent weapon for an ambush or first strike on unsuspecting targets, but disadvantage it in the sense that it cannot “lock on” a target. o

Mk-44/46 & ET-52:  Range: 5.6 km  Speed: 30 kts  Guidance: VHF active. Capable of helical search patterns.  Fusing: Contact  Warhead: 34 kg  Depth: 0-305 m

o

DPRK 32 cm Torpedo:  Range: 4.8 km  Speed: Approximately 30 – 35 kts  Guidance: Passive acoustic homing, wake-homing  Fusing: Contact and magnetic  Warhead: Approximately 45 kg  Depth: 2-14 m

UCAVs and UAVs Iran possesses a number of UAVs and UCAVs of varying sophistication and capability, including the R’ad, the Karrar, the Ababil, and Mohadjer. Outfitted with explosives, they could be used as remotely-piloted bombs. As in the case of Iran’s ASCMs and light fast-attack craft, significant numbers of these assets armed with an explosive charge could be able to swarm US ships and overwhelm their defenses. Both the Karrar and the R’ad are known to have ranges in excess of 1,000 km, and can destroy targets with guided munitions.113 Figure III.16 has provided a rough unclassified summary of the names, stated purposes and capabilities, and the ranges of Iran’s UAVs and UCAVs.

US and Arab Gulf Options for Competing with Iranian Many of the US and Southern Gulf options for dealing with Iran’s conventional and asymmetric forces have already been discussed. The US, Britain and France, the Southern Gulf states, and other Arab states have long been reacting to both the threat posed by Iran’s conventional forces and growing asymmetric capabilities, and its ties to non-state actors. Nevertheless, the net impact of Iran’s extensive asymmetric assets and doctrine on Iranian, US, and Gulf capabilities remains uncertain. Neither the US nor any other conventional power has yet engaged asymmetric forces of the same size and magnitude of those of Iran, and a net assessment of Iran’s capabilities on the Gulf military balance is problematic and theoretical at best. What is certain is that Iran’s doctrine of using light fast-attack watercraft, submarines, mines, missile barrages, and other irregular warfare assets provides Iran with the ability to strike at 113

“Hizballah Possesses Advanced Iranian-Controlled Air Drone System.” Al-Siyasah Online, 06 Nov. ‟10.

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critical infrastructure, Gulf commerce, larger conventional forces with little or no warning, and give it the potential capability to halt shipping in and out of the Gulf for a short period of time. This makes Iran’s asymmetric warfare capabilities are of key concern when assessing Iran’s capacity to challenge the US and other large conventional military forces in the region.

US Forces in the Gulf The US and its Gulf allies have established a major conventional presence in the Gulf in response to Iran’s expanding capacity to wage asymmetric warfare. The US maintains installations in Kuwait (several jointly operated air and military facilities);, Qatar (key air and command and control facilities), Bahrain (where the US 5th fleet is currently based), and Oman (preposition and contingency facilities). The US cooperates closely with Saudi Arabia and the UAEs, and has large military divisor and contractor support groups in both countries. Britain and France also play a major role. Britain is particularly important in supplying key weapons to Saudi Arabia and in supporting Oman, and France plays an important role in Djibouti and the security of the Red Sea. The US is strengthening its own forces. In January of 2011, the US announced that it would retool and modify an aging amphibious transport ship, the USS Ponce, to become what the US military has designated as an Afloat Forward Staging Base (AFSB) for military operations in the Middle East. According to US military documents obtained by the Washington Post, the purpose of this vessel will be a floating base for US special operations personnel, mine-clearing craft (MH-53 Sea Dragon helicopters), and will support patrol boats. The documents indicated that it will be able to launch the high-speed watercraft and helicopters used by US Special Forces.114 Additionally, it must be noted that this ship will serve as an interim vessel before two purpose-built AFSBs can enter service in 2014.115 Given its stated capabilities and area of operations, this AFSB and its predecessors will likely be employed as bases to counter Iran’s mature arsenal of mines, and strike at Iran’s asymmetric assets in the Gulf if necessary. There already have been reports that the US is also building up its mine forces in the Gulf for this purpose and beginning to deploy added special forces capabilities. The US is also reshaping its entire force posture in the Gulf to take account of its withdrawal from Iraq and the growth of the Iranian threat in other ways. It is deploying advanced missile defense cruisers to the Mediterranean, and can rapidly deploy added defenses to the Gulf. It is steadily improving its intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance capabilities in the region, and is equipping its long-range B-2 stealth bombers with new hard target bombs. In a crisis, it could rapidly deploy its F-22 fighters that have an additional stealth attack capability. In addition to traditional conventional systems, the US has developed several assets to counter the kinds of threats that Iran’s asymmetric fast-attack craft and swarming tactics present – 114

“US Plans to Send ‘Floating Commando Base’ to Mideast, Documents Show.” Haaretz. January 28, 2012. http://www.haaretz.com/news/middle-east/u-s-plans-to-send-floating-commando-base-to-mideast-documents-show1.409634 115

Cavas, Christopher P. “New Floating Base Ships Coming for U.S. Navy.” Defensenews.com. January 27, 2012. http://www.defensenews.com/article/20120127/DEFREG02/301270010/New-Floating-Base-Ships-Coming-U-SNavy

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although most are still in the R&D stage. These assets include the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) and the US Navy’s Spike missile program. The LCS was designed to act as a counter to the kinds of threats posed by Iran’s light fast-attack craft and other asymmetric assets. It has a shallow draft, and its design emphasizes speed, maneuverability, and mission flexibility.116 The Spike missile, while not yet in active service, is a small guided missile being developed by the US Navy as an armament for UAVs and surface ships. The Spike is an optically-guided fireand-forget missile with a range of approximately two miles and carries a 2.2 kg warhead. 117 While versatile, the Spike could be used to great effect against Iran’s light, fast-attack crafts. Although these systems are unproven, they are revealing in terms of the US’ perception of asymmetric threats and its continuing efforts to counter such threats directly. The US Navy’s weakness in countermine warfare, however, remains a critical area of concern for US military planners and policy makers in the case of a conflict with Iran. In 2006-2007, the US Navy retired and sold its modern Osprey-class minesweepers, and its CH-53/MH-53 helicopters are aging. The Navy has decided to replace both systems with the LCS and the MH60S Seahawk helicopter in the stead of the Osprey and the CH-53/MH-53, respectively. While the Navy currently has 12 LCS’ and 154 MH-60 helicopters in service, the systems they employ to detect and destroy mines have suffered setbacks in terms of development, performance, and delivery, and are largely untested in conflict.118119 These include the following: 120121 

Raytheon Airborne Mine Neutralization System (AMNS – MH-60S only)

BAE Systems Archerfish (expendable underwater vehicle that destroys or detonates mines)

Northrop Grumman Rapid Airborne Mine Clearance System (RAMICS)

Raytheon AN/AQS-20A towed sonar

Northrop Grumman Airborne Laser Mine Detection System (AN/AES-1 ALMDS)

EDO Corporation Organic Airborne And Surface Influence Sweet (OASIS)

116

US Congressional Research Agency. “Navy Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) Program: Background, Issues, and Options for Congress.” RL33741, March 18, 2011. Ronald O’Rourke. http://assets.opencrs.com/rpts/RL33741_20110318.pdf 117

Felix, Steven. “U.S. Navy Spike Missile System: A New Generation of Miniature Precision Guided Weapons.” May 1, 2006. http://www.dtic.mil/cgi-bin/GetTRDoc?Location=U2&doc=GetTRDoc.pdf&AD=ADA500538 “LCS & MH-60S Mine Counter-Measures Continue Development.” Defense Industry Daily. February 28, 2012. http://www.defenseindustrydaily.com/mh60s-airborne-mine-countermeasures-continuesdevelopment-01604/ 118

US Congressional Research Agency. “Navy Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) Program: Background, Issues, and Options for Congress.” RL33741, March 18, 2011. Ronald O’Rourke. http://assets.opencrs.com/rpts/RL33741_20110318.pdf 119

“LCS & MH-60S Mine Counter-Measures Continue Development.” Defense Industry Daily. February 28, 2012. http://www.defenseindustrydaily.com/mh60s-airborne-mine-countermeasures-continuesdevelopment-01604/ 120

US Congressional Research Agency. “Navy Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) Program: Background, Issues, and Options for Congress.” RL33741, March 18, 2011. Ronald O’Rourke. http://assets.opencrs.com/rpts/RL33741_20110318.pdf 121

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Moreover, the mine warfare modules for the LCS are still in development. The LCS class is not currently as capable in countermine warfare as a dedicated minesweeping platform such as the Osprey, and the MH-60S will be forced to rely on the systems listed above as, it does not have the power to pull the same hydrofoil mine detecting platforms that the MH-53 can. These weaknesses and uncertainties present a challenge when confronting Iran’s ability to lay large numbers of mines in a relatively short period of time.

The US Partnership With Southern Gulf, Other Regional, British, and French forces The US forces in the region are complimented by those of its Gulf allies -- which already possess advanced aircraft, surface-to-air missiles, ships, and land weapons, its ties to other allies like Jordan, and its long standing partnership with Britain and France. As is described in more detail in Chapter VI, the US continues to furnish its regional allies with advanced weapons systems. On October 20, 2010, the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) notified Congress of a 10-year $60 billion US arms sale to Saudi Arabia. The deal includes 84 F-15 Saudi Advanced (SA) fighter aircraft, upgrades for the existing fleet of Royal Saudi Air Force F-15S multi-role fighters, 70 AH-64 Apache attack helicopters (24 of which will be equipped with the Longbow Fire Control Radar system), 72 UH-60M Blackhawk utility helicopters, 36 AH-6I “Little Bird” light attack helicopters, and 12 MD-530F light turbine helicopters, among other weapons systems.122Similarly, the US and the UAE announced a $5 billion US arms sale on November 8, 2010 that included the sale of 60 AH-64D Apache helicopters.123 Lastly, the UAE also opened a new naval base at Al Fujairah near the eastern entrance to the Strait of Hormuz on October 10, 2010.124 The heightening tensions between Iran, and the US and the Arab Gulf states, during 2011 has led to the finalization of sales of advanced aircraft and air and missile defense systems to the US’ regional allies. On December 24, 2011, the Obama administration announced that it had concluded a deal with Saudi Arabia to transfer the aforementioned 84 F-15SA fighters for approximately $29.4 billion US. The aircraft are scheduled to start delivery in 2015, and accompany upgrades to Saudi Arabia’s existing fleet of 70 F-15s and munitions.125 On December 29, 2011, Andrew J. Shapiro, the Assistant Secretary of Political-Military Affairs, stated the following in a special joint press briefing on this and potential future arms sales to Saudi Arabia,126

122

Wasserbly, Daniel. “US Reveals Details of $60bn Sale to Saudi Arabia.” Jane’s Defence Industry. 28 Oct. ‘10

123

Gelfand, Lauren. “US Agrees $5bn Boeing Apache Deal with UAE.” Jane’s Defence Weekly. 9 Nov. ‘10

124

“UAE Opens New Strait of Hormuz Naval Base.” Jane’s Intelligence Weekly. 25 Oct. ‘10

125

Landler, Mark and Myers, Steven Lee. “With $30 Billion Arms Deal, U.S. Bolsters Saudi Ties.” New York Times. December 29, 2011. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/30/world/middleeast/with-30-billion-arms-dealunited-states-bolsters-ties-to-saudi-arabia.html Special Joint Press Briefing On U.S. Arms Sales to Saudi Arabia, December 29, 2011. http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2011/12/179777.htm 126

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We are pleased to announce that over this past weekend, the United States and Saudi Arabia signed a letter of offer and acceptance for the sale of up to 84 advanced F-15SA fighter aircraft. It also includes upgrades to its current fleet of 70 F-15 aircraft, as well as munitions, spare parts, training, maintenance, and logistics. This sale is worth $29.4 billion. These F-15SA aircraft, manufactured by the Boeing company, will be among the most sophisticated and capable aircraft in the world. This agreement serves to reinforce the strong and enduring relationship between the United States and Saudi Arabia. It demonstrates the U.S. commitment to a strong Saudi defense capability as a key component to regional security. Since announcing in June – in 2010 our intent to conclude this sale, the Departments of State and Defense have worked closely with the Saudi Government and industry to finalize the particulars of the deal. Jim and I both recently made separate trips to Saudi Arabia, in part to discuss the sale. Let me outline a few of the reasons why this defense package is so important and historic, and how it will advance U.S. national interests. This sale will send a strong message to countries in the region that the United States is committed to stability in the Gulf and broader Middle East. It will enhance Saudi Arabia’s ability to deter and defend against external threats to its sovereignty. It will advance interoperability between the air forces of our two countries through joint training and exercises. And lastly, this agreement will positively impact the U.S. economy and further advance the President’s commitment to create jobs by increasing exports. According to industry experts, this agreement will support more than 50,000 American jobs. It will engage 600 suppliers in 44 states and provide $3.5 billion in annual economic impact to the U.S. economy. This will support jobs not only in the aerospace sector but also in our manufacturing base and support chain, which are all crucial for sustaining our national defense. I also wanted to note that this sale was carefully assessed under the U.S. Government’s Conventional Arms Transfer Policy. This policy requires such sales be deemed in the national security interests of the United States, are consistent with the country’s legitimate security needs, and support U.S. regional security objectives. With this agreement, the United States and Saudi Arabia have accomplished a historic achievement in our longstanding security partnership, a partnership that furthers security and stability in the Gulf region. Our longstanding security relationship with Saudi Arabia and other partners in the region has been a primary pillar of regional security for decades. And this sale further illustrates the firm commitment of the United States to the security and stability of the Gulf region.

The Principal Deputy Under Secretary of Defense of Policy, Dr. James N. Miller, elaborated further on the package as well as the intentions of the sale: Let me start by reiterating that the United States is firmly committed to the security of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, as we have been for nearly seven decades, and that more broadly, the United States and Saudi Arabia have a strong mutual interest in the security and stability of the Gulf. Close cooperation between our militaries is central to that security and stability, and we are really announcing today the most recent example of that cooperation. On December 24th in Riyadh, the United States and Saudi Arabia finalized the letter of offer and acceptance, or LOA, for the purchase of 84 F-15SA aircraft and, as Andrew said, for the upgrade of an additional 70 F-15SA aircraft to this SA configuration. And this government-to-government or foreign military sale is valued at $29.4 billion. I’d like to say just a few words about the capabilities that are under consideration. This aircraft, the F15SA, will be the most capable and versatile aircraft in the Royal Saudi fighter inventory. And indeed, it will be one of the most capable aircraft in the world. The F-15SA will have the latest generation of computing power, radar technology, infrared sensors, and electronic warfare systems. As one example, the F-15SA will be equipped with an active electronically-scanned array radar, or AESA. This radar includes the latest technology and will ensure that Saudi Arabia has the capability to operate against regional air

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threats. This sale also includes AMRAAM and AIM-9X air-to-air missiles, which provide both radar and infrared guided capability. The F-15SA will be able to strike targets day or night in all-weather with a variety of precision-guided munitions. The air-to-ground weapon capability includes laser-guided and GPSguided weapons, along with missiles that can attack ground-based radars and missiles – the Harpoon in particular specialized for maritime attack capabilities. The communications systems of the F-15SA will allow the U.S. Air Force and Royal Saudi Air Force to operate effectively together in the same airspace. And the system’s interoperability will also allow both countries to – excuse me – to participate in coalition training, which is a priority for both of our countries. And in fact, this F-15SA package includes not just aircraft and munitions but the training and logistics support that Andrew talked about, and it’s a very robust package. Much of the Saudi training in the F-15SA will occur alongside U.S. forces. This will enhance our already strong defense relationship. And approximately 5,500 Saudi personnel will be trained through 2019 – 5,500 through 2019, further strengthening the bonds between our forces and between our countries. I’ve provided just a very high-level overview of the F-15SA’s impressive capabilities, and I know that the Air Force and the Boeing company will be glad to offer a lot more details. As Andrew said, the U.S.-Saudi security relationship has been a pillar of regional security for decades. And this F-15SA sale demonstrates the firm commitment of the United States to the kingdom, and reinforces our mutual commitment to security and stability in the Gulf…. We expect the first delivery of the F-15SA of the new aircraft in early 2015 and expect the upgrades of the F-15S to the SA configuration to start in 2014. That’s the expectation now. Of course, schedules are as schedules are. With respect to the internal capability of the aircraft, it has very substantial capabilities. I’ll give you just a little bit more in terms of the – I mentioned the – some of the munitions – the HARM anti-radiation missile that goes against radars for precision strike capabilities. We’ve got the Joint Direct Attack Munition, JADM; also the Paveway, which has an analogous capability, the Harpoon anti-ship missile; a very capable system called the Sensor Fuzed Weapon; and for the Defense people in the room, with the Wind Corrected Munitions Dispenser, which is just an incredibly capable system against moving vehicles; and of course air-to-air AMRAAM and AIM-9X capabilities as well. So very significant capabilities. There’s always the possibility that the Saudis would ask for more. This provides them everything that they asked for in their letter of request, and I know we have ongoing discussions that – where something else could be provided in the future.

In addition to purchasing US F-15SA fighters AH-64 Apache attack helicopters, Saudi Arabia agreed to purchase 72 Eurofighter Typhoons in 2006, which are currently in the process of being delivered.127 This versatile 4.5 generation fighter is far more advanced and capable than any of Iran’s aircraft, and will greatly empower Saudi Arabia to deter foreseeable Iranian aggression. On December 25, 2011, the US finalized an agreement to sell a $3.5 billion US anti-ballistic missile system known as Theater High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) to the UAE in the first foreign sale of the system. The system is designed to target and shoot down SRBMs and MRBMs inside and outside of the Earth’s atmosphere. “The 2006 Saudi Shopping Spree: Eurofighter Flies Off With Saudi Contract.” Defense Industry Daily, August 16, 2010. http://www.defenseindustrydaily.com/the-2006-saudi-shopping-spree-eurofighter-flyingoff-with-10b-saudi-contract-updated-01669/ 127

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More specifically, the deal includes two full THAAD batteries, 96 missiles, two Raytheon AN/TPY-2 radars, 30 years’ worth of spare parts, and support and training to the UAE.128 The deal was announced during Iran’s execution of the Velayat-90 naval exercises during which Iran tested missiles, mines, and other naval assets. Moreover, this deal follows a 2011 $1.7 billion US commercial contract to upgrade Saudi Patriot anti-missile systems, and a $900 million US sale of 209 Patriot missiles to Kuwait.129 The transfer of missile defense systems of this scale and sophistication is unprecedented, and they reflect the threat perceptions of both the US and its regional allies in the Gulf regarding Iran’s robust ballistic missile capabilities. These arms transfers and others like them to virtually every Arab Gulf State represent a trend in Gulf procurement that began in the mid-1990s. Given the strong presence of US and other conventional forces in the region, any Iranian successes, while damaging and disruptive, would be limited in scope and duration by the overwhelming conventional power of the US and its allies. They have also been supported by a steady increase in joint exercises between US forces, Gulf and other Arab forces, and European air and naval forces. These developments make it clear that US is determined to outfit America’s Gulf allies with some of the most advanced systems available in the pursuit of security in the Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz. Moreover, these arms transfers and the joint military exercises in the Gulf, emphasize interoperability between US and Arab Gulf forces. In light of recent heightened tensions between the US and Iran over the Gulf and the presence of US forces in the region, these statements send a subtle, yet clear message that the US fully intends to bolster its military ties with its allies in the Gulf, an objective that includes supplying them with advanced weapons systems. This aid will provide the armed forces of the US’ allies in the Gulf with a qualitative superiority over their Iranian counterparts. More broadly, the US has taken a multifaceted approach to confronting Iran’s allies and proxies. In addition to direct military action in Iraq and Afghanistan, the US equipped and trained the security forces and intelligence services of regional allies and client states such as Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Iraq, Lebanon, and Kuwait to provide a counterweight to Iran and its own proxies. Notable examples include US assistance to the Lebanese Armed Forces, Saudi Arabia’s campaign against the Houthi rebels along its border with Yemen, and US efforts to train and equip Iraq’s security forces in counterinsurgency tactics.130131132 Lastly, the US took steps to curb 128

Wolf, Jim. “U.S. in $3.5 Billion Arms Sale to UAE Amid Iran Tensions.” Reuters. December 31, 2011. http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/12/31/us-usa-uae-iran-idUSTRE7BU0BF20111231 129

Wolf, Jim. “U.S. in $3.5 Billion Arms Sale to UAE Amid Iran Tensions.” Reuters. December 31, 2011. http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/12/31/us-usa-uae-iran-idUSTRE7BU0BF20111231 130

Arrott, Elizabeth. “Saudi Arabia Says Houthi Rebels Forced Out.” Voice of America. January 27, 2010 http://www.voanews.com/english/news/middle-east/Saudi-Arabia-Says-Houthi-Rebels-Forced-Out-82801117.html 131

US Congressional Research Service. US Security Assistance to Lebanon (R40485, January 19, 2011), by Casey L. Addis. http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/mideast/R40485.pdf 132

July 2011 SIGIR Report: Quarterly Report and Semiannual Report to the United States Congress. July 30, 2011 http://www.sigir.mil/files/quarterlyreports/July2011/Report_-_July_2011.pdf

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arms trafficking, and engaged in information campaigns that sought to attack and delegitimize Iran and its allies.

Changing the Ground Rules: What If Preventive Strikes – Not Sanctions – Trigger Iranian Efforts to Close the Gulf As is discussed in the next chapter, however, there is a major potential problem with such an analysis. It assume a level of Iranian escalation based on a confrontation over sanctions and negotiations, not the level of conflict that might result if the growing confrontation over sanctions coincided with an Israeli preventive strike or some radical change in the US assessment of Iran’s capabilities that led the US to carry out such a strike. This is a critical caveat. As is discussed in the next Chapter, Iran can use ballistic missiles and long range rockets for attacks. If Israel does launch a preventive strike on Iran, Iran might escalate even though its conventionally armed ballistic missiles lack the accuracy and lethality to do serious damage to Israel except through an incredibly lucky strike. Such an Iranian use of missiles might trigger Israeli follow-on strikes, particularly if Israeli missile defenses failed. Similarly, any major rocket attack on Israeli population centers from Lebanon or Hamas, and particularly one that produce serious damage of casualties as the result of a major volley or lucky hit, could lead Israel to respond with a massive strike on targets in Gaza or Lebanon, or again lead to restrikes on Iran. It is unclear that either Hamas or Hezbollah would support Iran in this way, or take such risks, but Iran’s leadership might feel it had to counter-escalate in the most dramatic way possible, or simply overreact out of anger or ideology, and might get support from Hamas or Hezbollah if it chose to do so. The same could be true in the Gulf. Iran might chose to use a far higher level of asymmetric force to punish the US for its ties to Israel and punish “Great Satan” for the actions of the “Lesser Satan.” It would be particularly likely to do so if it felt this would win Arab support, and/or if the Iranian leadership assumed the US had given Israel tacit permission or a “green light.” It is even harder to estimate what Iran would do if the US carried out a preventive strike, or if an asymmetric conflict in the Gulf escalated to major air and cruise missile strikes on Iran. Iran could not win any such escalation, or even do critical damage; with conventionally armed longrange range missiles or rockets without the terminal guidance and precision strike capabilities current evidence indicates it lacks. Similarly, even if it tried to saturate Gulf air defenses using the remainder of its air force in some last ditch strike, it would be likely to lose almost all of its forces while doing minimal damage. Iran would need precision guided missiles and rockets and the ability to saturate Arab Gulf and US missile defenses to change this equation, or the ability to successfully deliver nuclear weapons or some other form of highly lethal weapon of mass destruction. The problem is that the Iran leadership might again feel it had to lash out in extreme ways to discourage further attacks, to maintain popular credibility in Iran, to try to win outside support or intervention, or out of anger and ideology. Iran’s leaders have in the past shown that they are both rationale and deterrable, but they also escalated and prolonged the Iran-Iraq War in ways that went far beyond the level of conflict that many US and outside experts predict once Iraq was forced to withdraw from Iran. Game theory, rational bargaining, and escalation ladders based on 133


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shard perceptions are useful tools, but history warns that wars generally occur because the sides involved so not share the same calculations, perceptions, or values. Similarly, the preceding analysis does not examine the risks Iran might take in using missiles and rockets, committing all of its conventional or forces in a quick or spasmodic conflict, or its willingness to persist and escalate in months or years of confrontation and escalation if its leadership feels its survival is at stake or is willing to take risks that seem “irrational” to outside planners. It is a long distance in miles, time, and culture from Sarajevo, but no one in the West should forget the West’s miscalculations of risk and the consequences of escalation in the 20th Century – much less all of its preceding history. There are no rules that behind Iran or the course of some future conflict – only uncertain probabilities

Implications for US Policy This makes it all too clear that Iran’s asymmetric strategy presents significant challenges to US policy makers, the Arab Gulf states, and other regional powers despite US and allied conventional superiority. Iran is linking the steady expansion of its asymmetric forces to new uses of its conventional forces and is building up its missile and its nuclear capabilities – at least in part – to deter retaliation against its use of asymmetric warfare. While many of Iran’s unconventional assets remain unproven in conflict, as do their capabilities against US forces, Iran has gone to great lengths to expand these forces to deter invasion and to expand its regional influence and reach. Iran almost certainly recognizes that US conventional superiority would give the US the upper hand in a serious conflict where the US can use all of its capabilities to attack the full range of Iranian military forces. In a limited war of attrition, however, assets such as Iran’s light fast attack craft, smart munitions, and submarines, among others, could inflict losses on US forces or those of US regional allies, damage critical infrastructure, and disrupt or halt Gulf commerce with little or no warning. Iran’s robust mine warfare capability and the current weaknesses in the countermine operations capability of the US and Arab Gulf navies could pose a serious threat to the security of the Gulf. Virtually any military or commercial vessel is capable of laying mines if it has the physical capacity to carry them. Consequently, the IRGCN and the Iranian navy are capable of seeding the Gulf and Strait of Hormuz with a large number of mines in a relatively short period of time. Iran would likely seek to use this capability as well as its large arsenal of both modern smart mines and antiquated moored contact mines to deny US forces access to the Gulf and render it impassable to commercial traffic. To properly contain and deter Iranian aggression in the region, the US must prepare for a serious countermine warfare campaign and properly develop the necessary assets to do so. If the US is to successfully neutralize this complex mix of threats that can be used in so many different ways and at some many different levels of escalation, the US must continue to maintain strong forces in the Gulf to contain, deter, and – if necessary – engage Iran’s forces. The US must be able to join with its Arab Gulf allies and decisively win a battle to keep Gulf shipping and exports flowing in in a period of weeks. At the same time, it must be able to join with its Arab Gulf allies in defeating any Iranian efforts to conduct a battle of attrition in the Gulf or near it, and deal with contingencies like Iran’s use of free floating mines, unattributable attacks, and any other form of asymmetric warfare than threatens friendly Gulf states and the flow of world energy exports from the region. 134


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The US must seek to deter war, and limit escalation in every way possible if some incident or clash occurs. As is discussed in the following chapters, the US must persuade its regional allies, its European allies and other states that it will seek to avoid war, and escalation if an incident or clash does occur. It cannot win their support if they feel the US is reckless or does not consider their interests. The US must also consider than any clash or even the risk of a clash will have an impact on world prices and the global economy. At the same time, the US must strong enough to use its air and land forces to destroy Iran’s conventional and asymmetric capabilities, secure Iraq, and protect its Arab allies. The US must work closely with the Arab Gulf states and other Arab states to improve their deterrent and defense capabilities. It must work closely with allies like Britain and France, and seek the cooperation of key allies like Turkey. At a more technical level, the US must continue to equip, modernize, and train the forces of its regional allies to confront asymmetric threats. The US must be fully prepared for the range of other military options Iran is developing. Iran’s ties to the Hezbollah, Hamas, Sadrist and other Shi’ite militias in Iraq, Syria, and Shi’ite minorities in other Gulf states, create relationships where it may be able to use state and nonstate actors in asymmetric warfare. Iran has already used some of these assets against Israel and to undermine the internal stability and cohesion of US allies in the Middle East (most notably Lebanon and Iraq), to indirectly attack US forces in Iraq, and to help Hamas seize power in the Gaza Strip, seized political power. Given the strategic importance of these states in the regional balance, the US cannot to allow Iran to continue to cultivate and strengthen such threatening movement and create potential proxies. The US must continue to fund, support, and train its regional allies to counter Iran’s proxies within their borders. Furthermore, the US must work to stem Iranian material and financial support to these groups. More broadly, the US must plan for the fact that Iran and the US will continue to compete militarily with the US and friendly regional states as long as anything like the present Iranian regime remains in power, the Strait of Hormuz remains strategically critical, and Iran seeks to establish itself as a regional power. Iran is constantly stepping up its efforts to challenge and undermine the US presence in the Middle East. The US cannot afford to be lax or dismissive in confronting Iran’s strategy. To effectively engage Iran, the US must put Iran’s perceptions of military competition, as well as its aforementioned conventional and asymmetric capabilities in careful perspective, and continue to develop the means to counter Iran’s evolving assets throughout the region. Finally, there is nothing new about dishonest and bipartisan calls for “energy independence.” They are, however, fundamentally dishonest and do not reflect any currently foreseeable reduction in import dependence on a scale that affects American strategic interest for as long a period as institutions like the Energy Information Agency and International Energy Agency can project. No one can say whether or not some radical technological breakthrough will not eliminate US and global dependence on Gulf energy exports, but no such breakthrough is currently foreseeable. American policy must be based on this reality and not a mix of selfdeluding or actively dishonest lies.

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a report of the csis burke chair in strategy

U.S. and Iranian Strategic Competition: Iran and the Gulf Military Balance II Authors Anthony H. Cordesman Alexander Wilner

March 2012


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Acknowledgements

This analysis was made possible by a grant from the Smith Richardson Foundation. This analysis draws on the work of Dr. Abdullah Toukan and a series of reports on Iran by Adam Seitz, a Senior Research Associate and Instructor, Middle East Studies, Marine Corps University.

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COMPETITION OVER NUCLEAR THREATS, MISSILES, AND OTHER WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION ...5 IRAN’S BALLISTIC MISSILE PROGRAM AND ITS ROLE IN US AND IRANIAN MILITARY COMPETITION .............................. 5 Iran’s Missile Programs ........................................................................................................................ 6 What Iran’s Actions and Statements Say About Its View of Competition: Ballistic Missiles ................ 7 Missiles as a Form of Deterrence ......................................................................................................... 8 Missiles as a Form of Warfighting ........................................................................................................ 9 The Warfighting Capabilities of Iran’s Current Missile Force ............................................................. 10 The Escalating Impact of Iranian Missile Capabilities ...................................................................................................... 11 The Impact of Missile Defenses ...................................................................................................................................... 11 The Impact of Retaliatory Threats and Retaliation ......................................................................................................... 12 Figure IV.1: Estimated Range of Iranian Long-range Missile Forces ..................................................... 14 Figure IV.2: Estimated Range of Iranian Long-range Missile Forces -2 ................................................. 15 Figure IV.3: Iran’s Ballistic Missile Arsenal ............................................................................................ 16 Figure IV.4: Iranian Rockets and Missiles .............................................................................................. 17 NUCLEAR COMPETITION: ESTIMATING AND REACTING TO THE IRANIAN NUCLEAR THREAT ...................................... 18

Iran’s Statements about Its Nuclear Program .................................................................................... 18 Analyzing the Details of What Is Known and What Is Uncertain ....................................................... 20 Figure IV.5: ISIS Timeline of Potential Future Capabilities to Make Weapon-Grade Uranium: Modest Growth Projection ................................................................................................................................ 27 Figure IV.6: Probabilities of Iranian Paths to Nuclear Explosive Materials – ISIS (Each probability reflects the likelihood that Iran would pursue each method, based on a judgment of its technical capabilities to do so and a range of factors that deter its pursuit of this method) .............................. 28 Figure IV.7: Cumulative Totals of Natural and Enriched Uranium Feed and 3.5 and 19.75 Percent Product in Iran ...................................................................................................................................... 29 Figure IV.8: Cumulative LEU Production at Natanz ............................................................................... 30 Figure IV.9: Number of Centrifuge Cascades enriching, under vacuum, installed, or with centrifuges disconnected, January 31, 2010 ........................................................................................................... 31 Figure IV.10: Centrifuge Trends at Natanz ............................................................................................ 32 Figure IV.11: ISIS Estimate of Monthly Trends at Natanz ..................................................................... 33 Figure IV.13: IAEA Reporting as of February 24, 2012 – Main Points ................................................... 35 Figure IV.14: IAEA Reporting as of February 24, 2012 – LEU Production and Centrifuge Levels at the Natanz Fuel Enrichment Plant (FEP) ..................................................................................................... 36 Figure IV.15: IAEA Reporting as of February 24, 2012 – Deployment of Advanced Centrifuges at Pilot Fuel Enrichment Plant (PFEP) Delayed; 19.75 Percent Enrichment Continues ..................................... 37 Figure IV.16: IAEA Reporting as of February 24, 2012 – Fordow Fuel Enrichment Plant ...................... 38 Figure IV.17: IAEA Reporting as of February 24, 2012 – Taking Stock of Fordow and Natanz .............. 39 Figure IV.31: Amount of Fissile Material Need to Build a Basic Fission ................................................ 53 (Non-Boosted) Weapon ........................................................................................................................ 53 Figure IV.32: February 25, 2011 IAEA Report ....................................................................................... 54 Figure IV.33: Lack of Iranian Cooperation with the IAEA as of February 25, 2011 ............................... 55 Figure IV.34: IAEA on Possible Military Dimensions as of May 24, 2011 .............................................. 57 Figure IV.35: IAEA on Natanz, May 24, 2011 ........................................................................................ 58 Figure IV.36: 20% Enrichment and Weapons Production ..................................................................... 59 Figure IV.37: IAEA on Qom (Fordow) as of May 24, 2011 ..................................................................... 60 Figure IV.38: Enrichment to 20% at Fordow ......................................................................................... 61 Figure IV.39: IAEA on Plutonium/ Heavy Water Facilities as of May 24, 2011...................................... 62 Figure IV.40: IAEA Concerns as of June 2011 ........................................................................................ 62 Figure IV.41: September 2, 2011 IAEA Reporting on Natanz: LEU Production and Centrifuge Levels at the Fuel Enrichment Plant (FEP) ........................................................................................................... 63 Figure IV.42: September 2, 2011 IAEA Reporting on Natanz: Deployment of Advanced Centrifuges at the Pilot Fuel Enrichment Plant (PFEP), 20 Percent Enrichment Continues ......................................... 65 Figure IV.43: September 2, 2011 IAEA Report: Heavy Water Production ............................................. 66

The Data in the IAEA Report of November 8, 2011 ............................................................................ 67 US OFFICIAL VIEWS OF IRAN’S COMPETITION IN NUCLEAR AND MISSILE EFFORTS .................................................. 94 Timing Iran’s Bomb ......................................................................................................................................................... 96

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Is There a Formal Iranian Nuclear Weapons Program?................................................................................................... 97 Focusing On Proliferation Rather than the Force ............................................................................................................ 98 The Chemical and Biological Dimension ......................................................................................................................... 98 THE IMPACT OF IRANIAN NUCLEAR WEAPONS ON US AND IRANIAN COMPETITION ................................................ 99

Iran’s Use of Nuclear Weapons Once It Possesses Them ................................................................... 99 The Threshold State and “Wars of Intimidation” ............................................................................................................ 99 The Transition Stage: Launch on Warning? Launch Under Attack? .............................................................................. 100 Iranian Efforts to Use a Survivable or “Mature” Nuclear Force .................................................................................... 101

US Responses to Iran’s Nuclear and Missile Efforts ......................................................................... 102 Missile Defense ................................................................................................................................. 102 “Extended Deterrence” ..................................................................................................................... 103 US Preventive Strike Options ............................................................................................................ 104 The Diplomacy and Politics of Preventive Strikes ......................................................................................................... 104 US Strike Options Against Iran ...................................................................................................................................... 105 Killing Hardened and Deeply Buried targets ................................................................................................................. 108

The Aftermath of A US Preventive Attack ........................................................................................ 110 Figure IV.62: Gulf Integrated Missile Defenses ................................................................................... 111 Figure IV.63: Key Assets for a US Strike on Iran .................................................................................. 113 Figure IV.64: Potential US Strike on Iran’s Key Known Nuclear Facilities ........................................... 115 Figure IV.65: NTI List of Suspect Nuclear, Missile, and Biological Facilities ........................................ 116 Possible US War Plans: Attacking, Delaying, Waiting Out ............................................................................................. 120 Figure IV.66: US Demonstrative, Coercive, or Deterrent Strikes ........................................................ 121 Figure IV.67: Limited US Attacks ......................................................................................................... 122 Figure IV.68: Major US Attacks on Iranian CBRN and Major Missile Targets ...................................... 123 Figure IV.69: Major US Attacks on Military and Civilian Targets ......................................................... 124 Figure IV.70: Delay and Then Strike .................................................................................................... 124 Figure IV.71: Ride Out Iranian Proliferation ........................................................................................ 125 THE IMPACT OF ISRAELI-IRANIAN NUCLEAR ARMS RACE ON US AND IRANIAN COMPETITION ................................. 127

Israel’s Fear of An “Existential Threat”............................................................................................. 127 The Unknowns in Assessing Israel’s Calculations of Its Ability to Use Missile Defense, “Extended Deterrence,” and Destroy Iran’s Population Using Nuclear Weapons ............................................. 129 The Unknowns in Assessing Israel’s Preventive Attack Options ....................................................... 130 The Ongoing Policy Debate Within Israel Regarding a Preemptive Strike on Iran ........................... 131 Israeli Public Opinion .................................................................................................................................................... 139 FigureIV.72: Israeli Public Opinion Regarding a Strike on Iran’s Nuclear Facilities -1 ......................... 139 FigureIV.73: Israeli Public Opinion Regarding a Strike on Iran’s Nuclear Facilities -2 ......................... 140 FigureIV.74: Israeli Public Opinion Regarding a Strike on Iran’s Nuclear Facilities -3 ......................... 141 FigureIV.75: Israeli Public Opinion Regarding a Strike on Iran’s Nuclear Facilities -4 ......................... 142 FigureIV.76: Israeli Public Opinion Regarding a Strike on Iran’s Nuclear Facilities -5 ......................... 143 FigureIV.77: Israeli Public Opinion Regarding a Strike on Iran’s Nuclear Facilities -6 ......................... 144

Potential Israeli Options for Striking Iran’s Nuclear Program .......................................................... 145 An Illustrative Air Strike ................................................................................................................................................ 147 The Limits to Israeli Capabilities .................................................................................................................................... 148 Dealing with The Iranian Response ............................................................................................................................... 151 FigureIV.78: Low-Yield Israeli Nuclear Strike on Iran’s Nuclear Facilities ........................................... 154 Figure IV.79: Israeli Conventional Strike on Iran’s Nuclear Facilities .................................................. 155 Figure IV.80: Prossible Israeli Strike Route ......................................................................................... 156 IMPLICATIONS FOR US POLICY ..................................................................................................................... 157

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COMPETITION OVER NUCLEAR THREATS, MISSILES, AND OTHER WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION Iran’s potential acquisition of nuclear weapons, and future ability to arm its missiles and aircraft with such weapons, represents the most serious risk shaping US, Arab, Israeli and other military competition with Iran. It is also an area where the exact details of threat perceptions are particularly critical, although many key aspects of Israeli, US, and Gulf perceptions – as well as the perceptions of the decision makers in other states – are impossible to determine at an unclassified level. There is little disagreement that Iran’s actions pose a potential threat, but there is far less agreement over the nature, scale and timing of this threat. US, European, Gulf, and Israeli policymakers and experts agree that Iran possesses a large and growing missile force, with some missiles capable of hitting Israel, and Europe. They agree that Iran has begun developing longer range and solid fuel missiles. At the same time, the Iranian program is in flux and many of Iran’s missile systems are still in a development phase where their range, accuracy, warhead, and reliability are impossible to predict. There is no agreement as to when Iran may acquire missiles with homing warheads and the kind of terminal guidance that can hit point targets effectively with conventional warheads. There is no agreement on the reliability and accuracy of Iran’s missiles under operational conditions, there is no agreement on Iran’s ability to deploy systems with countermeasures to missile defenses. There is no agreement on when Iran might deploy a fully function nuclear warhead. And, there is no agreement on the future size, character, and basing mode of Iran’s missile forces once its long-range systems are deployed in strength. Estimates of the nature of Iran’s nuclear weapons efforts vary more sharply, although most US, European, Gulf, and Israeli policymakers and experts now agree that Iran is actively working towards at least the capability to produce nuclear weapons. Similarly, they agree that Iran possesses virtually all of the technology and equipment necessary to produce fission weapons and has significant nuclear weapons design data. There is no agreement as to exactly how far Iran has come in weapons design, over the nature of its nuclear weapons program if a dedicated program exists, how much is know about Iran’s various nuclear facilities, its future enrichment programs and how they will be concealed and protected. There is no agreement as to when or whether Iran will carry out actual nuclear tests, produce bombs or warheads (although the spectrum of uncertainty is now generally felt to be 2-5 years), no agreement as to how Iran will approach the storage and control of such weapons,

Iran’s Ballistic Missile Program and its Role in US and Iranian Military Competition Iran has been developing ballistic missile capabilities based on Russian, North Korean, and Chinese technology or weapons systems since the early 1980s. Iran currently possesses the

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largest ballistic missile inventory in the Middle East, and the country’s military and scientific establishments are working to increase the sophistication, scale, and reach of its missiles.1 Iran sees its missile capabilities as a way to compensate for its shortcomings in conventional forces, as well as a means to strike at high-value targets with little warning, such as population centers, and Western and Western-backed forces in the region, including US bases in the Gulf. As such, ballistic missiles play an integral role in Iran’s asymmetric warfare doctrine. Given the emphasis Iran places on its missile program, it is clear that Iran considers its ballistic missile arsenal among its most important assets as both a deterrent to attack and leverage over other regional players.

Iran’s Missile Programs A great deal more unclassified analysis exists of Iran’s long-range rocket and family of ballistic missile programs than can be based reliable data. While some systems like the Scud B are well known, many aspects of Iran’s programs are not. Iran has not conducted the kind of extensive, realistic missile tests at operational ranges and carried through to strikes on target with the same configuration of its modified or Iranian-produced missiles to make reliable estimates of their war fighting capability or give “derived aim point” credibility to the data on accuracy and reliability. Most estimates use a nominal payload that may bear no relation to the actual payload, and this casts serious doubt on both the range-payload data and any estimate of warhead lethality. Moreover, Iran keeps changing key aspects of its longer-range systems while moving towards warhead configurations large enough to either hold a nuclear weapon or more sophisticated conventional or CBW warhead. While Iran’s Scud B and extended range Scud variants approach the status of a mature force, even the unclassified data on the extended range Scuds consists largely of estimates, and its Shahab program seems to undergo constant evolution in spite of the fact a force is deployed. There is, however, no question about Iran’s ability to field long-range missiles and execute strikes, and while the following data are nominal, they do illustrate real world capabilities: 

Figure IV.1 shows the ranges of Iran’s ballistic missiles. While Iran does not yet possess missiles with a range of 4,000 km, the possibility exists that Iran may soon produce missiles with such a capability given scale of its R&D into its ballistic missile program.

Figure IV.2 provides a more conservative estimate for the range of Iran’s current missile forces. According to the BPC’s estimate, Iranian missiles could potentially strike Athens, Bucharest, and Moscow.

Figure IV.3 reflects key developments in Iran’s ballistic missile program in the last several years. Key points include the possibility that Iran could produce and intercontinental ballistic missile by 2015, and indicators that Iran is developing a nuclear warhead for its Shahab-3 intermediate range ballistic missile.

Figure IV.4 provides a table that indicates the names, fuel types, estimated ranges, and likely payloads of the missiles in Iran’s arsenal.

As Figure IV.4 shows, Iran possesses diverse arsenal of ballistic missiles. Of particular note are Iran’s medium-range ballistic missiles (MRBMs), which include the Shahab-3 and its longer1

Statement for the Record on the Worldwide Threat Assessment of the U.S. Intelligence Community for the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, James R. Clapper, 11 Feb. ‟11

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range variants. Based on the North Korean Nodong-1, the Shahab-3 has a range of 1,000 to 1,500 km, and can potentially reach targets throughout the Middle East.2 Other Iranian MRBMs include variants of the Shahab-3, such as the Shahab-3A, Shahab-3B, Shahab-4 (Ghadr-1), Sajjil, and the BM-25. These missiles have ranges of 1,500 to 2,500 km, and are thought to be able to strike at targets throughout the Middle East, Turkey, and southeast Europe.3 Although Iran’s missiles do not possess the precision accuracy necessary for conventionally armed missiles to be effective against point or high value targets, even conventionally armed missiles can be used as tool of terror and intimidation and to strike at targets throughout the region with little, if any, warning. Reports that Iran may develop an ICBM seem to reflect the fact it is developing rocket motor technology that could serve this purpose. These systems can be used for satellite purposes, however, and there is no hard evidence that Iran has a meaningful ICBM program at present. In February 2012, Israel’s Finance Minister, Yuval Steinitz, stated that Iran could develop an ICBM that could reach the East Coast of the US within the next two to three years,4 "They (the Iranians) are working now and investing a lot of billions of dollars in order to develop intercontinental ballistic missiles… And we estimate that in two to three years they will have the first intercontinental ballistic missiles that can reach the East Coast of America. So their aim is to put a direct nuclear ballistic threat ... to Europe and to the United States of America.”

Given what is known about Iran’s ballistic missile technology, these claims are not likely to be accurate; Iran, in all likelihood, has not reached the level of guidance or re-entry technology necessary to effectively strike at the East Coast of the US or anywhere else of similar range with an ICBM. A more probable estimate is 5-10 years.5 While a great deal of reporting focuses on Iran’s advances and tests concerning rocket motor and booster technology, guidance and reentry technology – far more difficult technologies to master – will remain, in all probability, beyond Iran’s capabilities for the next several years.

What Iran’s Actions and Statements Say About Its View of Competition: Ballistic Missiles Iran continues to deny it is seeking nuclear weapons but it is much more forthright about its missile programs, and it has made missile test firings a major part of its televised military exercises: 

"Our missiles have tactically offensive and strategically deterrent and defensive features… Our fingers are still kept on the trigger, but the number of these triggers has increased." – Brigadier General Hossein Salami, Lieutenant Commander of the IRGC, June 28, 2011.

U.S. Congressional Research Service. “Iran’s Ballistic Missile Programs: An Overview.” RS22758, 04 Feb. ‟09, Steven A. Hildreth. 2

U.S. Congressional Research Service. “Iran’s Ballistic Missile Programs: An Overview.” RS22758, 04 Feb. ‟09, Steven A. Hildreth. 3

4

“Iran Progressing Toward ICBM Capability, Israeli Finance Minister Says.” NTI. February 22, 2012. http://www.nti.org/gsn/article/iran-progressing-toward-icbm-capability-israel-says/ 5

“Experts Question Predictions on Iranian ICBM.” NTI. February 24, 2011. http://www.nti.org/gsn/article/expertsquestion-iranian-icbm-capabilities/

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"We feel to be threatened by no county but the US and the Zionist regime and the ranges of our missile have been designed based on the distances between us and the US bases in the region and the Zionist regime." – Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh, commander of the IRGC’s Aerospace Division, June 28, 2011.

"The mass production of the Qiyam missile, the first without stabilizer fins, shows the Islamic Republic of Iran's self-sufficiency in producing various types of missiles." – Iranian Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi, May 22, 2011.

“As the enemy’s threats will likely come from the sea, air, and by missiles, the Revolutionary Guard has been equipped to neutralize the enemy’s advanced technology.” – Mohammed Ali Jafari, commander of the IRGC on a new anti-ship ballistic missile that Iran has allegedly developed, February 7, 2011.

“Iran is mass producing a smart ballistic missile for sea targets with a speed three times more than the speed of sound.” – Major General Mohammed Ali Jafari, commander of the IRGC, February 7, 2011.

“The operational capabilities of the missile unit of the IRGC Aerospace Force will be remarkably enhanced.” – Iranian Minister of Defense Ahmad Vahidi regarding the new indigenously produced Fateh110 ballistic missile, September 21, 2010.

"Those who are hostile to the Islamic Republic of Iran definitely have the right to be concerned about the drills, but we didn't hear any feeling of concern from the side of the regional countries since our moves and actions have always been in pursuit of defensive goals. We are entitled to the right to growingly strengthen ourselves to protect the Islamic Iran and we naturally increase our power on a daily basis until we acquire full (power of) deterrence." – General Amir Ali Hajizadeh, commander of the IRGC’s Aerospace Division in reference to Iran’s most recent missile tests, July 9, 2011.6

As these statements show, Iran views its ballistic missiles as a critical component of its national defense. In addition to an effective means for delivering a nuclear warhead, Iran’s military establishment firmly believes that an effective ballistic missile program provides the country with increased strategic and asymmetric capabilities.

Missiles as a Form of Deterrence Iranian officials regularly make references to their missile forces as an effective deterrent to attack, and the Iranian leadership is not shy about its country’s advancements concerning ballistic missile technology. High-ranking officials in Iran’s political and military establishments regularly boast of their country’s progress in this field. During the Great Prophet 6 war games in late June 2011, the commander of the IRGC’s Aerospace Division, Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh, stated that, “We feel to be threatened by no county [sic] but the US and the Zionist regime and the ranges of our missile [sic] have been designed based on the distances between us and the US bases in the region and the Zionist regime.”7

Later, on July 9, 2011, General Hajizadeh stated the following about the war games:

6

Quotes taken from a number of Iranian news sources such as Fars News, PressTV, the Tehran Times, and others. Also included are quotes from Western news outlets such as CNN, the New York Times, and the Washington Post. 7

“All US, Israeli Bases Within Iran’s Missile Range.” Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting. June 28, 2011, http://english.irib.ir/voj/news/top-stories/item/79921-all-us-israeli-bases-within-irans-missile-range

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“Those who are hostile to the Islamic Republic of Iran definitely have the right to be concerned about the drills, but we didn’t hear any feeling of concern from the side of regional countries since our moves and actions have always been in pursuit of defensive goals. We are entitled to the right to growingly strengthen ourselves to protect the Islamic Iran and we naturally increase our power on a daily basis until we acquire full (power of) deterrence.” 8

On June 28, 2011, Lieutenant Commander of the IRGC, Brigadier General Hossein Salami, also made reference to the deterrent that Iran perceives in its missile forces: “Our missiles have tactically offensive and strategically deterrent and defensive features… Our fingers are still kept on the trigger, but the number of these triggers has increased.” 9

Remarks made by such a high-ranking figure are revealing. They are a direct indication of the Iranian regime’s continued willingness to improve its ballistic missile arsenal as a component of its asymmetric warfare capabilities and the deterrent it generates against the US and regional US allies. Given Iran’s foreign policy objectives, conventional shortcomings, and ever-expanding missile program, it is clear that Iran sees its missile program as an effective tool to improve its strategic standing and assert itself in the region.

Missiles as a Form of Warfighting It is far less clear that Iran has the ability to translate its current missile force into anything more than a limited “terror” weapon. While its rockets and medium range missiles are relatively accurate, they remain area weapons systems that can hit a broad area but not a key point target – and then only if they are pro-per targeted and fired, and function reliably. Iran’s longer-range systems sometimes have reasonably accurate engineering CEPs or circular error of probability. This means that if the system is perfectly aimed, functions perfectly, and the design functions as exactly as it should, half the rockets and missiles will fall with a given distance from the target determined by the technology of the guidance platform. In practice, however, Iran has not conducted enough realistic tests of its systems to provide enough data to calculate accuracy and reliability, particularly under realistic field conditions. It is also true in general, that missiles rarely achieve their stated CEP in practice. As a result, many of Iran’s longer-range systems will be lucky to hit within a 1-2 kilometer distance of their target even if they function perfectly. A high explosive warhead on a long-range missile also presents design problems. Unless it is almost perfectly fused and designed – or uses cluster munitions that are explosively disseminated at exactly the right altitude – the damage effect tends to be limited by the fact the explosion is deflected upwards at the warhead hits the earth. As a result, the damage effect is significantly less than that caused by a bomb or artillery shell of the same general size. Iran may has cluster munitions on some of its systems, but the presence, character, and effectiveness of such warheads is not clear from unclassified data and it is not clear that Iran could have conducted enough suitable tests of its longer range systems for even Iran to have reliable data. 8

“Iran Reiterates Deterrent Nature of Recent http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.php?nn=9004183678

Missile

Drills.”

Fars

News.

July

9,

2011,

9

“Commander: IRGC Able to Launch Rapid, Massive Missile Strikes.” Fars News, June 28, 2011, http://english.farsnews.ir/newstext.php?nn=9004074141

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As was demonstrated during the “war of the cities” during the Iran-Iraq war, by the use of the Scud missile during the Afghan War, and by the Iraqi Scud attacks on Israel and Saudi Arabia during the Gulf War in 1991, weapons of this kind can have a powerful propaganda impact – at least initially. There were reports during the Iran-Iraq War of civilians and officials fleeing Tehran. Iraqis, Israelis, Saudis, and Coalition forces also routinely took shelter during missile attacks, and the Israeli press report many cases of individuals that effectively panicked in 1991 – although perhaps more from fear that missile might have chemical weapons than out of a fear of missiles or conventional warheads per se. These psychological effects, however, wore off relatively quickly. There were not enough missile firings to sustain a high degree of popular fears, and people were soon reported to be going to their roofs at night to “watch the show.” There is simply too munch empty area in a given urban complex or large military base for largely random strikes to either produce critical damage or kill enough people to shock or intimidate the population. These conditions obviously do not apply if a missile warhead has reliable and accurate terminal homing of the kind the US deployed on the Pershing II, the level of accuracy of US cruise missiles, or have truly reliable and effective cluster weapons. Even then, however, the probably lethality will at best be that of a single bomb of the same size, and it is far from clear that the terminal guidance of a ballistic missile will really achieve the same accuracy as a cruise missile or precision guided bomb, The problems impose by range, far great levels of acceleration and reentry buffeting are simply too great. These conditions also do not apply if a missile is armed with a nuclear warhead or a truly effective chemical or biological weapon. Once again, however, even nuclear weapons need to be part of a warhead with a reliable height of burst to reach maximum, predictable effectiveness. The conditions are far more challenging for chemical and biological weapons (CBW). The closing velocities of missile warheads are so great, and getting a broad dissemination of chemical agents at the right height is a major engineering challenge. This is equally true of biological agents, some of which are also extremely sensitive to sunlight. CBW warheads are much easier to design in the computer than make work in the field.

The Warfighting Capabilities of Iran’s Current Missile Force Given this background, the net effect of Iran’s ballistic missiles and US efforts at missile defense on both countries’ capabilities is uncertain. Although Iran boasts a large arsenal of conventionally-armed missiles of varying ranges and payloads shown in Figure IV.3, Iran’s lack of terminal guidance, and highly lethal warheads sharply reduces their military effectiveness. As long as Iran’s missiles remain conventionally armed and lack precision guidance, they will not have a significant impact on the conventional military balance in the Middle East. It is important to note, however, that Iran appears to be making headway in solid fuel rocket technology – the Sejjil and Zelale line of rockets are reported to use solid fuels. Moreover, the vehicle for Iran’s Omid (“Hope”) communications satellite, the Safir SLV, purportedly uses a two-stage solid fuel motor.1011 It is important to note that Iran’s ability to successfully launch a 10

Missilethreat.com. http://missilethreat.com/missilesoftheworld/id.177/missile_detail.asp

11

“Iran.” NTI. http://www.nti.org/country-profiles/iran/delivery-systems/

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solid fuel, multistage rocket represents an advance that could one day allow it to test and produce ICBMs at some point in the future. Iran can use its missiles can be used politically and strategically, and not simply to damage targets. Selective firings and “volleys” of conventionally armed, unguided long-range missiles and rockets can and might well be used as political symbols or terror weapons. Iran might use its missiles to strike at Israel after an Israeli preventive strike, or to strike at Israel in some other contingency where it felt the political symbolism inside Iran and the Arab and Islam worlds were worth the cost. It might take the same approach in an asymmetric war with the US and Arab Gulf states, or after a US preventive strike on Iran. Even a few missile strikes might be seen as a demonstration of Iran’s willingness to escalate even further, or growing future ability to strike with far more effectiveness. Moreover, even token strikes can be used for internal political propaganda purposes The Escalating Impact of Iranian Missile Capabilities The initial psychological impact of Iran’s ability to launch a sudden, massive missile barrage on regional population centers and military installations, should not be underestimated. Neither should the possibility of a lucky hit the produced enough casualties or highly visible damage to had a lasting psychological impact – what might grimly be called the “World Trade Center effect.” Iran’s ability to launch a large volume of missiles over a period of days with little warning as to the first round of launches does give Iran leverage and make such missiles a weapon of intimidation. Even if – and perhaps especially if – they are never used, Iran’s missiles also have the capability to intimidate and leverage Iran’s neighbors, and to force the US and its regional allies to devote resources to missile defense. If Iran were to arm its missiles with effective warheads with extremely accurate and reliable terminal guidance – or develop long-range cruise missiles with such capability – this would significantly change such war fighting calculations. Key export, power, desalination facility, and military targets would then become targets or hostages. Similarly, even the credible threat – much less use of – CBRN warheads might dramatically upset the regional balance. Such capabilities would provide Iran with both a much more solid deterrent, and a greater capability to exercise a bolder and more aggressive regional foreign policy The situation would also be very different if these missiles are armed with weapons of mass destruction. With chemical, biological, radiological, or nuclear (CBRN) warheads, Iran’s ballistic missiles would provide a much more effective deterrent to attack and provide Tehran with the ability to strike at major population centers. Given such payloads, even a small number of missiles armed with CBRN warheads that bypassed US and Arab Gulf defenses and countermeasures could potentially cause massive casualties, and do considerable damage to the militaries, economies, and critical infrastructure of regional countries. These capabilities, in combination with the deterrent and the psychological impact they would produce, would have a profound impact on the strategic balance between Iran and the US and its Arab Gulf allies. The Impact of Missile Defenses Iran already must deal with the fact that the US and Southern Gulf states are steadily improving their missile defenses. The US has long agreed to provide the Gulf states and Israel with data that warns them of missile launches and provides data on the missile’s target. Most Gulf states have 11


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greatly improve versions of the Patriot that can defend against Iran’s Scuds and Scud variant and have some capability against high speed closures from larger missiles like the Shahab. US missile defense cruisers can defend against any of Iran’s missiles over a relatively wide area, and are acquiring steadily more capable anti-missile missiles. The UAE is considering buying and deploying the THAAD wide area defense system, and all of the Southern Gulf states are being briefed on possible buys of the SM-2 series or THAAD. The US cooperates closely with Israel in missile defense, and Israel is steadily upgrading its Arrow missile defense system. No system is likely to be leak proof – and it m ay be argued that any exchange would be one between missiles and anti-missile with unproven and unpredictable performance – but Iran’s missile threat grows steadily less credible as these missile defenses improve. Moreover, it is one thing to be threatened by the risk one nuclear-armed missile gets through to a key target area, and quite another to face the risk a few far less lethal missile get through. Conventional or even CBarmed missiles become steadily less credible as “terror” or psychological weapons as missile defenses improve. The Impact of Retaliatory Threats and Retaliation Iran’s also cannot strike in an environment where there will be no response. Saudi Arabia already has long-range, conventionally armed Chinese missiles that can strike area targets in Iran. There are questions about the status, reliability, readiness, and accuracy of the Saudi missiles, but these same questions apply to Iran’s forces. This raises the specter of any missile “war of the cities” of the kind Iran and Iraq. Iran also faces the risk of retaliation by the air forces of Gulf states like Saudi Arabia and the UAE as they acquire steadily better strike fighters with sophisticated stand-off air-to-surface weapons. Iran is becoming more vulnerable to Southern Gulf air forces as they acquire missile defenses and become less vulnerable to Iranian missiles. Any Iranian use of long-range missiles against another Gulf state presents a broader escalatory problem for Iran. Even one such missile firing would effectively escalate to a level where the US would have no clear limits on its use of air and cruise missile power to strike at strategic targets in Iran. Iran’s major cities are also as vulnerable in terms of power, water, and fuel supplies as the cities of the southern Gulf, and Iran’s refineries and certain ley links in its ports and transport systems are highly vulnerable as well. Iran cannot possibly win a contest in escalation with its current conventional forces and conventionally armed missiles. These calculations again change if Iran gets weapons of mass destruction, and the US Director of National Intelligence, James RT. Clapper, focused on this risk in his Worldwide Threat Assessment for 2012 statement:12 We judge Iran would likely choose missile delivery as its preferred method of delivering a nuclear weapon. Iran already has the largest inventory of ballistic missiles in the Middle East, and it is expanding the scale, reach, and sophistication of its ballistic missile forces, many of which are inherently capable of carrying a nuclear payload. 12

James R. Clapper, Director of National Intelligence, Unclassified Statement for the Record on the Worldwide Threat Assessment of the US Intelligence Community for the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, January 31, 2012, http://www.dni.gov/

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We judge Iran’s nuclear decision-making is guided by a cost-benefit approach, which offers the international community opportunities to influence Tehran. Iranian leaders undoubtedly consider Iran’s security, prestige, and influence, as well as the international political and security environment, when making decisions about its nuclear program. Iran’s growing inventory of ballistic missiles and its acquisition and indigenous production of anti-ship cruise missiles (ASCM) provide capabilities to enhance its power projection. Tehran views its conventionally armed missiles as an integral part of its strategy to deter—and if necessary retaliate against—forces in the region, including US forces. Its ballistic missiles are inherently capable of delivering WMD, and, if so armed, would fit into this strategy.

Clapper was also reported to have said during his testimony that Iran might get a nuclear device in a time period as short as a year under worst case conditions and armed a missile in as little as two more years. As is discussed in far more detail later in this analysis, however, this is not a process Iran can win. Iran’s actions have almost certainly already provoked Israel into developing the capability to target thermonuclear warheads on every major Iranian city, creating an “existential” threat to Iran long before Iran will pose one to Israel. Saudi Arabia and the GCC states may well have the option of turning to Pakistan for nuclear-armed missiles, and senior Saudi officials have said Saudi Arabia has examined nuclear options. The US has also officially offered its regional friends and allies “extended deterrence” of the kind it once provide to Europe during the Cold War – essentially confronting Iran with an open-ended threat of US retaliation. The US is already reacting by deploying four guided missile defense destroyers to the Mediterranean, working with Turkey to improve missile warning coverage, working with the Arab Gulf states to develop missile defenses in the Gulf, and creating new targeting and strike capabilities to attack the Iranian missile threat. While it has received less attention than the US statements about its priorities for Asia, the new US strategy announced in January 2012 also made it clear than the US saw the Middle East and Gulf as one of two areas that had the highest priority in the future, and that the threat from Iran was seen as a critical issue. Even if Iran does go nuclear as part of this aspect of its competition with the US and its Gulf, neighbors, it is far from clear that it will not suffer more than any nations it attacks. No one can downplay the psychological and political impact of even the threat of nuclear strikes, the deterrent impact it might have in limiting a response to Iran’s use of asymmetric warfare, or the risk of some “accident” or miscalculation. The worst moments ion history actually occurred and rarely because of accurate calculations by rational bargainers.

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Figure IV.1: Estimated Range of Iranian Long-range Missile Forces

Source: NASIC, B&CM Threat 2006, Jacoby Testimony March 2005

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Figure IV.2: Estimated Range of Iranian Long-range Missile Forces -2

Source: Bipartisan Policy Center. “Meeting the Challenge: Stopping the Clock.� February 2012. http://www.bipartisanpolicy.org/sites/default/files/BPC%20Iran%20Report.pdf

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Figure IV.3: Iran’s Ballistic Missile Arsenal Shahab-3 (“Meteor”)

800-mile range. The Defense Department report of April 2010, cited earlier, has the missiles as “deployed.” Still, several of its tests (July 1998, July 2000, and September 2000) reportedly were unsuccessful or partially successful, and US experts say the missile is not completely reliable. Iran tested several of the missiles on September 28, 2009, in advance of the October 1 meeting with the P5+1.

1,200-1,500-mile range. The April 2010 Defense Department report has the liquid fueled Shahab3 “variant” as “possibly deployed.” The solid fuel version, called the Sajjil, is considered “not” “Variant”/Sajjil deployed by the Defense Department. The Sajjil is alternatively called the “Ashoura.” These missiles potentially put large portions of the Near East and Southeastern Europe in range, including US bases in Turkey. Shahab-3

BM-25

1,500-mile range. On April 27, 2006, Israel’s military intelligence chief said that Iran had received a shipment of North Korean-supplied BM-25 missiles. Missile said to be capable of carrying nuclear warheads. The Washington Times appeared to corroborate this reporting in a July 6, 2006 story, which asserted that the North Korean-supplied missile is based on a Soviet-era “SS-N-6” missile. Press accounts in December 2010 indicate that Iran may have received components but not the entire BM-25 missile from North Korea.

ICBM

US officials believe Iran might be capable of developing an intercontinental ballistic missile (3,000 mile range) by 2015, a time frame reiterated by the April 2010 DOD report.

Other Missiles

On September 6, 2002, Iran said it successfully tested a 200 mile range “Fateh-110” missile (solid propellant), and Iran said in late September 2002 that it had begun production. Iran also possesses a few hundred short-range ballistic missiles, including the Shahab-1 (Scud-B), the Shahab-2 (Scud-C), and the Tondar-69 (CSS-8). In January 2009, Iran claimed to have tested a new air-toair missile. On March 7, 2010, Iran claimed it was now producing short-range cruise missiles that it claimed are highly accurate and can destroy heavy targets. At a February 8, 2011 press conference, IRGC chief Mohammed Ali Jafari announced that Iran had developed the Khalij Fars (“Persian Gulf”), a “smart” anti-ship ballistic missile based on the Fateh-110 that is allegedly able to hit high-value targets throughout the Gulf.

Space Vehicle

In February 2008, Iran claimed to have launched a probe into space, suggesting its missile technology might be improving to the point where an Iranian ICBM is realistic. Following an August 2008 failure, in early February 2009, Iran successfully launched a small, low-earth satellite on a Safir-2 rocket (range about 155 miles). The Pentagon said the launch was “clearly a concern of ours” because “there are dual-use capabilities here which could be applied toward the development of long-range missiles.” Additionally, Iran has embarked on an ambitious satellite launch program since early-mid 2011.

Warheads

A Wall Street Journal report of September 14, 2005, said that US intelligence believes Iran is working to adapt the Shahab-3 to deliver a nuclear warhead. Subsequent press reports say that US intelligence captured an Iranian computer in mid-2004 showing plans to construct a nuclear warhead for the Shahab. The IAEA is seeking additional information from Iran.

Sources: US Congressional Research Service. “Iran: US Concerns and Policy Responses.” RL32048, 14 Feb. ’11, Kenneth Katzman, Iranian Reporting

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Figure IV.4: Iranian Rockets and Missiles Missile

Translation

Fuel Type

Estimated Range

Payload

Fajr-3

Dawn-3

Solid

45 km

45 kg

Fajr-5

Dawn-5

Solid

75 km

90 kg

Fateh-110

Victorious

Solid

20 km

500 kg

Ghadr-1

Powerful-1

Liquid

1600 km

750 kg

Iran-130/Nazeat

Removal

Solid

90-120 km

150 kg

Liquid

2500-3000 km

400-450 kg

Kh-55 Nazeat-6

Removal-6

Solid

100 km

150 kg

Nazeat-10

Removal-10

Solid

140-150 km

250 kg

Oghab

Eagle

Solid

40 km

70 kg

Sajjil-2

Baked Clay-2

Solid

2200-2400 km

750 kg

Shahab-1

Meteor-1

Liquid

300 km

1000 kg

Shahab-2

Meteor-2

Liquid

500 km

730 kg

Shahab-3

Meteor-3

Liquid

800-1000 km

760-1100 kg

Shahin-1

Hawk-1

Solid

13 km

Shahin-2

Hawk-2

Solid

20 km

Zelzal-1

Earthquake-1

Solid

125 km

600 kg

Zelzal-2

Earthquake-2

Solid

200 km

600 kg

Source: 2010 IISS Iran’s Ballistic Missile Capabilities: A Net Assessment

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Nuclear Competition: Estimating and Reacting to the Iranian Nuclear Threat Iran’s nuclear programs represent the most controversial and uncertain aspect of its military efforts and competition with the US and its neighbors. Iran continues to deny that it is seeking nuclear weapons, but every new IAEA and media report documents further indicators that it is actively developing at least the capability to manufacture and deploy nuclear weapons if it chooses to do so.

Iran’s Statements about Its Nuclear Program While Iran denies it is seeking nuclear weapons, it has made statements regarding the nature of its nuclear program and its role in competition with the US and other countries that provide useful insights into Iranian attitudes: 

"(A) constructive and positive attitude towards the Islamic Republic of Iran's new initiatives in this round of talks could open positive perspective for our negotiation. Therefore...I propose to resume our talks in order to take fundamental steps for sustainable cooperation in the earliest possibility in a mutually agreed venue and time." -Iranian chief negotiator Saeed Jalili, February 16, 2012. http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/02/16/us-iran-idUSTRE81E0RF20120216

"The era of bullying nations has past. The arrogant powers cannot monopolize nuclear technology. They tried to prevent us by issuing sanctions and resolutions but failed. Our nuclear path will continue." – President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, February 15, 2012. http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/02/15/us-iran-idUSTRE81E0RF20120215

“The first home-made nuclear fuel roads will be loaded in the Tehran Nuclear Research Reactor in the presence of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Wednesday." -Ali Baqeri, Undersecretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council, February 15, 2012. http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.php?nn=9010174934

“The U.N.'s chief nuclear inspector arrived in Iran on Sunday on a mission to clear up "outstanding substantive issues" on Tehran's atomic program, and called for dialogue with the Islamic state. We have always had a broad and close cooperation with the agency and we have always maintained transparency as one of our principles working with the agency.” –Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi, January 29, 2012. http://www.alarabiya.net/articles/2012/01/29/191187.html

“Iranian nation cannot be defeated. Not only should we be able to use all our capacities and potentials in nuclear technology, we should also export nuclear know-how.” – Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, April 11, 2011.

"Iran plans to build four to five new reactors with a capacity of 10 to 20 megawatts in different provinces within the next few years to produce radio-medicine and perform research…Fuel production or uranium enrichment to a purity level of 20 percent will not be halted. Iran will produce fuel for the Tehran Research Reactor in due course….To provide the fuel for these reactors, we need to continue with the 20-percent enrichment of uranium." – Fereydoon Abbasi, head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, April 12, 2011.

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"We will transfer the 20 percent enrichment from Natanz to the [Qum] site this year, under the supervision of the (International Atomic Energy) Agency. We will also triple the (production) capacity. The 20 percent enrichment will not be stopped at Natanz until the production level is three times higher than its current rate." – Fereydoon Abbasi, head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, June 8, 2011.

"The day after the first Iranian nuclear test for us Iranians will be an ordinary day, but in the eyes of many of us, it will have a new shine, from the power and dignity of the nation." – Excerpt from a text entitled "The Day After the First Iranian Nuclear Test -- a Normal Day," which was posted on the IRGC-run Gerdab website, June 9, 2011.

“No offer from world leaders could stop Iran from enriching uranium." – Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, June 7, 2011.

"When we say we do not want to make bomb it means we do not want to. If we want to make a bomb we are not afraid of anyone and we are not afraid to announce it, no one can do a damn thing.” – Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, June 23, 2011. 13

It is difficult to draw any certain conclusions regarding Iran’s goals, given the opacity and controversial nature of Iran’s nuclear program. More often than not, Iranian officials make blanket statements that insist that their country’s nuclear program is for solely peaceful purposes, namely research and the production of nuclear power and medical isotopes. It is clear, though, that Iran perceives its nuclear program as a source of national pride. Other statements made by Iranian officials regarding the nature of the country’s nuclear program, however, are often ambiguous and contradictory. While Iranian officials often affirm that the program is peaceful, they also regularly make defiant statements about increasing the production of uranium enriched to 20%, and implied, indirect statements about producing a nuclear weapon. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad stated the following at a June 23, 2011 inauguration of a sewage treatment plant in southern Tehran: "When we say we do not want to make bomb it means we do not want to. If we want to make a bomb we are not afraid of anyone and we are not afraid to announce it, no one can do a damn thing.” 14

On June 9, 2011, the IRGC-run website Gerdab published a text entitled “The Day after the First Iranian Nuclear Test – a Normal Day,” which stated the following: "The day after the first Iranian nuclear test for us Iranians will be an ordinary day, but in the eyes of many of us, it will have a new shine, from the power and dignity of the nation." 15

The text also contained the following excerpt from the Quran, 13

Quotes taken from a number of Iranian news sources such as Fars News, PressTV, the Tehran Times, and others. Also included are quotes from Western news outlets such as CNN, the New York Times, and the Washington Post. 14

Pouladi, Farhad. “Ahmadinejad Insists Iran Not Seeking Nuclear Bomb.” AFP, June 23, 2011. http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5hH8mB4iW9MJ6ElbozG5o8QlZDqA?docId=CNG.34a096065d43eb06d18ea86500b8f1a9.01 Timmerman, Ken. “Iran Eager for Nuclear Test.” Newsmax.com, June 10, 2011. http://www.newsmax.com/KenTimmerman/RevolutionaryGuards-iran-nuclear-powerplant/2011/06/10/id/399582 15

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“And prepare against them whatever you are able of power and of steeds of war by which you may terrify the enemy of Allah.”16

Such statements, while indirect, hypothetical, and lacking in specifics, have a hostile bent, and indicate that Iran does not perceive its nuclear program as solely for peaceful purposes. Contrarily, such statements can be construed as defiant, veiled threats leveled at Iran’s perceived enemies. Although such statements seem plainly indicative as to Iran’s nuclear intentions, they must be kept in context, as the tone and the nature of Iranian statements regarding the country’s nuclear problem often vary depending on the audience. Consequently, it is difficult to discern which statements actually reflect Iran’s true intentions as opposed to posturing to serve its foreign policy goals. Although Iran’s exact intentions regarding its nuclear program are uncertain, the above statements and others like them reflect that Iran has at the very least contemplated producing nuclear weapons, and perceives its nuclear program as having a military dimension.

Analyzing the Details of What Is Known and What Is Uncertain Over the last half decade, a great deal of information has surface that directly contradicts Iran’s claims that it is not seeking a weapon – or at least moving to the “threshold” level where it has all of the technology needed to produce a weapon, and has – or can rapidly produce – the highly enriched weapons grade material needed for a bomb. In February 2012, a trove of secret telexes dating to 1992 emerged that reveal Iranian attempts to procure 220 pounds of highly caustic fluorine gas – a material used in uranium enrichment – in addition to other materials used in nuclear programs such as mass spectrometers and other equipment. These items were purportedly ordered by the Iran’s Sharif University for use in research. These telexes reveal, however, that these materials were intended for a secret research program under the control of the Iranian military.17 While not an absolute indicator of weaponized nuclear research, these telexes and Iran’s attempt at masking the true destination of these materials and equipment indicate that Iran has been operating a clandestine nuclear program for 20 years. Furthermore, they establish that Iran has engaged in a pattern of deception regarding its nuclear activity since the early 1990s. Iran’s constantly efforts to describe every new discovery by the IAEA and the outside world as either a peaceful research or nuclear activity, or as a defensive effort to protect its civil nuclear programs, does leave many question open. So does the fact some intelligence analysts believe in broke up its formal nuclear program in 2003, and has never resumed an integrated weapons development program. There seem to be serious differences within the US intelligence community – and between US, Israeli, and other experts – over this issue. Many believe Iran has resumed a covert program or never really disbanded its program in 2003 – simply changing the cover structure concealing the program and some key personnel.

Timmerman, Ken. “Iran Eager for Nuclear Test.” Newsmax.com, June 10, 2011. http://www.newsmax.com/KenTimmerman/RevolutionaryGuards-iran-nuclear-powerplant/2011/06/10/id/399582 16

Warrick, Joby. “Formerly secret telexes reveal Iran’s early use of deceit in nuclear program.” February 23, 2012. http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/formerly-secret-telexes-offer-window-into-iransnuclear-deceit/2012/02/11/gIQAOiBlTR_story.html?tid=pm_pop 17

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The difficulty in making such assessments is compounded by the fact that Iran can carry out every part of a nuclear weapons development program except final integration as series of parallel technology and manufacturing development efforts. It can also create a whole new set of layers to hide a covert program, and it can carry on creating new technologies like improved centrifuges and reactor development which it later can use to set up new enrichment sites in much smaller deep mountain shelters or surface buildings in the nuclear equivalent of a shell game. Virtually every such activity can be explained away if discovered, or denied with varying levels of credibility. Many can also have legitimate dual uses in civil programs or research or actually be civil uses. There also is no magic point where a nation reaches the “threshold level” and there are many different stages at which Iran can bring its nuclear program to readiness. Going on to enrich material to the level where a weapon can be assembled leaves great ambiguity as to Iran’s intentions and what it may conceal, as well as presents major problems in terms of outside assessments of how far Iran has actually progressed. Similarly, assembling – or claiming to assemble – a device does not require testing. Iran can leave its ability to design a functioning weapons through modeling and simulation a matter of speculation. Non-critical testing of a weapons design, or subcritical testing of a fractional explosion is an issue. A nuclear underground test does not reveal the level of progress in weapons design. Testing of simulated warheads may not be detected and does not require telemetry. Iran can create a complex network of deception, denial, fears, and false claims throughout the process of developing and deploying a nuclear weapon. Moreover, as IAEA reports have now shown over last decade, Iran can comply with most – or all – of the terms of the NNPT and IAEA inspection and still move forward at a slower, more parallel pace. In short, it is easy to select the evidence to match a given thesis about Iran’s programs and progress. But, although the evidence of a weapons program does steadily accumulate, all of these real world uncertainties must be kept constantly in mind. Figure IV.4 through Figure IV.43 address these issues and uncertainties by providing a range of data and views of developments in the Iranian nuclear and missile programs, Iran’s lack of cooperation with the IAEA, and indicate the possible weaponization of Iran’s nuclear program. These Figures deliberately provide a high level of detail to help distinguish sources and the individual aspects of Iran’s programs. It should be stressed, however, that they have many uncertainties and that there are still many aspects of the Iranian nuclear and missile programs that remain uncertain and controversial. Hard data are lacking on many aspects of Iran’s current efforts, and experts are forced to speculate. There are still experts who question whether Iran is seeking nuclear weapons, and there is no consensus over exactly how soon Iran will be able to get the weapons-grade fissile material it needs. Nevertheless, these figures shows patterns of Iranian activity, and potential future Iranian capabilities, that could have a massive impact on US and Iranian competition, and the security of the Arab states, Turkey, Israel, and Iran’s other regional neighbors. 

Figure IV.5 provides the ISIS’ projection of Iran’s potential future capabilities to make weapon-grade uranium.

Figure IV.6

provides ISIS estimates regarding the different probabilities of Iranian paths to nuclear explosive materials. Each probability reflects the likelihood that 21


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Iran would pursue each method, based on a judgment of its technical capabilities to do so and a range of factors that deter its pursuit of this method. 

Figure IV.7 reflects Iran’s total enriched uranium stockpile by the level to which it is enriched, quantities at each site, as well as the gross and net total estimations of Iran’s enriched uranium.

Figure IV.8 reflects the cumulative production of low-enriched uranium (LEU) at Iran’s principal enrichment site, Natanz. As of February 2012, more than 5,451 kg of LEU has been produced. As of February 2008, less than 200 kg had been produced.

Figure IV.9 reflects the likely impact that Stuxnet had on the production of LEU at the Natanz enrichment site. The figure reflects the fact that as of January 31, 2010, 11 cascades in Module A26 were disconnected. There were 1,804 IR-1 centrifuges in these 11 cascades. As of May 24, 2010, five cascades were disconnected. It also reflects that in the time period between August 12, 2009 and August 29, 2010, between 14 and 18 cascades were installed but not under vacuum, and up to two had their centrifuges disconnected.

Figure IV.10 shows trends in the number of centrifuges operating at Natanz. While the number has increased dramatically since February 2007, the number of centrifuges in operation since August 2009 has fluctuated, possibly due to the Stuxnet virus. In February 2012, however, the IAEA reported that Iran is operating almost all of its available centrifuges, and is enriching uranium at the site at an accelerated rate.

Figure IV.11 shows trends in the number of cascades enriching uranium, the amount of LEU produced monthly, and the amount of UF6 produced monthly. Note that there has been a general increase in each, with intermittent drops in production starting in June 2008. It is likely that equipment restrictions due to sanctions and the effects of the Stuxnet virus are to blame for the sporadic drops in production.

Figure IV.12 indicates Iran’s rate of production of LEU as well as levels of centrifuge operation at the Natanz Fuel Enrichment Plant (FEP). It indicates that as of November 1, 2011, Iran has produced 4,922 kg of LEU at the FEP, which is enough to produce four nuclear weapons if further enriched to weapons grade HEU. Moreover, it indicates that the average production of LEU at the FEP was 145 kg per month of LEU hexafluoride a rate that has fallen slightly from the last reporting period, where Iran produced 148 kg per month. Lastly, as of November 2, 2011, Iran was enriching in 37 cascades containing a total of 6,208 IR-1 centrifuges

Figure IV.13 reflects the history of Iran’s monthly production of low enriched uranium until February 2012. It shows that Iran’s rate of low enriched uranium production is accelerating, and has never been as high as it was during February 2012.

Figure IV.14 provides the main points stressed in the IAEA report of February 24, 2012. It shows that Iran has achieved a near three-fold increase in production of 19.75 percent LEU at Natanz and Fordow, has increased the number of centrifuges enriching at Natanz by nearly 50%, and has installed 8,000 additional IR-1 centrifuge casings at Natanz and Fordow.

Figure IV.15 provides information regarding the Fuel Enrichment Plant (FEP) at Natanz as of February 2012. Iran’s total LEU production at the FEP through February 4, 2012 is reported to be 5,451 kg of low enriched uranium hexafluoride, including 580 kg estimated by Iran to have been produced since October 17, 2011. This total amount of low enriched uranium if further enriched to weapon grade is enough to make over four nuclear weapons. The average production of LEU at the FEP was 170 kg per month of LEU hexafluoride, a rate that has increased significantly from the last reporting period, where Iran produced 145 kg per month. The number of centrifuges enriching at the FEP has increased by about 50 percent, but centrifuge performance remains below par.

Figure IV.16 provides information regarding the deployment of advanced centrifuge designs at the Pilot Fuel Enrichment Plant (PFEP) at Natanz as well as information concerning uranium enriched to 19.75% as of February 2012. Iran appears to be encountering problems in its testing of production-scale cascades of advanced centrifuge at the Pilot Fuel Enrichment Plant. Over the last reporting period, it maintained one164-machine cascade of IR-2m centrifuges in cascade 5. All 164 IR-2m machines were under vacuum and only being intermittently fed with uranium hexafluoride, an unexpected development. Iran continued

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work on its installation of IR-4 centrifuges in cascade 4, but, as of February 21, 2012 it had only installed 58 of 164 centrifuges in its planned IR-4 cascade, a decrease of 8 centrifuges from the end of the last reporting period. No uranium hexafluoride was introduced into the IR-4 centrifuges. According to IAEA information, Iran moves the IR-4 centrifuges in and out of the PFEP in a noticeable manner. This may imply significant problems with the IR-4 centrifuge design. 

Figure IV.17 provides information concerning the status and progress of Iran’s fuel enrichment facility at Fordow. The Fordow site now has four cascades of 174 IR-1 centrifuges each operating in two, tandem sets producing 19.75 percent LEU. Between December 14, 2011, when the first set started producing LEU until February 17, 2012, these sets of cascades produced approximately 13.8 kg of 19.75 percent enriched uranium at a rate of 6.46 kg 19.75 percent LEU hexafluoride per month. With the stockpile of 19.75 percent uranium produced at the Pilot Fuel Enrichment Plant at Natanz, Iran now has approximately 110 kg of 19.75 percent uranium. Its monthly production has increased to about 11 kilograms per month of 19,75 percent LEU hexafluoride, somewhat less than a three-fold increase. However, this level of production far exceeds Iran’s need for enriched uranium for the Tehran Research Reactor.

Figure IV.18 provides the ISIS’ overview and analysis of developments at Natanz and Fordow as of February 2012. Between the two enrichment sites, Iran has produced 109.2 kilograms of 19.75 percent LEU hexafluoride. Of that total, Iran has sent an unknown amount of 19.75 percent LEU to the Uranium Conversion Facility at Esfahan. Typically, transport containers would contain about 25 kilograms of such LEU. As of February 19, 2012, Iran had converted about 8 kilograms into U3O8 for use in Tehran Research Reactor fuel, which it is making at the nearby Fuel Manufacturing Plant. So, about 101.2 kilograms of 19.75 percent LEU remains in the form of hexafluoride as of that date. Iran has produced a total of 5,451 kilograms of 3.5 percent LEU hexafluoride. About 985 kilograms has been used to make the 19.75 percent LEU hexafluoride.

Figure IV.19 indicates that as of October 22, 2011, Iran has installed a 164-machine cascade of IR-2 centrifuges, all of which are under vacuum. 66 IR-4 centrifuges have been installed, but none have been are being fed with uranium hexafluoride. It also indicates that during the reporting period, Iran produced 19.75% enriched uranium at a rate of 3.94 kg/month, approximately a 20 percent decrease from the previous reporting period. In total, Iran has fed 765.5 kg of 3.5% LEU to produce 79.7 kg 19.75% uranium since the beginning of operations in February 2010. Such an increase in the production of 19.75% enriched uranium accelerates Iran’s ability to reach a nuclear breakout capability, and would allow the country to produce more nuclear weapons in a shorter period of time.

Figure IV.20 indicates that Iran is moving forward with uranium enrichment at the Fordow Fuel Enrichment Plant. Moreover, Iran has indicated that it will follow through with its plans to use the facility to enrich uranium to 19.75%.

Figure IV.21 shows the Bipartisan Research Center’s timeline of Iran’s monthly enrichment rate as well as Iran’s IAEA-confirmed 3.5% LEU stockpile. It reveals that the Stuxnet worm did not have any kind of significant effect on the country’s ability to enrich uranium, and that the country’s enrichment rate has nearly doubled in comparison to the pre-Stuxnet rate. Moreover, it shows that Iran’s LEU stockpile surpassed the 1,850 kg needed for one nuclear explosive device in August 2010.

Figure IV.22 provides the Bipartisan Policy Center’s timeline of Iran’s enrichment rate vs. the number of operational centrifuges it has at the Natanz FEP. It reveals that Stuxnet may have had a deleterious effect on the number of operational centrifuges Iran operated, but that Iran’s rate of enrichment has nevertheless increased, as has the number of operational centrifuges since the last major Stuxnet attack in May of 2010.

Figure IV.23 reflects the growth of Iran’s 3.5% enriched uranium stockpile. It indicates that Iran could perhaps produce enough 3.5% enriched LEU to produce two fission devices by May 2012 at a minimum.

Figure IV.24 shows the location of Iran’s major/principle nuclear facilities that are concentrated in the west-central part of the country.

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Figure IV.25 shows the Bipartisan Policy Center’s projections for the growth of Iran’s stockpile of 19.75% enriched uranium. At its current average rate of enrichment, Iran could produce enough 19.75% enriched uranium to produce one fission weapon. Iran’s enrichment rate, however, is increasing, and it is likely that it could produce this quantity sooner. At 300% of the 2011 rate, Iran could produce enough 19.75% uranium to build a fission device by December 2012.

Figure IV.26 gives the Bipartisan Policy Center’s projections for the time it would take for Iran to produce the necessary 20 kg of 90% HEU for a nuclear device. The estimate given is 62 days.

Figure IV.27 provides the Bipartisan Policy Center’s projections for the time it would take Iran to produce 20 kg of HEU at Natanz given variable stockpile enrichment levels, centrifuge efficiency, and number.

Figure IV.28 indicates that Iran might be able to produce 20 kg of 90% HEU at Natanz using a two-step batch recycling method to enrich its stockpiles of 3.5% and 19.75% uranium in as little as 62 days.

Figure IV.29 indicates that Iran might be able to produce 20 kg of 90% HEU at Natanz using a three-step batch recycling method to enrich its stockpiles of 3.5% and 19.75% uranium in approximately 181 days.

Figure IV.30 contrasts the different estimates of both the Bipartisan Policy Center and the IISS of Iran’s nuclear breakout ability. According to the BPC itself, its estimate is vastly lower than that of the IISS for the following reasons: 1) IISS assumes Iran will use a slower enrichment process because it is more efficient, our analysis is based on a faster method; 2) IISS assumes Iran will only use 3,936 centrifuges, while they have 5,184 currently operational at Natanz; 3) IISS estimates that Iran will need 37.5kg of HEU for a nuclear weapon, compared to our estimate of 20kg; 4) the IISS assessment is of the time to go from LEU stockpile to a manufactured, spherical uranium metal core for a nuclear device, our calculations only include enriching LEU into HEU. When updated with our assumptions (faster enrichment, more centrifuges, less HEU), the IISS calculation is actually closely in line with our own: 2.5 months to produce HEU at Natanz.

Figure IV.31 shows the amount of fissile material needed to build a basic fission weapon.

Figure IV.32 summarizes the February 25, 2011 IAEA report. It shows that continues to refuse to cooperate with the IAEA regarding weaponization issues, heavy water production, R&D into uranium enrichment, and enrichment locations.

Figure IV.33 provides a detailed account of Iran’s lack of cooperation with the IAEA in matters pertaining weapons production and the militarization of its nuclear program as of February 25, 2011. These areas include production of LEU up to U-235 20% at Natanz; construction of the Fordow Fuel Enrichment Plant; heavy water production; locations, equipment, persons, or documentation related to the possible military dimensions of Iran’s program; high explosives manufacturing and testing, exploding bridgewire detonator studies, particularly in involving applications necessitating simultaneity, and missile re-entry vehicle redesign activities for a new payload assessed as being nuclear in nature; IR-40 reactors.

Figure IV.34 shows that Iran continued to show a lack of cooperation with the IAEA on seven key matters relating to weaponization as of May 24, 2011 that were objects of the IAEA’s concern in February 2011.

Figure IV.35 provides details regarding enrichment activities at the Fuel Enrichment Plant (FEP) and Pilot Fuel Enrichment Plant (PFEP) as of May 24, 2011. Both the FEP and PFEP are located at the Natanz enrichment facility.

Figure IV.36 provides details on Iran’s efforts to increase the production of 19.75% enriched uranium. Stockpiling uranium enriched to 19.75% would enhance Iran’s ability to achieve a fast nuclear breakout capability.

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Figure IV.37 provides regarding the purpose and the capabilities of the Fordow enrichment plant it is constructing near Qom. Iran stated that the purpose of this facility would be the production of UF6 enriched to 5.0%, and that it would contain roughly 3,000 centrifuges.

Figure IV.38 details Iran’s plans to install 64-centrifuge cascades at the previously hidden Fordow facility, and triple its enrichment output of 19.75% LEU. Such a move would provide Iran with a much faster breakout ability should it choose to produce nuclear weapons.

Figure IV.39 describes continuing work on heavy water-related projects as of May 24, 2011, contrary to the resolutions of the IAEA Board of Governors and the UN Security Council. Moreover, Iran had not allowed access to these facilities as of May 24, 2011.

Figure IV.40 describes IAEA concerns as of June 2011. According to Yukiya Amano, the head of the IAEA, makes it clear that certain undisclosed nuclear-related activities in Iran seem to indicate military dimensions to the program. It also indicates that Iran has repeatedly rebuffed IAEA requests to inspect its facilities.

Figure IV.41 shows that as of September 2, 2011, Iran’s total LEU production at the FEP is reported to be 4,543 kg of low enriched uranium. If enriched further to weapons grade, it would be enough to produce four nuclear weapons. It also indicates that as of August 28, 2011, Iran was enriching uranium using 5,860 IR-1 centrifuges in 35 cascades. Moreover, it indicates that Iran has not installed any new centrifuges since the last reporting period, and that Iran has approximately 8,000 centrifuges installed total.

Figure IV.42 indicates that Iran has installed two cascades of advanced centrifuges at the PFEP as it said it would. As of August 28, 2011, Iran had installed 136 IR-2m centrifuges in cascade 5, and 27 IR-4 centrifuges in cascade 4. It also indicates that Iran produces 19.75% enriched uranium at a rate of 4.80%/month, a 23% increase from 3.91%/month in the last reporting period.

Figure IV.43 indicates that Iran told the IAEA during an August 9, 2011 visit to the Arak IR-40 reactor that the start of the operation of the reactor is planned for 2013. On August 17, 2011, the IAEA visited the Arak Heavy Water Production Plant for the first time since 2005. Iran informed the IAEA that the plant was operational, and had produced a total of 60 tons of heavy water to that date. Iran continues to deny the IAEA access to the heavy water it has produced.

The data in these Figures are constantly evolving, and they contain many detailed uncertainties such how many nuclear facilities Iran really has and how far it has gotten in producing more advanced centrifuges like the IR-2 and IR-4. Many experts estimate, for example, that the IR-2 could be much more reliable and have some six times the output of the IR-1, making it far easier to disperse and conceal. “Guesstimates” are notoriously unreliable – particularly in their worst-case form. As of November 8, 2011, for example,, the IAEA reported that had installed 164 IR-2 centrifuges at the Pilot Fuel Enrichment Plant at Natanz, all of which were under vacuum. The Agency also discovered 66 IR-4 centrifuges at the facility, but none had been fed with UF6 at the time.18 On February 15, 2012, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad stated publicly Iran had installed 3,000 new centrifuges at Natanz, increasing its LEU production by half.19 The NTI calculated

18

IAEA, Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement and relevant provisions of Security Council resolutions in the Islamic Republic of Iran, November 8, 2011 http://isis-online.org/uploads/isis-reports/documents/IAEA_Iran_8Nov2011.pdf Iran Claims 3,000 New Uranium Centrifuges.” NTI: Global Security Newswire. February 15, 2012. http://www.nti.org/gsn/article/iran-claims-3000-new-uranium-centrifuges/ 19

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that this would bring the number of operational centrifuges at Natanz to 9,000. 20 A day later, a US government spokesman strongly implied on background that Ahmadinejad was exaggerating.

Iran Claims 3,000 New Uranium Centrifuges.� NTI: Global Security Newswire. February 15, 2012. http://www.nti.org/gsn/article/iran-claims-3000-new-uranium-centrifuges/ 20

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Figure IV.5: ISIS Timeline of Potential Future Capabilities to Make Weapon-Grade Uranium: Modest Growth Projection 2012

2013

2014

2015

Natanz FEP (3.5% and 19.75% LEU)

6,000-9,000 enriching

IR-1s

6,000-12,000 IR-1s enriching

4,000-15,000 centrifuges enriching

4,000-15,000 centrifuges enriching

Fordow (19.75% LEU; 3.5% LEU; HEU?)

2-4 IR-1 tandem cascades (with 6961044 IR-1 centrifuges); another 1,000 IR-1 centrifuges (advanced centrifuges?)

2-4 IR-1 tandem cascades; another 2,000 IR-1 centrifuges; (or 5001,000 advanced centrifuges)

3,000 IR-1 or 1,0002,000 advanced centrifuges

2,000-3,000 advanced centrifuges

Third site

Under construction

500-1,000 centrifuges

1,000 centrifuges

1,000-2,000 centrifuges

Covert, parallel site (3,000 centrifuges maximum)

Under construction?

Under construction?

Under construction?

1,000 centrifuges?

Covert uranium supply and conversion facility

Under construction?

Under construction?

Operational?

Operational?

Covert laser separation facility

Under development?

Under development?

Under construction?

Operational?

enrichment

Source: ISIS Report. Albright, David; Brannan, Paul; Stricker, Andrea; Walrond, Christina; Wood, Houston. “Preventing Iran from Getting Nuclear Weapons: Constraining its Future Nuclear Options.� March 5, 2012. http://www.isis-online.org/uploads/isis-reports/documents/USIP_Template_5March2012-1.pdf

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Figure IV.6: Probabilities of Iranian Paths to Nuclear Explosive Materials – ISIS (Each probability reflects the likelihood that Iran would pursue each method, based on a judgment of its technical capabilities to do so and a range of factors that deter its pursuit of this method) Method

Probability 2012

2013

2014-2015

Low Low

Low Low-medium

Low Low-medium

Dash at undeclared, covert centrifuge site using the safeguarded LEU stockpile

Low

Low-medium

Medium

HEU production under safeguards at declared centrifuge plants

Low

Low

Medium

Parallel covert centrifuge program

Low

Low

Medium

Secret production of HEU at declared safeguarded sites

Low

Low

Low

Arak reactor and secret, undeclared reprocessing plant (reactor to be operational in 2014)

-

-

Low

Laser enrichment to produce HEU

Low

Low

Low

Illicitly acquire fissile material overseas for use in nuclear weapons

Low

Low

Low

Low

Low

Low-medium

Dash at declared centrifuge sites to highly enriched uranium (HEU) using safeguarded LEU Natanz: Fordow:

II. NPT withdrawal Legal withdrawal from NPT and then weapons production

Source: ISIS Report. Albright, David; Brannan, Paul; Stricker, Andrea; Walrond, Christina; Wood, Houston. “Preventing Iran from Getting Nuclear Weapons: Constraining its Future Nuclear Options.” March 5, 2012. http://www.isis-online.org/uploads/isis-reports/documents/USIP_Template_5March2012-1.pdf

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Figure IV.7: Cumulative Totals of Natural and Enriched Uranium Feed and 3.5 and 19.75 Percent Product in Iran

Source: ISIS Report. ISIS Analysis of IAEA Iran Safeguards Report. David Albright, Paul Brannan, Christina Walrond. February 24, 2012. http://isis-online.org/uploads/isisreports/documents/ISIS_Analysis_IAEA_Rerport_24Feb2012.pdf

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Figure IV.8: Cumulative LEU Production at Natanz

Source: ISIS Report. ISIS Analysis of IAEA Iran Safeguards Report. David Albright, Paul Brannan, Christina Walrond. February 24, 2012. http://isis-online.org/uploads/isis-

reports/documents/ISIS_Analysis_IAEA_Rerport_24Feb2012.pdf

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Figure IV.9: Number of Centrifuge Cascades enriching, under vacuum, installed, or with centrifuges disconnected, January 31, 2010

ISIS Report: Did Stuxnet Take Out 1,000 Centrifuges at the Natanz Enrichment Plant? David Albright, Paul Brannan, and Christina Walrond. December 10, 2010, http://isis-online.org/isisreports/detail/did-stuxnet-take-out-1000-centrifuges-at-the-natanz-enrichment-plant/

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Figure IV.10: Centrifuge Trends at Natanz

The dark green bar represents the number of centrifuges enriching, while the light green bar represents the number of centrifuges installed but not enriching. The sum of the two represents the total number of centrifuges installed at the FEP

Source: ISIS Report. ISIS Analysis of IAEA Iran Safeguards Report. David Albright, Paul Brannan, Christina Walrond. February 24, 2012. http://isis-online.org/uploads/isisreports/documents/ISIS_Analysis_IAEA_Rerport_24Feb2012.pdf

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Figure IV.11: ISIS Estimate of Monthly Trends at Natanz

Source: ISIS Report. ISIS Analysis of IAEA Iran Safeguards Report. David Albright, Paul Brannan, Christina Walrond. February 24, 2012. http://isis-online.org/uploads/isisreports/documents/ISIS_Analysis_IAEA_Rerport_24Feb2012.pdf

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Figure IV.12: Kilograms of Low Enriched Uranium (LEU) per Month

Source: ISIS Report. ISIS Analysis of IAEA Iran Safeguards Report. David Albright, Paul Brannan, Christina Walrond. February 24, 2012. http://isis-online.org/uploads/isisreports/documents/ISIS_Analysis_IAEA_Rerport_24Feb2012.pdf

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Figure IV.13: IAEA Reporting as of February 24, 2012 – Main Points

 Iran achieves a near three-fold increase in production of 19.75 percent LEU at Natanz and Fordow.  Iran installs approximately 8,000 additional IR-1 centrifuge casings at Natanz and Fordow.  Iran increases the number of centrifuges enriching at Natanz by nearly 50%.  The testing of advanced centrifuge production-scale cascades at the Natanz pilot testing is going far more slowly than expected.  IR-1 centrifuge performance remains below par.

Source: ISIS Report. ISIS Analysis of IAEA Iran Safeguards Report. David Albright, Paul Brannan, Christina Walrond. February 24, 2012. http://isis-online.org/uploads/isisreports/documents/ISIS_Analysis_IAEA_Rerport_24Feb2012.pdf IAEA Safeguards Report of February reports/documents/IAEA_Iran_Report_24February2012.pdf

24,

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Figure IV.14: IAEA Reporting as of February 24, 2012 – LEU Production and Centrifuge Levels at the Natanz Fuel Enrichment Plant (FEP) Iran’s total LEU production at the FEP through February 4, 2012 is reported to be 5,451 kg of low enriched uranium hexafluoride, including 580 kg estimated by Iran to have been produced since October 17, 2011. This total amount of low enriched uranium if further enriched to weapon grade is enough to make over four nuclear weapons. The FEP is Iran’s primary enrichment facility, where the majority of its IR1 centrifuges are installed. Activity at the Pilot Fuel Enrichment Plant, where Iran is enriching uranium up to the 20 percent level, is discussed below. The average production of LEU at the FEP was 170 kg per month of LEU hexafluoride, a rate that has increased significantly from the last reporting period, where Iran produced 145 kg per month. However, Iran also used significantly more centrifuges to produce a marginal additional amount of product. As of February 19, 2012, Iran had 54 centrifuge cascades installed with 9,156 IR-1 centrifuges and was enriching in 52 cascades containing a total of 8,808 IR-1 centrifuges. The IAEA noted that “not all of the centrifuges in the cascades being fed with uranium hexafluoride may have been working.” At the end of the last reporting period, Iran was enriching in 15 fewer cascades and 2,600 fewer centrifuges. To achieve this increase in enriching centrifuges, Iran has re-connected about 1,000 IR-1 centrifuges, which had originally been installed and under vacuum in 2009. In a new development, Iran placed an additional 6,177 empty IR-1 centrifuge casings at the FEP. It is unknown if Iran has enough raw materials to actually install this number of centrifuge rotor assemblies into the outer casings and make the centrifuges operational. Uranium hexafluoride feed rates are not given for this reporting period. The number of centrifuges enriching at the FEP has increased by about 50 percent, but centrifuge performance remains below par. This situation can be understood by evaluating centrifuge output at the FEP in terms of separative work units (swu). ISIS derives this value from the declared LEU production. In the most recent reporting period, the LEU value is used with an assumption that the material is 3.5 percent enriched and the waste has a tails assay of 0.4 percent. The IAEA did not provide updated numbers in this report, but these older numbers can be used. Using standard enrichment calculators, 580 kg LEU translates to 1,426 kg of separative work units (swu), or 12.96 kg swu/day. On an annualized basis, this is about 4,732 kg swu per year. The number of centrifuges declared as enriching was 6,208 at the beginning of the reporting period and rose to 8,808 at the end of the reporting period, corresponding with a swu/centrifuge-year of 0.76 and 0.53 respectively. For most of 2010, this value was about 0.9 kg U swu per year per centrifuge. These numbers imply that not all of Iran’s centrifuges in cascades fed with uranium are actually enriching, and that these centrifuges are enriching less efficiently. Despite the overall increase in LEU production during this reporting period, Iran’s IR-1 centrifuges are performing no better. Source: ISIS Report. ISIS Analysis of IAEA Iran Safeguards Report. David Albright, Paul Brannan, Christina Walrond. February 24, 2012. http://isis-online.org/uploads/isisreports/documents/ISIS_Analysis_IAEA_Rerport_24Feb2012.pdf IAEA Safeguards Report of February reports/documents/IAEA_Iran_Report_24February2012.pdf

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Figure IV.15: IAEA Reporting as of February 24, 2012 – Deployment of Advanced Centrifuges at Pilot Fuel Enrichment Plant (PFEP) Delayed; 19.75 Percent Enrichment Continues Advanced Centrifuges: Iran appears to be encountering problems in its testing of production-scale cascades of advanced centrifuge at the Pilot Fuel Enrichment Plant. Over the last reporting period, it maintained one164machine cascade of IR-2m centrifuges in cascade 5. All 164 IR-2m machines were under vacuum and only being intermittently fed with uranium hexafluoride, an unexpected development. Iran continued work on its installation of IR-4 centrifuges in cascade 4, but, as of February 21, 2012 it had only installed 58 of 164 centrifuges in its planned IR-4 cascade, a decrease of 8 centrifuges from the end of the last reporting period. No uranium hexafluoride was introduced into the IR-4 centrifuges. According to IAEA information, Iran moves the IR-4 centrifuges in and out of the PFEP in a noticeable manner. This may imply significant problems with the IR-4 centrifuge design. Iran also declared to the IAEA its plans to install three new types of centrifuges, called the IR-5, IR-6, and IR6s as single machines at the PFEP. The designs specifications for the centrifuges are not disclosed in this report. Iran continues to feed natural uranium hexafluoride into single machines as well as ten and twenty machine cascades of IR-1, IR-2m, and IR-4 centrifuges. 19.75 percent LEU production: Iran has designated two cascades at the smaller, above-ground pilot fuel enrichment plant for the production of LEU enriched to nearly 20 percent uranium-235 for the Tehran Research Reactor (TRR). One of these cascades enriches from 3.5 percent LEU to almost 20 percent LEU, while the second one takes the tails from the first one and outputs about 10 percent LEU and a tails of natural uranium. The ten percent material is fed into the first cascade in addition to 3.5 percent LEU. This process allows Iran to more efficiently use its 3.5 percent LEU stock. Between September 14, 2011 and February 11, 2012, 164.9 kg of 3.5 percent low enriched uranium in the form of uranium hexafluoride was introduced into the two, interconnected cascades, a slight decrease from the last reporting period. Iran withdrew a total of 21.7 kg of nearly 20 percent LEU hexafluoride. During the reporting period, Iran produced 19.75 percent enriched uranium at a rate of 4.5 kg/month, about a 20 percent increase from the last reporting period but equal to the rate reported by the IAEA in May 2011. In total, Iran has fed 885.7 kg of 3.5% LEU to produce 95.4 kg 19.75% uranium since the beginning of operations in February 2010. Source: ISIS Report. ISIS Analysis of IAEA Iran Safeguards Report. David Albright, Paul Brannan, Christina Walrond. February 24, 2012. http://isis-online.org/uploads/isisreports/documents/ISIS_Analysis_IAEA_Rerport_24Feb2012.pdf IAEA Safeguards Report of February 24, reports/documents/IAEA_Iran_Report_24February2012.pdf

2012.

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Figure IV.16: IAEA Reporting as of February 24, 2012 – Fordow Fuel Enrichment Plant The Fordow site now has four cascades of 174 IR-1 centrifuges each operating in two, tandem sets producing 19.75 percent LEU. Between December 14, 2011, when the first set started producing LEU until February 17, 2012, these sets of cascades produced approximately 13.8 kg of 19.75 percent enriched uranium at a rate of 6.46 kg 19.75 percent LEU hexafluoride per month. With the stockpile of 19.75 percent uranium produced at the Pilot Fuel Enrichment Plant at Natanz, Iran now has approximately 110 kg of 19.75 percent uranium. Its monthly production has increased to about 11 kilograms per month of 19,75 percent LEU hexafluoride, somewhat less than a three-fold increase. However, this level of production far exceeds Iran’s need for enriched uranium for the Tehran Research Reactor. In a new development, Iran installed 2,088 empty IR-1 centrifuge outer casings as well as all the associated feed and withdrawal piping at the Fordow facility. It is unclear whether and when Iran will install the rotor assemblies necessary to create operational IR-1 centrifuges. Fully outfitting the Fordow facility with centrifuges ready to enrich would have been a significant development. As in the case of the newly installed casings at the FEP, it is unknown if Iran has enough raw materials to actually install this number of centrifuge rotor assemblies into the outer casings at the Fordow site. However, given the international sensitivity about the deeply buried Fordow site, by installing the outer casings for over 2,000 machines and the associated piping, Iran is in effect sending a warning to the international community that it intends to fully outfit the Fordow site. If it cannot do so with advanced centrifuges, it appears to be willing to do so with IR-1 centrifuges. Only time will tell if Iran can actually install the critical centrifuge rotors and operate the machines. Iran also submitted to the IAEA a new Design Information Questionaire (DIQ), revising yet again the stated purpose of the Fordow enrichment facility. Iran originally stated that Fordow would be used to make 3.5 percent enriched uranium, and later said that Fordow would also be used for R&D purposes. Then Iran submitted a new DIQ declaring that Fordow would be used to make 19.75 percent enriched as well. In the latest DIQ, Fordow will be used for only 19.75 and 3.5 percent enriched uranium production but Iran left open how many of the centrifuges will be dedicated to making 19.75 percent LEU. That Iran has changed the stated purpose of the Fordow facility so many times over such a short period of time raises significant questions regarding the original purpose of the facility. Iran’s decision to build a relatively small enrichment facility without informing the IAEA suggested that Fordow was intended to be used to quickly and securely make highly enriched uranium for nuclear weapons. In summary, Iran is being ambiguous over the number of its centrifuges at Fordow that will make 19.75 percent LEU. It is signaling that it intends to fully outfit the plant with centrifuges, despite having no credible civilian need for the LEU that these machines would produce. Source: ISIS Report. ISIS Analysis of IAEA Iran Safeguards Report. David Albright, Paul Brannan, Christina Walrond. February 24, 2012. http://isis-online.org/uploads/isisreports/documents/ISIS_Analysis_IAEA_Rerport_24Feb2012.pdf IAEA Safeguards Report of February 24, reports/documents/IAEA_Iran_Report_24February2012.pdf

2012.

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Figure IV.17: IAEA Reporting as of February 24, 2012 – Taking Stock of Fordow and Natanz Between the two enrichment sites, Iran has produced 109.2 kilograms of 19.75 percent LEU hexafluoride. Of that total, Iran has sent an unknown amount of 19.75 percent LEU to the Uranium Conversion Facility at Esfahan. Typically, transport containers would contain about 25 kilograms of such LEU. As of February 19, 2012, Iran had converted about 8 kilograms into U3O8 for use in Tehran Research Reactor fuel, which it is making at the nearby Fuel Manufacturing Plant. So, about 101.2 kilograms of 19.75 percent LEU remains in the form of hexafluoride as of that date. Iran has produced a total of 5,451 kilograms of 3.5 percent LEU hexafluoride. About 985 kilograms has been used to make the 19.75 percent LEU hexafluoride. Iran has achieved varying rates of separative work in the IR-1 centrifuge in its enrichment plants. Although it continues to install and enrich in additional centrifuges at the FEP, the swu/centrifuge-year at this plant has varied wildly and declined overall. The separative work achieved at both the PFEP and FFEP indicates that Iran has been using tandem cascades to enrich to 19.75 percent comparably effectively. However, it is unknown whether Iran could maintain this level of output if it deployed these centrifuges on a broader scale. Table 3 compares the SWU/year-centrifuge at the FEP, PFEP, and FFEP. Source: ISIS Report. ISIS Analysis of IAEA Iran Safeguards Report. David Albright, Paul Brannan, Christina Walrond. February 24, 2012. http://isis-online.org/uploads/isisreports/documents/ISIS_Analysis_IAEA_Rerport_24Feb2012.pdf IAEA Safeguards Report of February 24, 2012. http://isis-online.org/uploads/isisreports/documents/IAEA_Iran_Report_24February2012.pdf

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Figure IV.18: ISIS on the IAEA’s November 8, 2011 Report on Iran – LEU production and Centrifuge Levels at Natanz Fuel Enrichment Plant (FEP) Iran’s total LEU production at the FEP through November 1, 2011 is reported to be 4,922 kg of low enriched uranium hexafluoride, including 379 kg estimated by Iran to have been produced since August 14, 2011. This amount of low enriched uranium if further enriched to weapon grade is enough to make four nuclear weapons. The FEP is Iran’s primary enrichment facility, where the majority of its IR-1 centrifuges are installed. The average production of LEU at the FEP was 145 kg per month of LEU hexafluoride a rate that has fallen slightly from the last reporting period, where Iran produced 148 kg per month. As of November 2, 2011, Iran was enriching in 37 cascades containing a total of 6,208 IR-1 centrifuges. The IAEA noted that “not all of the centrifuges in the cascades being fed with uranium hexafluoride may have been working.” At the end of the last reporting period, Iran was enriching in two fewer cascades and 348 fewer centrifuges. While Iran is enriching in more cascades, Iran has also not installed any new centrifuges since the last reporting period. According to the report, the total number of centrifuges installed is about 8,000 centrifuges, the same as in the last two reports. Uranium hexafluoride feed rates are not given. This situation can also be understood by using an equivalent method that is easier to compare to historical enrichment output at the FEP, namely the output measured in separative work units (swu). ISIS derives this value from the declared LEU production. In the most recent reporting period, the LEU value is used with an assumption that the material is 3.5 percent enriched and the waste has a tails assay of 0.4 percent. The IAEA did not provide updated numbers in this report, but these older numbers can be used. Using standard enrichment calculators, 379 kg LEU translates to 932 kg of separative work units (swu), or 11.65 kg swu/day. On an annualized basis, this is about 4,252 swu per year (see Figure 6). The number of centrifuges declared as enriching was 5,860 at the beginning of the reporting period and rose to 6,208 at the end of the reporting period, corresponding with a swu/centrifuge-year of 0.73 and 0.68 respectively. For most of 2010, this value was about 0.9 kg U swu per year per centrifuge. These numbers imply that not all of Iran’s centrifuges in cascades fed with uranium are actually enriching, and that these centrifuges are enriching less efficiently. Source: ISIS Report. ISIS Analysis of IAEA Iran Safeguards Report: Part 1. David Albright, Paul Brannan, Andrea Stricker, and Christina Walrond. November 8, 2011, http://isis-online.org/uploads/isisreports/documents/IAEA_Iran_Report_ISIS_analysis_08Nov2011.pdf

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Figure IV.19: ISIS on the IAEA’s November 8, 2011 Report on Iran – Deployment of Advanced Centrifuges at Pilot Fuel Enrichment Plant (PFEP), 20 Percent Enrichment Continues Over the last reporting period, Iran completed its installation of one, 164-machine cascade of IR-2m centrifuges and continued to install a cascade of IR-4 centrifuges. As of October 22, 2011, Iran had installed 164 IR-2m centrifuges in cascade 5 and 66 IR-4 centrifuges in cascade 4. All 164 IR-2m machines were under vacuum, and the IAEA report does not state whether they are being fed uranium hexafluoride. None of the IR-4 centrifuges had been fed with uranium hexafluoride. The purpose of operating these cascades is likely to demonstrate performance prior to installation of such cascades at Natanz, Fordow, or other enrichment sites. Iran continues to feed natural uranium hexafluoride into single machines as well as ten and twenty machine cascades of IR-1, IR-2m, and IR-4 centrifuges. Iran has designated two cascades at the smaller, above-ground pilot fuel enrichment plant for the production of LEU enriched to nearly 20 percent uranium-235 for the Tehran Research Reactor (TRR). One of these cascades enriches from 3.5 percent LEU to almost 20 percent LEU, while the second one takes the tails from the first one and outputs about 10 percent LEU and a tails of natural uranium. The ten percent material is fed into the first cascade in addition to 3.5 percent LEU. This process allows Iran to more efficiently use its 3.5 percent LEU stock. Between August 21, 2011 and October 28, 2011, 93 kg of 3.5 percent low enriched uranium in the form of uranium hexafluoride was introduced into the two, interconnected cascades, an slight decrease from the last reporting period. Iran withdrew a total of 8.9 kg of nearly 20 percent LEU hexafluoride. During the reporting period, Iran produced 19.75 percent enriched uranium at a rate of 3.94 kg/month, approximately a 20 percent decrease from the previous reporting period. In total, Iran has fed 765.5 kg of 3.5% LEU to produce 79.7 kg 19.75% uranium since the beginning of operations in February 2010. Source: ISIS Report. ISIS Analysis of IAEA Iran Safeguards Report: Part 1. David Albright, Paul Brannan, Andrea Stricker, and Christina Walrond. November 8, 2011, http://isis-online.org/uploads/isisreports/documents/IAEA_Iran_Report_ISIS_analysis_08Nov2011.pdf

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Figure IV.20: ISIS on the IAEA’s November 8, 2011 Report on Iran – Fordow Fuel Enrichment Plant On October 17, 2011, Iran transferred from the FEP at Natanz a large cylinder of LEU in the form of uranium hexafluoride and a smaller cylinder containing depleted uranium. Iran informed the Agency of this action in an October 11, 2011 letter and stated that LEU will be used as feed at Fordow. Iran also requested that the IAEA remove the seal on the cylinder containing LEU on November 8, 2011. During an inspection on October 23 and 24, 2011, the IAEA observed that Iran had installed all 174 IR-1 centrifuges in two tandem cascades in accordance with the third revised design information questionnaire (DIQ) from June 25, 2011. Iran plans to install a fourth cascade. This latest revised DIQ states that these cascades will be used for the production of 19.75 percent enriched uranium. The IAEA also noted that 64 IR-1 centrifuges had been installed in a third cascade. Iran informed the IAEA that the main power supply had been connected to the Fordow facility. That Iran was caught building the Fordow plant in secret, and since Iran has subsequently changed the DIQ for this facility three times, raises concerns that the plant was built in order to provide Iran with the ability to quickly and securely make highly enriched uranium in the event of a breakout to make nuclear weapons. The IAEA has asked Iran for clarification on the circumstances that led to the construction of this facility. Source: ISIS Report. ISIS Analysis of IAEA Iran Safeguards Report: Part 1. David Albright, Paul Brannan, Andrea Stricker, and Christina Walrond. November 8, 2011, http://isis-online.org/uploads/isisreports/documents/IAEA_Iran_Report_ISIS_analysis_08Nov2011.pdf

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Figure IV.21: Iran’s LEU Stockpile and Enrichment Rate

Source: Bipartisan Policy Center. “Meeting the Challenge: Stopping the Clock.” February 2012. http://www.bipartisanpolicy.org/sites/default/files/BPC%20Iran%20Report.pdf

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Figure IV.22: Enrichment Rate vs. Operational Centrifuges at Natanz Fuel Enrichment Plant

Source: Bipartisan Policy Center. “Meeting the Challenge: Stopping the Clock.� February 2012. http://www.bipartisanpolicy.org/sites/default/files/BPC%20Iran%20Report.pdf

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Figure IV.23: Growth of Iran’s 3.5% Enriched Uranium Stockpile

Source: Bipartisan Policy Center. “Meeting the Challenge: Stopping the Clock.” February 2012. http://www.bipartisanpolicy.org/sites/default/files/BPC%20Iran%20Report.pdf

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Figure IV.24: Iran’s Main Nuclear Facilities

Source: Bipartisan Policy Center. “Iran’s Nuclear Program: Status and Breakout Timing.” September 12, 2011. http://www.bipartisanpolicy.org/sites/default/files/Iran%20Nuclear%20Program.pdf

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Figure IV.25: Projected Growth of Iran’s 19.75% Enriched Uranium

Source: Bipartisan Policy Center. “Meeting the Challenge: Stopping the Clock.” February 2012. http://www.bipartisanpolicy.org/sites/default/files/BPC%20Iran%20Report.pdf

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Figure IV.26: Time to Produce 20 kg of HEU at Natanz (assuming 5,184 centrifuges and .87 SWU/machine year)

If Iran used (a) 3.5% enriched uranium feedstock for the first round of the batch recycling process and then added in its existing 19.8% enriched uranium stockpile, with (b) the efficiency of its centrifuges currently remaining at 0.87 Separative Work Units (SWU) per machine year and (c) using all 5,184 centrifuges currently enriching uranium at the FEP, Iran could produce 20 kg of HEU in 62 days.

If Iran used (a) only 19.8% enriched uranium feedstock, which it does not currently possess but could have by the end of 2012, at the (b) the current efficiency and if it used (c) 5,184 centrifuges, it could produce 20 kg HEU in 12 days.

If Iran used (a) only 3.5% enriched uranium feedstock, at (b) the current efficiency, it could breakout in between 43 and 105 days, depending on the number of centrifuges used.

If Iran used (a) 3.5% enriched uranium feedstock and its (b) centrifuges’ efficiency remained at the previous level of 0.5 SWU per machine year, it could break out in between 73 and 181 days, depending on the number of centrifuges used.

Source: Bipartisan Policy Center. “Iran’s Nuclear Program: Status and Breakout Timing.” September 12, 2011. http://www.bipartisanpolicy.org/sites/default/files/Iran%20Nuclear%20Program.pdf

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Figure IV.27: Time to Produce 20 kg of HEU at Natanz (with variable stockpile enrichment levels, centrifuge efficiency and number)

Source: Bipartisan Policy Center. “Iran’s Nuclear Program: Status and Breakout Timing.” September 12, 2011. http://www.bipartisanpolicy.org/sites/default/files/Iran%20Nuclear%20Program.pdf

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Figure IV.28: Time to Produce 20 kg of HEU at Natanz Using a Two-Step Batch Recycling Process (assuming 4,300 SWU/year)

Source: Bipartisan Policy Center. “Meeting the Challenge: Stopping the Clock.” February 2012. http://www.bipartisanpolicy.org/sites/default/files/BPC%20Iran%20Report.pdf

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Figure IV.29: Time to Produce 20 kg of HEU at Natanz Using a Three-Step Batch Recycling Process (assuming 4,300 SWU/year)

Source: Bipartisan Policy Center. “Meeting the Challenge: Stopping the Clock.” February 2012. http://www.bipartisanpolicy.org/sites/default/files/BPC%20Iran%20Report.pdf

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Figure IV.30: Differences Between BPC and IISS estimates of Iranian Nuclear Breakout

Source: Bipartisan Policy Center. “Iran’s Nuclear Program: Status and Breakout Timing.” September 12, 2011. http://www.bipartisanpolicy.org/sites/default/files/Iran%20Nuclear%20Program.pdf

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Figure IV.31: Amount of Fissile Material Need to Build a Basic Fission (Non-Boosted) Weapon Highly Enriched Uranium HEU (90% U-235) Simple gun-type weapon

90-110 lbs./40-50 kg

Simple implosion weapon

33lbs/15 kg

Sophisticated implosion weapon

20-26lbs/9-12kg

Weapons Grade Plutonium Simple implosion weapon

14lbs/6 kg

Sophisticated implosion weapon

4.5-9lbs/2-4 kg

Extract from the unclassified estimates in Union of Concerned Scientists, “Preventing Nuclear Terrorism Fact Sheet,” April 2004, and work by Abdullah Toukan

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Figure IV.32: February 25, 2011 IAEA Report Iran’s total LEU production at the Natanz fuel enrichment plant (FEP): To date is 3606 kg of low enriched uranium, including 471 kg estimated by Iran to have been produced from October 18, 2010 to February 5, 2011. The average monthly has remained at approximately 120 kg per month Activity at the Pilot Fuel Enrichment Plant: Since February 2010, approximately 43.6 kg of UF6 enriched up to 20% U-235 has been produced. Continued R&D of advanced centrifuges: In the R&D area between November 20, 2010 and February 11, 2011, a total of 169 of natural UF6 was fed into centrifuges, but no low enriched uranium was withdrawn. In an updated design information questionnaire (DIQ) submitted to the Agency on January 19, 2011, Iran indicated that it would install two new 164-centrifuge cascades (Cascades 4 and 5) in the R&D area. These two cascades, one of which will comprise IR-4 centrifuges and the other IR-m centrifuges, will be fed with natural UF6. No progress on IAEA requests for Fordow design information: To date, Iran has “not provided supporting information regarding the chronology of the design and construction of the Fordow Fuel Enrichment Plant (FFEP), as well as its original purpose, particularly in light of extensive information from a number of sources alleging that design work on the facility had started in 2006.” The Agency has verified that construction of FFEP is ongoing. As of February 19, 2011, no centrifuges had been introduced into the facility. On February 21, 2011, Iran stated that it planned to begin feeding nuclear material in to the cascades “by this summer.” Diminishing cooperation on centrifuge production, uranium enrichment R&D, and the locations thereof: “Since early 2008, Iran has not responded to Agency quests for access to addition locations, inter alia, to the manufacturing of centrifuges, and to R&D on uranium enrichment. As a result, the Agency’s knowledge about Iran’s enrichment activities continues to diminish.” Other enrichment activities: “The Agency is still awaiting a substantive response from Iran to Agency requests for further information in relation to announcements made by Iran concerning the construction of ten new uranium enrichment facilities, the sites for five of which, according to Iran, have been decided, and the construction of which will begin by the end of the current Iranian year (March 20, 2011) or the start of the next year.” Additionally, Iran has provided further information regarding its possession of laser enrichment technology or its development of third generation centrifuges. Heavy water production: To date, the Agency has not been given access to the Heavy Water Production Plant, the Uranium Conversion Facility, or “any other location in Iran where projects related to heavy water are being carried out” in spite of UN Security Council resolution 1737 (2006) that stipulates Iran do so. Iran has objected to the Agency’s requests on the basis that they go beyond the Safeguards Agreement and because Iran has already stated that it has not suspended its heavy water related projects. No progress on weaponization issues: No progress made on resolving what the IAEA terms “possible military dimensions” to Iran’s nuclear program. Iran continues to refuse IAEA requests to discuss such issues and insists that the documentation on which such allegations are based are forgeries. The IAEA’s Director General “have detailed the outstanding issues related to possible military dimensions to Iran’s nuclear program and the actions required of Iran necessary to resolve these. Since August 2008, Iran has declined to discuss these outstanding issues with the Agency, or to provide any further information, or access to locations or persons necessary to address the Agency’s concerns.” Additionally, “the Agency remains concerned about the possible existence in Iran of pat or current undisclosed nuclear related activities involving military related organizations, including activities related to the development of a nuclear payload for a missile. Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant: “On 15-16 February 2011, the Agency conducted an inspection at the Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP) and has verified the nuclear material present in the facility. On 23 February 2011, Iran informed the Agency that it would have to unload fuel assemblies from the core, and the Agency and Iran have agreed on the necessary safeguards measures.” Source: IAEA, Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement and relevant provisions of Security Council resolutions in the Islamic Republic of Iran, February 25, 2011 http://www.iaea.org/Publications/Documents/Board/2011/gov2011-7.pdf

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Figure IV.33: Lack of Iranian Cooperation with the IAEA as of February 25, 2011 Areas where Iran is not meeting its obligations, as indicated in this report and previous reports of the Director General Iran has not suspended its enrichment related activities as follows: • Production of UF6 at UCF as feed material for enrichment • Manufacturing centrifuge components, and assembling and testing centrifuges • Conducting enrichment related research and development • Conducting operations, installation work and the production of LEU up to 3.5% U-235 at the Fuel Enrichment Plant (FEP) • Conducting operations, installation work and the production of LEU up to 20% U-235 at the Pilot Fuel Enrichment Plant (PFEP) • Conducting construction work at the Fordow Fuel Enrichment Plant (FFEP) Iran is not providing supporting information regarding the chronology of the design and construction, as well as the original purpose, of FFEP Iran has not suspended work on heavy water related projects as follows: • Continuing the construction of the IR-40 Reactor • Production of heavy water at the Heavy Water Production Plant (HWPP) • Preparing for conversion activities for the production of natural UO2 for IR-40 Reactor fuel • Manufactured a fuel assembly, fuel rods and fuel pellets for the IR-40 Reactor Iran has not permitted the Agency to verify suspension of its heavy water related projects by: • Not permitting the Agency to take samples of the heavy water stored at UCF • Not providing access to HWPP Iran is not cooperating with the Agency regarding the outstanding issues which give rise to concern about possible military dimensions to Iran’s nuclear program: • Iran is not providing access to relevant locations, equipment, persons or documentation related to possible military dimensions to Iran’s nuclear program; nor has Iran responded to the many questions the Agency has raised with Iran regarding procurement of nuclear related items • Iran is not engaging with the Agency in substance on issues concerning the allegation that Iran is developing a nuclear payload for its missile program. These issues refer to activities in Iran dealing with, inter alia:       

neutron generation and associated diagnostics uranium conversion and metallurgy high explosives manufacturing and testing exploding bridgewire detonator studies, particularly involving applications necessitating high simultaneity multipoint explosive initiation and hemispherical detonation studies involving highly instrumented experiments high voltage firing equipment and instrumentation for explosives testing over long distances and possibly underground missile re-entry vehicle redesign activities for a new payload assessed as being nuclear in nature

Iran is not providing the requisite design information in accordance with the modified Code 3.1 in connection with: • The IR-40 Reactor • The announced new enrichment facilities

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• The announced new reactor similar to TRR Source: IAEA, Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement and relevant provisions of Security Council resolutions in the Islamic Republic of Iran, February 25, 2011 http://www.iaea.org/Publications/Documents/Board/2011/gov2011-7.pdf

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Figure IV.34: IAEA on Possible Military Dimensions as of May 24, 2011 Previous reports by the Director General have listed the outstanding issues related to possible military dimensions to Iran’s nuclear program and the actions required of Iran necessary to resolve these. On 6 May 2011, in light of Iran not having engaged with the Agency on the substance of these issues since August 2008, the Director General sent a letter to H.E. Mr. Fereydoun Abbasi, Vice President of Iran and Head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI), reiterating the Agency’s concerns about the existence of possible military dimensions to Iran’s nuclear program and expressing the importance of Iran clarifying these issues. In the same letter, the Director General also requested that Iran provide prompt access to relevant locations, equipment, documentation and persons, and noted that, with Iran’s substantive and proactive engagement, the Agency would be able to make progress in its verification of the correctness and completeness of Iran’s declarations. Based on the Agency’s continued study of information which the Agency has acquired from many Member States and through its own efforts, the Agency remains concerned about the possible existence in Iran of past or current undisclosed nuclear related activities involving military related organizations, including activities related to the development of a nuclear payload for a missile. Since the last report of the Director General on 25 February 2011, the Agency has received further information related to such possible undisclosed nuclear related activities, which is currently being assessed by the Agency. As previously reported by the Director General, there are indications that certain of these activities may have continued beyond 2004. The following points refer to examples of activities for which clarifications remain necessary in seven particular areas of concern: • • • • •

• •

Neutron generator and associated diagnostics: experiments involving the explosive compression of uranium deuteride to produce a short burst of neutrons. Uranium conversion and metallurgy: producing uranium metal from fluoride compounds and its manufacture into components relevant to a nuclear device. High explosives manufacture and testing: developing, manufacturing and testing of explosive components suitable for the initiation of high explosives in a converging spherical geometry. Exploding bridgewire (EBW) detonator studies, particularly involving applications necessitating high simultaneity: possible nuclear significance of the use of EBW detonators. Multipoint explosive initiation and hemispherical detonation studies involving highly instrumented experiments: integrating EBW detonators in the development of a system to initiate hemispherical high explosive charges and conducting full scale experiments, work which may have benefitted from the assistance of foreign expertise. High voltage firing equipment and instrumentation for explosives testing over long distances and possibly underground: conducting tests to confirm that high voltage firing equipment is suitable for the reliable firing of EBW detonators over long distances. Missile re-entry vehicle redesign activities for a new payload assessed as being nuclear in nature: conducting design work and modeling studies involving the removal of the conventional high explosive payload from the warhead of the Shahab-3 missile and replacing it with a spherical nuclear payload.

Source: IAEA, Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement and relevant provisions of Security Council resolutions in the Islamic Republic of Iran, May 24, 2011.

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Figure IV.35: IAEA on Natanz, May 24, 2011 Fuel Enrichment Plant (FEP): There are two cascade halls at FEP: Production Hall A and Production Hall B. According to the design information submitted by Iran, eight units are planned for Production Hall A, with 18 cascades in each unit. No detailed design information has yet been provided for Production Hall B. On 14 May 2011, 53 cascades were installed in three of the eight units in Production Hall A, 35 of which were being fed with UF6. Initially, each installed cascade comprised 164 centrifuges. Iran has modified 12 of the cascades to contain 174 centrifuges each. To date, all the centrifuges installed are IR-1machines. As of 14 May 2011, installation work in the remaining five units was ongoing, but no centrifuges had been installed. There had been no installation work in Production Hall B. Following a physical inventory verification (PIV) at FEP, the Agency confirmed that, as of 17 October 2010, 34 737 kg of natural UF6 had been fed into the cascades since the start of operations in February 2007, and a total of 3135 kg of low enriched UF6 had been produced. Iran has estimated that, between 18 October 2010 and 13 May 2011, it produced an additional 970 kg of low enriched UF6, which would result in a total production of 4105 kg of low enriched UF6 since February 2007. The nuclear material at FEP (including the feed, product and tails), as well as all installed cascades and the feed and withdrawal stations, are subject to Agency containment and surveillance. In a letter dated 4 April 2011, Iran informed the Agency that a metal seal in the feed and withdrawal area of FEP had been accidentally broken by the operator. The consequences for safeguards of this seal breakage will be evaluated by the Agency upon completion of the next PIV. Pilot Fuel Enrichment Plant (PFEP): PFEP is a research and development (R&D) facility and a pilot, low enriched uranium (LEU) production facility, which was first brought into operation in October 2003. It has a cascade hall that can accommodate six cascades, and is divided between an area designated for the production of LEU enriched up to 20% U-235 and an area designated for R&D. In the production area, Iran first began feeding low enriched UF6 into Cascade 1 on 9 February 2010, for the stated purpose of producing UF6 enriched up to 20% U-235 for use in the manufacture of fuel for the Tehran Research Reactor (TRR). Since 13 July 2010, Iran has been feeding low enriched UF6 into two interconnected cascades (Cascades 1 and 6), each of which consists of 164 centrifuges. Iran has estimated that, between 19 September 2010 and 21 May 2011, a total of 222.1 kg of UF6 enriched at FEP was fed into the two interconnected cascades and that approximately 31.6 kg of UF6 enriched up to 20% U-235 was produced. This would result in a total of approximately 56.7 kg of UF6 enriched up to 20% U-235 having been produced since the process began in February 2010. In the R&D area, between 12 February 2011 and 21 May 2011, a total of approximately 331 kg of natural UF6 was fed into centrifuges, but no LEU was withdrawn as the product and the tails of this R&D activity are recombined at the end of the process Source: IAEA, Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement and relevant provisions of Security Council resolutions in the Islamic Republic of Iran, May 24, 2011.

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Figure IV.36: 20% Enrichment and Weapons Production May 31 IAEA safeguards report on Iran is the first to contain any data on the production of 19.75 percent enriched uranium in IR-1 centrifuges at the Natanz Pilot Fuel Enrichment Plant (PFEP. The Natanz PFEP is configured to hold six 164-centrifuge cascades in total. Iran uses one of these cascade bays to test several more advanced types of centrifuges configured in 10, 20 and single unit cascades for R&D purposes. When Iran started making 19.75 percent enriched uranium, the PFEP held only one 164-centrifuge cascade, called cascade 1. It has now reinstalled a second cascade, called cascade 6, also designated for production of LEU enriched up to 20 percent. As of late May, cascade 6 had been prepared for enrichment but was not enriching pending the application of more sophisticated safeguards arrangements. Between 18 and 29 September 2010, the Agency conducted a PIV at PFEP and verified that, as of 18 September 2010, 352 kg of low enriched UF6 had been fed into the cascade(s) since 9 February 2010, and that a total of 25.1 kg of UF6 enriched up to 20% U-235 had been produced. Iran declared that the enrichment level of the UF6 product was 19.89%. The Agency is continuing with its assessment of the PIV.9 Iran has estimated that, between 19 September 2010 and 19 November 2010, a total of 62.5 kg of UF6 enriched at FEP was fed into the two interconnected cascades and that approximately 7.8 kg of UF6 enriched up to 20% U-235 was produced. This would result in a total of approximately 33 kg of UF6 enriched up to 20% U-235 having been produced since the process began in February 2010. How quickly Iran might produce 19.75 percent enriched uranium will depend on whether it uses only one cascade or decides to use more cascades at the PFEP. Although Iran has said that it will expand the enrichment effort beyond a single cascade, it has not revealed the enrichment level of the product of the second cascade. ...if Iran installs more cascades at the PFEP, it can speed up its production of 19.75 percent LEU. Nonetheless, one or two cascades would require several years to have enough 19.75 percent LEU to then further enrich and have sufficient weapon-grade uranium for a nuclear weapon. If Iran deploys five cascades it would produce this material in 0.5-1.7 years. Iran has not stated how much 19.75 percent LEU it plans to produce or, for that matter, how many cascades it will ultimately devote to the production of this material. . .As long as Iran maintains its centrifuge capability, it can incrementally strengthen its nuclear weapons capabilities under the guise of “peaceful� declarations, and shorten the time needed to make enough weapongrade uranium for a nuclear weapon. Source: ISIS Report: Moving 20 Percent Enrichment to Fordow: Slow Motion Breakout Continues? David Albright, Paul Brannan and Andrea Stricker. June 8, 2011, http://isis-online.org/isis-reports/detail/moving-20percent-enrichment-to-fordow-slow-motion-breakout-continues/8

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Figure IV.37: IAEA on Qom (Fordow) as of May 24, 2011 In September 2009, Iran informed the Agency that it was constructing the Fordow Fuel Enrichment Plant (FFEP), located near the city of Qom. In its DIQ of 10 October 2009, Iran stated that the purpose of the facility was the production of UF6 enriched up to 5.0% U-235, and that the facility was being built to contain 16 cascades, with a total of approximately 3000 centrifuges. In September 2010, Iran provided the Agency with a revised DIQ in which it stated that the purpose of FFEP was now to include R&D as well as the production of UF6 enriched up to 5.0% U235. While the Agency continues to verify that FFEP is being constructed according to the latest DIQ provided by Iran, it is still not in a position to confirm the chronology of the design and construction of FFEP or its original purpose. Iran has stated that there is no legal basis upon which the Agency may request information on the chronology and purpose of FFEP, and that the Agency is not mandated to raise questions that are beyond its Safeguards Agreement. The Agency considers that the questions it has raised are within the terms of the Safeguards Agreement, in that the information requested is essential for the Agency to confirm that the declarations of Iran are correct and complete. As stated in the Director General’s previous report, on 21 February 2011, Iran informed the Agency that it planned to begin feeding nuclear material into cascades “by this summer”. As of 21 May 2011, no centrifuges had been introduced into the facility. The results of the analysis of the environmental samples taken at FFEP up to February 2010 did not indicate the presence of enriched uranium. Source: IAEA, Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement and relevant provisions of Security Council resolutions in the Islamic Republic of Iran, May 24, 2011.

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Figure IV.38: Enrichment to 20% at Fordow On June 8, Iran’s vice president and head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI), Fereydoun Abbasi, announced that Iran would install164-machine cascades of advanced centrifuges at the previously hidden Fordow enrichment plant and triple its enrichment output of 19.75 percent low enriched uranium (LEU) by the end of the year. By moving its 19.75 percent LEU production to Fordow and tripling its output of 19.75 percent LEU, Iran positions itself to stockpile a large amount of 19.75 percent LEU more quickly in a facility better protected against military strikes. A year after starting, Iran would have enough 19.75 percent LEU to more quickly break out and produce enough weapon-grade uranium for a nuclear weapon, if it chose to do so. Iran’s announcement indicates that as few as one centrifuge cascade of advanced centrifuges could produce the 19.75 percent LEU at Fordow. ISIS is interpreting that the threefold increase in this case refers to the greater enrichment output of the advanced centrifuges compared to the IR-1 centrifuges at Natanz. Based on its output at the pilot enrichment plant at Natanz, Iran’s monthly output of this LEU would increase threefold to almost 12 kilograms per month. Iran has already produced about 60 kilograms of 19.75 percent LEU at its pilot plant at Natanz. With increased production, Iran could accumulate about 200 kilograms of LEU one year after starting the cascade at Fordow, assuming the cascade at Natanz stops producing this material, as Iran has indicated will happen. Two hundred kilograms of 19.75 percent LEU are enough material, if further enriched, to make sufficient weapon-grade uranium for one nuclear weapon. All of this supports a possible on-going effort by Iran to slowly acclimatize the international community to conditions that would make a breakout to nuclear weapons more feasible. Although Iran claims that it needs 19.75 percent LEU to operate its Tehran research reactor and additional ones it plans to build, it does not yet have the capability to build these new reactors and it has produced several years’ worth of enriched uranium for the Tehran research reactor. If Iran proceeds with its plan, it will accumulate a large stockpile of 19.75 percent LEU at Fordow, and this stock and the centrifuges producing it would be heavily fortified inside the Fordow mountain facility and rendered less vulnerable to aerial strikes. Iran could quickly move its stock of 19.75 percent LEU elsewhere for enrichment to weapon-grade in a small, easily hidden centrifuge facility or kick out IAEA inspectors and quickly enrich to weapon-grade, though it may risk a ground strike. Source: ISIS Report: Moving 20 Percent Enrichment to Fordow: Slow Motion Breakout Continues? David Albright, Paul Brannan and Andrea Stricker. June 8, 2011, http://isis-online.org/isis-reports/detail/moving-20percent-enrichment-to-fordow-slow-motion-breakout-continues/8

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Figure IV.39: IAEA on Plutonium/ Heavy Water Facilities as of May 24, 2011 Contrary to the relevant resolutions of the Board of Governors and the Security Council, Iran has not suspended work on all heavy water related projects, including the construction of the heavy water moderated research reactor, the IR-40 Reactor, which is under Agency safeguards. As indicated in the Director General’s previous reports, in light of the request by the Security Council to report to it on whether Iran has established full and sustained suspension of, inter alia, all heavy water related projects,30 the Agency has requested that Iran make the necessary arrangements to provide the Agency, at the earliest possible date, with access to: the Heavy Water Production Plant (HWPP); the heavy water stored at the Uranium Conversion Facility (UCF) in order to take samples; and any other location in Iran where projects related to heavy water are being carried out. Iran has objected to the Agency’s requests on the basis that they go beyond the Safeguards Agreement and because Iran has already stated that it has not suspended its heavy water related projects. The Security Council has decided that Iran shall provide such access and cooperation as the Agency requests to be able to verify the suspension of its heavy water related projects. To date, Iran has not provided the requested access. While Iran has made statements to the effect that it has not suspended work on all its heavy water related projects, without full access to the heavy water at UCF, to HWPP, and any other heavy water related projects there may be in Iran, the Agency is unable to verify such statements and therefore to report fully on this matter. On 10 May 2011, the Agency carried out a DIV at the IR-40 Reactor at Arak and observed that construction of the facility was ongoing and that the moderator heat exchangers had been delivered to the site. According to Iran, the operation of the IR-40 Reactor is planned to commence by the end of 2013. Source: IAEA, Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement and relevant provisions of Security Council resolutions in the Islamic Republic of Iran, May 24, 2011 http://www.iaea.org/Publications/Documents/Board/2011/gov2011-29.pdf

Figure IV.40: IAEA Concerns as of June 2011 62


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The head of the IAEA, Yukiya Amano, disclosed on June 3, 2011 that the IAEA had received "further information related to possible past or current undisclosed nuclear-related activities that seem to point to the existence of possible military dimensions to Iran's nuclear program…The activities in Iran related to the possible military dimension seem to have been continued until quite recently.” Amano said he had written last month to the head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization, Fereydoun Abbasi-Davani, "reiterating the agency's concerns about the existence of possible military dimensions.” He had asked for Iran to "provide prompt access" to locations, equipment, documentation and officials to help resolve the agency's queries, and had sent a new letter to Abbasi-Davani on June 3 "in which I reiterated the agency's requests to Iran." In his May 26 letter to Amano, Abbasi-Davani reiterated Iran's position that the allegations were fabricated, and said U.N. sanctions resolutions against the country were "illegal and unacceptable.” Amano stated that, Iran was "not providing the necessary cooperation to enable the agency to provide credible assurance about the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran… I urge Iran to take steps toward the full implementation of all relevant obligations in order to establish international confidence in the exclusively peaceful nature of its nuclear program.” On June 8, 2011 Reuters reported that Iran had announced major new underground enrichment activity to start at Fordow, a mountain bunker near the clerical city of Qom. This facility was secret until September 2009, when Western intelligence revealed its existence and it and said it was evidence of covert nuclear work. "This year, under the supervision of the (International Atomic Energy) Agency, we will transfer 20 percent enrichment from the Natanz site to the Fordow site and we will increase the production capacity by three times," (Iranian state broadcaster IRIB, quoting Fereydoun Abbasi-Davani, head of Iran's atomic energy agency, in briefing after a cabinet meeting.) EU issued a statement at IAEA meeting stating: "We note with particular concern the announcement made only today by Iran that it will increase its capacity to enrich (uranium) to 20 percent, thereby further exacerbating its defiance of the United Nations Security Council.” It also calls on IAEA chief Yukiya Amano to submit "at the earliest possible date a comprehensive analysis of the possible military dimensions of Iran's nuclear program” to the IAEA governing board. Source: IAEA, “June Board of Governors http://www.iaea.org/newscenter/news/2011/bog060611.html

Meeting

Convenes.”

June

6,

2011

Figure IV.41: September 2, 2011 IAEA Reporting on Natanz: LEU Production and Centrifuge Levels at the Fuel Enrichment Plant (FEP) 63


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Iran’s total LEU production at the FEP through August 13, 2011 is reported to be 4,543 kg of low enriched uranium hexafluoride, including 438 kg estimated by Iran to have been produced since May 14, 2011. This amount of low enriched uranium if further enriched to weapon grade is almost enough to make four nuclear weapons. The FEP is Iran’s primary enrichment facility, where the majority of its IR-1 centrifuges are installed. The average production of LEU at the FEP reached 148 kg per month of LEU hexafluoride (for the last reporting period ISIS noted it was 156 kg per month of LEU hexafluoride). This monthly rate is only slightly lower than Iran’s rate from the previous reporting period. The current average represents about a five percent decrease compared to the last reporting period. As of August 28, 2011, Iran was enriching in 35 cascades containing a total of 5,860 IR-1 centrifuges. The IAEA noted that some of these centrifuges “were possibly not being fed” with uranium hexafluoride. At the end of the last reporting period, Iran was enriching in the same number of cascades containing the same number of centrifuges. Iran has also not installed any new centrifuges since the last reporting period. According to the report, the total number of centrifuges installed is about 8,000 centrifuges, the same as in the last report. Uranium hexafluoride feed rates are not given. This situation can also be understood by using an equivalent method that is easier to compare to historical enrichment output at the FEP, namely the output measured in separative work units (swu). ISIS derives this value from the declared LEU production. In the most recent reporting period, the LEU value is used with an assumption that the material is 3.5 percent enriched and the waste has a tails assay of 0.4 percent. The IAEA did not provide updated numbers in this report, but these older numbers can be used. Using standard enrichment calculators, 438 kg LEU translates to 1,077 kg of separative work units (swu), or 11.84 kg swu/day. On an annualized basis, this is about 4,320 swu per year. The number of centrifuges declared as enriching was 5,860 at both the end and the beginning of the reporting period, so the swu per centrifuge remains constant at 0.74 during this time. For most of 2010, this value was about 0.9 kg U swu per year per centrifuge. These numbers imply that not all of Iran’s centrifuges in cascades fed with uranium are actually enriching, or that these centrifuges are enriching less efficiently. Source: ISIS Report. IAEA Iran Safeguards Report, September 2, 2011. David Albright, Paul Brannan, Andrea Stricker, and Christina Walrond. September 2, 2011, http://www.isis-online.org/uploads/isisreports/documents/IAEA_Iran_Report_ISIS_analysis_2Sept2011.pdf

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Figure IV.42: September 2, 2011 IAEA Reporting on Natanz: Deployment of Advanced Centrifuges at the Pilot Fuel Enrichment Plant (PFEP), 20 Percent Enrichment Continues Iran has started installing two cascades of advanced centrifuges at the PFEP as it said it would. As of August 28, 2011, Iran had installed 136 IR-2m centrifuges in cascade 5 and 27 IR-4 centrifuges in cascade 4. Iran started feeding 54 of the 136 IR-2m centrifuges with natural uranium hexafluoride. The purpose of operating these cascades is likely to demonstrate performance prior to installation of such cascades at Natanz, Fordow, or other enrichment sites. Iran has designated two cascades at the smaller, above-ground pilot fuel enrichment plant for the production of LEU enriched to nearly 20 percent uranium-235 for the Tehran Research Reactor (TRR). One of these cascades enriches from 3.5 percent LEU to almost 20 percent LEU, while the second one takes the tails from the first one and outputs about 10 percent LEU and a tails of natural uranium. The ten percent material is fed into the first cascade in addition to 3.5 percent LEU. This process allows Iran to more efficiently use its 3.5 percent LEU stock. Between May 22, 2011 and August 20, 2011, 98.4 kg of 3.5 percent low enriched uranium in the form of uranium hexafluoride was introduced into the two, interconnected cascades, an 8 percent increase in the feed rate. Iran withdrew a total of 14.1 kg of nearly 20 percent LEU hexafluoride. During the reporting period, Iran produced 19.75 percent enriched uranium at a rate of 4.80 kg/month, a 23 percent increase from the average rate of 3.91 kg per month in the last reporting period. In total, Iran has fed 672.5 kg of 3.5% LEU to produce 70.8 kg 19.75% uranium since the beginning of operations in February 2010. The relatively small number of centrifuges in these cascades likely allows Iran to pay greater attention to improving their performance, accounting for the marked improvement of the IR-1 centrifuges at the PFEP in comparison to the decline in performance of IR-1 machines installed at the FEP. Source: ISIS Report. IAEA Iran Safeguards Report, September 2, 2011. David Albright, Paul Brannan, Andrea Stricker, and Christina Walrond. September 2, 2011, http://www.isis-online.org/uploads/isisreports/documents/IAEA_Iran_Report_ISIS_analysis_2Sept2011.pdf

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Figure IV.43: September 2, 2011 IAEA Report: Heavy Water Production Iran told the IAEA during an August 9 visit to the Arak IR-40 Reactor that the start of the operation of the reactor is planned for the end of 2013. During the visit, the IAEA observed the reactor’s construction was ongoing. Moderator heat exchangers had been installed and coolant heat exchangers had been delivered to the site. On August 17, the IAEA visited the Arak Heavy Water Production Plant (HWPP) for the first time since 2005. Iran told the IAEA that the plant was operational and it had produced a total of 60 tons of heavy water to date. Iran continues to refuse the IAEA access to the heavy water stored at the Uranium Conversion Facility (UCF) for sampling. Source: ISIS Report. IAEA Iran Safeguards Report, September 2, 2011. David Albright, Paul Brannan, Andrea Stricker, and Christina Walrond. September 2, 2011, http://www.isis-online.org/uploads/isisreports/documents/IAEA_Iran_Report_ISIS_analysis_2Sept2011.pdf

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The Data in the IAEA Report of November 8, 2011 The data in some these figures may seem technical and abstract, but the IAEA’s report on Iran’s programs of November 8, 2011 provided the first detailed military annex the IAEA had ever issued on Iran’s programs, and one that included s new indicators that Iran was weaponizing its program, which have been shown from Figure IV.44 through Figure IV.61. Figures IV.44 through Figure IV.61 indicate that Iran has engaged in substantial R&D activities to develop technology that is critical to developing a functional nuclear weapons program. These include the research into and experimentation with detonator technology, multipoint initiators, neutron initiators, exploding bridgewire (EBW), and other technology that has little, if any, use outside of military applications. Moreover, as Figure IV.57 indicates, Iran has “experimentation which would be useful were to Iran to carry out a test of a nuclear explosive device.” While it is impossible to know Iran’s true intentions regarding its nuclear program, these indicators taken with Iran’s refusal to engage the IAEA or the international community substantively on these matters indicate a probable military dimension to the country’s program. Figure IV.58 and Figure IV.59 show, Iran has taken steps to integrate a spherical payload into the existing payload chamber on the re-entry vehicle of the Shahab-3 missile, as well as developed fusing, arming, and firing systems that would give re-entry vehicles an airburst capability, or explode on impact with the Earth’s surface. Lastly, Figure IV.61 reflects the IAEA’s analysis of the likely payload of an Iranian ballistic missile given the developments in the country’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs. While the diagram indicates that an Iranian missile could carry a range of payloads, a nuclear payload is most likely. Although by no means certain, these indicators reflect that Iran likely intends to arm its missiles with nuclear warheads, or achieve the capability to do so. The key focus of each Figure may be summarized as follows: 

Figure IV.44 describes Iran’s lack of cooperation with the IAEA regarding heavy water at the Iran Nuclear Research Reactor (IR-40) at Arak. Although the Agency was allowed access to the site on October 17, 2011, it has not been permitted access since then. According to Iran, operation of the IR-40 reactor is due to commence by the end of 2013. Although the Agency has not been permitted access Heavy Water Production Plant (HWPP) since August 17, 2011, satellite imagery has indicated that the HWPP is appears to be in operation. Lastly, to date Iran has not allowed the Agency access to the heavy water stored at the Uranium Conversion Facility (UCF) to take samples.

Figure IV.45 provides a description of the IAEA’s knowledge of the Uranium Conversion Facility (UCF) as of October 18, 2011. It reflects that Iran is continuing enrichment and heavy water production at the site in contravention of international demands and regulations. It indicates that as of October 18, 2011, the Agency observed the ongoing installation of the process equipment for the conversion of UF6 (uranium hexafluoride) enriched to 20% into U3O8 (triuranium octoxide).

Figure IV.46 provides an introduction and summary of the possible military dimensions of Iran’s nuclear program. Importantly, it indicates that Iran has not engaged the IAEA substantively regarding the military dimensions of its program since August 2008, and it stresses the following: I. Efforts, some successful, to procure nuclear related and dual-use equipment and materials by military-related individuals and entities. II. Efforts to develop undeclared pathways for the production of nuclear material.

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III. The acquisition of nuclear weapons development information and the documentation from a clandestine nuclear supply network. IV. Work on the development of indigenous nuclear weapon design, including the testing of components. In all, this section of the report states that the Agency has “serious concerns regarding possible military dimensions to Iran’s nuclear program.” 

Figure IV.47 provides a historical overview of the possible military dimensions of Iran’s nuclear program. It reveals that the IAEA discovered that the Iran’s program has roots going back nearly 40 years, and that it has had ongoing undeclared R&D into nuclear testing, experimentation, uranium conversion, enrichment, fabrication, and irradiation activities, including the separation of plutonium. Moreover, it reports that Iran admitted to engaging in undeclared activities at clandestine locations, and procured nuclear material via a clandestine supply network. Iran has further acknowledged that it received a package of information related to centrifuge enrichment technology that also included a 15-page document which describes processes for the conversion of uranium fluoride compounds into uranium metal and the production of hemispherical enriched uranium metallic components, which are integral in the construction of a rudimentary fission device. This portion of the report also indicates that between 2007 and 2010, Iran continued to conceal nuclear activities by not informing the Agency in a timely manner of the decision to construct or to authorize construction of a new nuclear power plant at Darkhovin, as well as a third enrichment facility near Qom (known throughout this text as the Fordow Fuel Enrichment Plant, or FFEP).

Figure IV.48 reflects what the IAEA believes to be the structure of Iran’s nuclear production, which is thought to involve the participation of a number of research centers, government bodies, universities, committees, all of which operate under the Ministry of Defense Armed Forces Logistics (MODAFL). Moreover, it indicates that the program’s nuclear activity was consolidated under the AMAD Plan in the late 1990s and early 2000s, although it was halted in 2003. The report further indicates that some activities previously carried out under the AMAD Plan were resumed later, and that Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, the former Executive Officer of the AMAD Plan, retained the principal organizational role. He served in this capacity under a new organization known as the Section for Advanced Development Applications and Technologies (SADAT), which continued to report to MODAFL, and later, in mid-2008, as the head of the Malek Ashtar University of Technology (MUT) in Tehran. Fakhrizadeh now leads the Organization of Defensive Innovation and Research. Lastly, the Agency stresses that some his “activities undertaken after 2003 would be highly relevant to a nuclear weapon program.”

Figure IV.49 provides the IAEA’s knowledge of Iran’s nuclear procurement activities relevant to nuclear weapons production, many of which were allegedly undertaken by private front companies. For instance, Kimia Maadan, a private Iranian company, was a company for chemical engineering operations under the AMAD Plan, while also being used to help with procurement for the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI). Among the equipment procured relevant to nuclear weapons production include high-speed electronic switches and spark gaps (useful for triggering and firing detonators); high-speed cameras (useful in experimental diagnostics); neutron sources (useful for calibrating neutron measuring equipment); radiation detection and measuring equipment (useful in a nuclear material production environment); and training courses on topics relevant to nuclear explosives development (such as neutron cross section calculations and shock wave interactions/hydrodynamics).

Figure IV.50 describes the IAEA’s knowledge of Iran’s attempts to acquire nuclear material relevant to nuclear weapons production, and states that “Iran was working on a project to secure a source of uranium suitable for use in an undisclosed enrichment program, the product of which would be converted into metal for use in the new warhead which was the subject of missile re-entry studies.” It also emphasizes that Iran only declared a number of facilities once the IAEA was made aware of their existence by sources other than Iran. Taken with Iran’s additional past efforts to conceal nuclear activity,

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this reality creates more concern about the possible existence of further undeclared nuclear facilities, material, and activities in Iran. 

Figure IV.51 provides the IAEA’s analysis of Iran’s alleged ongoing efforts to acquire nuclear components for use in an explosive device. It reiterates that Iran received documents that describe the processes for the conversion of uranium compounds into uranium metal and the production of hemispherical enriched uranium metallic components, which are integral in the production of a rudimentary fission device. Furthermore, it goes on to state that the “uranium metal document is known to have been available to the clandestine nuclear supply network that provided Iran with assistance in developing its centrifuge enrichment capability, and is also known to be part of a larger package of information which includes elements of a nuclear explosive design. A similar package of information, which surfaced in 2003, was provided by the same network to Libya. The information in the Libyan package, which was first reviewed by Agency experts in January 2004, included details on the design and construction of, and the manufacture of components for, a nuclear device.” Such a document would likely provide Iran with the technical guidance necessary to build a nuclear weapon. Additionally, the Agency indicates that during a 2007 interview with a member of Iran’s clandestine supply network, it was told that Iran had been provided with nuclear explosive design information. Lastly, this portion of the report stresses that the Agency is concerned that Iran may have obtained more advanced design information than the information identified in 2004.

Figure IV.52 discusses the IAEA’s knowledge of Iran’s R&D into and acquisition of “safe, fast-acting detonators, and equipment suitable for firing the detonators,” an integral component to constructing an implosion type nuclear device. It indicates that the Agency discovered that Iran had developed fastfunctioning detonators known as “exploding bridgewire detonators” (EBWs) during the period 2002-2003 as safe alternatives to previous detonator technology it had developed. Moreover, in 2008, Iran told the Agency that before the period 2002-2004, it had already achieved EBW technology. It also provided the Agency with a short, undated document in Persian, which was understood to be the specifications for a detonator development program, and a document from a foreign source that showed the example of a civilian application in which detonators fired simultaneously. Iran, however, has not explained its own need or application for such detonators.

Figure IV.53 describes development of a multipoint initiation system, which is used to reshape the detonation wave into a converging smooth implosion to ensure uniform compression of the core fissile material to supercritical density. As such, it is a vital component of a fission weapon. According to the Agency, Iran has had access to information on the design concept of a multipoint initiation system that can be used to initiate a high explosive charge over its surface effectively and simultaneously. This information was reportedly supplied to the IAEA by a Member State. According to the Agency, “information provided to the Agency by the same Member State referred to in the previous paragraph describes the multipoint initiation concept referred to above as being used by Iran in at least one large scale experiment in 2003 to initiate a high explosive charge in the form of a hemispherical shell. According to that information, during that experiment, the internal hemispherical curved surface of the high explosive charge was monitored using a large number of optical fiber cables, and the light output of the explosive upon detonation was recorded with a high speed streak camera. It should be noted that the dimensions of the initiation system and the explosives used with it were consistent with the dimensions for the new payload which, according to the alleged studies documentation, were given to the engineers who were studying how to integrate the new payload into the chamber of the Shahab 3 missile re-entry vehicle (Project 111) (see Section C.11 below). Further information provided to the Agency by the same Member State indicates that the large scale high explosive experiments were conducted by Iran in the region of Marivan. The Agency has strong indications that the development by Iran of the high explosives initiation system, and its development of the high speed diagnostic configuration used to monitor related experiments, were assisted by the work of a foreign expert who was not only knowledgeable in these technologies, but who, a Member State has informed the Agency, worked for much of his career with this technology in the nuclear weapon program of the country of his origin. The Agency has reviewed publications by this foreign expert

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and has met with him. The Agency has been able to verify through three separate routes, including the expert himself, that this person was in Iran from about 1996 to about 2002, ostensibly to assist Iran in the development of a facility and techniques for making ultra-dispersed diamonds (“UDDs” or “nanodiamonds”), where he also lectured on explosion physics and its applications.” Lastly, this portion of the report states that Iran has engaged in experimental research involving a scaled down version of the hemispherical initiation system and high explosive charged used to detonate an implosion type nuclear weapon. This technology is critical to the construction of a functioning implosion type device. Iran has not been willing to engage the Agency regarding this activity. 

Figure IV.54 discusses Iran’s efforts to evaluate the theoretical design of implosion device using computer simulations, as well as high explosive tests referred to as “hydrodynamic experiments” in which fissile and nuclear components may be replaced with surrogate materials. According to information provided to the IAEA by a Member State, some of which the Agency has been able to examine directly, indicates that Iran has manufactured simulated nuclear explosive components using high density materials such as tungsten. Such experiments have also been linked to experiments involving the use of high-speed diagnostic equipment, including flash X-ray, to monitor the symmetry of the compressive shock of the simulated core of an explosive device. Such experiments would have little, if any, civilian application, and represent a serious source of concern regarding the potential weaponization of Iran’s nuclear program.

Figure IV.55 provides an overview of the IAEA’s knowledge of Iran’s studies that focus on the modeling of spherical geometries, consisting of components of the core of a HEU nuclear device subjected to shock compression, for their neutronic behavior at high density, and a determination of the subsequent nuclear explosive yield. Moreover, the Agency has acquired information that indicates Iran has conducted studies and done calculations relating to the state of criticality of a solid sphere of uranium being compressed by high explosives. Such efforts provide an additional indication of the potential weaponization of Iran’s nuclear program.

Figure IV.56 discusses Iran’s research and development into neutron initiators, which, if placed in the center of a nuclear core of an implosion type nuclear device and compressed, could produce a burst of neutrons suitable for initiating a fission chain reaction. Iran has yet to explain its objectives and capabilities in this field.

Figure IV.57 discusses what the IAEA perceives as Iran’s efforts to plan and undertake preparatory experimentation that would be useful were Iran to carry out a test of a nuclear explosive device. It also indicates that these efforts directly reflect those undertaken by declared nuclear-weapon states. These indicators could perhaps point to a potential Iranian nuclear weapons test in the future.

Figure IV.58 reflects what the IAEA perceives as a structured Iranian program to carry out “engineering studies to examine how to integrate a new spherical payload into the existing payload chamber which would be mounted in the re-entry vehicle of the Shahab 3 missile.” Such explorations into warhead development provide a key indicator that Iran’s program is military in nature.

Figure IV.59 describes Iran’s efforts at developing a prototype firing system that would enable a nuclear warhead on a Shahab 3 missile to explode both in the air above a target, or upon impact of the re-entry vehicle with the ground. It presents further indication that Iran is at least considering the possibility of installing nuclear warheads on its existing arsenal of Shahab 3 missiles.

Figure IV.60 provides an overview of the different bodies and projects that constitute the Iranian nuclear program (according to the IAEA).

Figure IV.61 provides an analysis of the likely payload of an Iranian missile, given the above indicators. It shows that Iran’s R&D into its ballistic missile and nuclear programs reflect a probable effort to develop both nuclear warheads and an effective delivery vehicle thereof.

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“clandestine nuclear supply network,” purported to be the now-disbanded A.Q. Khan network. According to the report, Iran admittedly had contact with the network in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The document also asserts that this network supplied Iran with technical know-how regarding the production of neutron initiators and spherical hemispherical enriched uranium metallic component, neither of which have any real civilian application. According to the document Iran admitted to having received a 15-page document that provided detailed instructions for the construction of components critical to building a nuclear device. This document, known as the “uranium metal document” was also provided to Libya, and is known to have been part of a larger package of information that includes elements of a nuclear explosive design.21 Given the circumstances surrounding the Iran’s acquisition of the document as well as well-known role the A.Q. Khan network played in jump-starting nuclear weapons programs in Pakistan, Libya, and North Korea, it remains doubtful that Iran’s program is purely peaceful. The IAEA’s report of November 8, 2011 also states that there are “strong indications that the development by Iran of the high explosives initiation system, and its development of the high speed diagnostic configuration used to monitor related experiments, were assisted by the work of a foreign expert who was not only knowledgeable in these technologies, but who, a Member State has informed the Agency, worked for much of his career with this technology in the nuclear weapon program of the country of his origin.”22 The ISIS identifies this individual as former Soviet weapons engineer Vyacheslav Danilenko. According to the IAEA, Danilenko worked in Iran from 1996 to 2002, returning to Russia in 2002.23 Moreover, given the small size and sophistication of a multipoint initiation system the IAEA observed in Iran in 2004, it was likely to have been developed using the Danilenko’s expertise as a springboard.24 Iran’s strides in detonator technology are, in all likelihood, the result of Danilenko’s technical expertise. This report provides the most detailed and convincing evidence of the probable weaponization of Iran’s nuclear program to date; Iran’s R&D into detonator technology, multipoint initiation systems, neutron initiators, and the construction of what appears to be a nuclear missile warhead leave little room for doubt. Although it is impossible to know Iran’s intentions with certainty, these indicators, Iran’s efforts to accelerate its production of HEU, and its lack of cooperation

21

Source: IAEA, Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement and relevant provisions of Security Council resolutions in the Islamic Republic of Iran, November 8, 2011 http://isis-online.org/uploads/isis-reports/documents/IAEA_Iran_8Nov2011.pdf 22 Source: IAEA, Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement and relevant provisions of Security Council resolutions in the Islamic Republic of Iran, November 8, 2011 http://isis-online.org/uploads/isis-reports/documents/IAEA_Iran_8Nov2011.pdf 23

ISIS Report. “Iran’s Work and Foreign Assistance on a Multipoint Initiation System for a Nuclear Weapon.” David Albright, Paul Brannan, Mark Gorwitz, and Andrea Strick. November 13, 2011. http://isisonline.org/uploads/isis-reports/documents/Foreign_Assistance_Multipoint_Initiation_System_14Nov2011.pdf 24

ISIS Report. “Iran’s Work and Foreign Assistance on a Multipoint Initiation System for a Nuclear Weapon.” David Albright, Paul Brannan, Mark Gorwitz, and Andrea Strick. November 13, 2011. http://isisonline.org/uploads/isis-reports/documents/Foreign_Assistance_Multipoint_Initiation_System_14Nov2011.pdf

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with the international community regarding said matters provide strong evidence that Iran either seeks to build a nuclear explosive device, or achieve the ability to do so.

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Figure IV.44: IAEA Report of November 8, 2011 – Heavy Water Production Contrary to the relevant resolutions of the Board of Governors and the Security Council, Iran has not suspended work on all heavy water related projects, including the construction of the heavy water moderated research reactor, the Iran Nuclear Research Reactor (IR-40 Reactor), which is subject to Agency safeguards. On 17 October 2011, the Agency carried out a DIV at the IR-40 Reactor at Arak and observed that construction of the facility was ongoing and the coolant heat exchangers had been installed. According to Iran, the operation of the IR-40 Reactor is planned to commence by the end of 2013. Since its visit to the Heavy Water Production Plant (HWPP) on 17 August 2011, the Agency, in a letter to Iran dated 20 October 2011, requested further access to HWPP. The Agency has yet to receive a reply to that letter, and is again relying on satellite imagery to monitor the status of HWPP. Based on recent images, the HWPP appears to be in operation. To date, Iran has not provided the Agency access to the heavy water stored at the Uranium Conversion Facility (UCF) in order to take samples. Source: IAEA, Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement and relevant provisions of Security Council resolutions in the Islamic Republic of Iran, November 8, 2011 http://isis-online.org/uploads/isis-reports/documents/IAEA_Iran_8Nov2011.pdf

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Figure IV.45: IAEA Report of November 8, 2011 – Uranium Conversion Facility Although it is obliged to suspend all enrichment related activities and heavy water related projects, Iran is conducting a number of activities at UCF and the Fuel Manufacturing Plant (FMP) at Esfahan that, as described below, are in contravention of those obligations, although both facilities are under Agency safeguards. Uranium Conversion Facility: On 18 October 2011, the Agency carried out a DIV at UCF during which the Agency observed the ongoing installation of the process equipment for the conversion of UF6 enriched up to 20% U-235 into U3O8. During the DIV, Iran informed the Agency that the initial tests of this conversion line, originally scheduled to start on 6 September 2011, had been postponed and would not involve the use of nuclear material. As previously reported, Iran informed the Agency in July 2011 that it would start R&D activities at UCF for the conversion of UF6 enriched up to 5% U-235 into UO2. During the aforementioned DIV, Iran informed the Agency that 6.8 kg of DU in the form of UF6 had been processed and that Iran had produced 113 g of uranium in the form of UO2 that met its specifications. According to Iran, this UO2 has been sent to FMP to produce test pellets. Iran has also started using UF6 enriched to 3.34% U-235 to produce UO2. During the DIV, Iran further informed the Agency that this UO2 would also be sent to FMP to produce fuel pellets, which would then be sent to TRR for “performance test studies”. In a letter dated 4 October 2011, Iran informed the Agency of the postponement of the production of natural UF6, involving the use of uranium ore concentrate (UOC) produced at the Bandar Abbas Uranium Production Plant, originally scheduled to restart on 23 October 2011. In a letter dated 11 October 2011, Iran informed the Agency that, from 11 November 2011, it intended to use UOC produced at the Bandar Abbas Uranium Production Plant for the production of natural uranium in the form of UO2. During the DIV on 18 October 2011, the Agency took a sample of this UOC. During the same DIV, Iran informed the Agency that, since 23 July 2011, it had fed into the process 958.7 kg of uranium in the form of UOC31 and produced about 185.6 kg of natural uranium in the form of UO2, and further indicated that some of the product had been fed back into the process. In a letter dated 8 October 2011, Iran informed the Agency that it had transferred about 1 kg of this UO2 to the R&D section of FMP in order to “conduct research activities and pellet fabrication.” Source: IAEA, Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement and relevant provisions of Security Council resolutions in the Islamic Republic of Iran, November 8, 2011 http://isis-online.org/uploads/isis-reports/documents/IAEA_Iran_8Nov2011.pdf

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Figure IV.46: IAEA Report of November 8, 2011 – Possible Military Dimensions Previous reports by the Director General have identified outstanding issues related to possible military dimensions to Iran’s nuclear program and actions required of Iran to resolve these. Since 2002, the Agency has become increasingly concerned about the possible existence in Iran of undisclosed nuclear related activities involving military related organizations, including activities related to the development of a nuclear payload for a missile, about which the Agency has regularly received new information. In resolution 1929 (2010), the Security Council reaffirmed Iran’s obligations to take the steps required by the Board of Governors in its resolutions GOV/2006/14 and GOV/2009/82, and to cooperate fully with the Agency on all outstanding issues, particularly those which give rise to concerns about the possible military dimensions to Iran’s nuclear program, including by providing access without delay to all sites, equipment, persons and documents requested by the Agency. Since August 2008, Iran has not engaged with the Agency in any substantive way on this matter. The Director General, in his opening remarks to the Board of Governors on 12 September 2011, stated that in the near future he hoped to set out in greater detail the basis for the Agency's concerns so that all Member States would be kept fully informed. In line with that statement, the Annex to this report provides a detailed analysis of the information available to the Agency to date which has given rise to concerns about possible military dimensions to Iran’s nuclear program. The analysis itself is based on a structured and systematic approach to information analysis which the Agency uses in its evaluation of safeguards implementation in all States with comprehensive safeguards agreements in force. This approach involves, inter alia, the identification of indicators of the existence or development of the processes associated with nuclear-related activities, including weaponization. The information that serves as the basis for the Agency’s analysis and concerns, as identified in the Annex, is assessed by the Agency to be, overall, credible. The information comes from a wide variety of independent sources, including from a number of Member States, from the Agency’s own efforts and from information provided by Iran itself. It is consistent in terms of technical content, individuals and organizations involved, and time frames. The information indicates that Iran has carried out the following activities that are relevant to the development of a nuclear explosive device:    

Efforts, some successful, to procure nuclear related and dual use equipment and materials by military related individuals and entities (Annex, Sections C.1 and C.2); Efforts to develop undeclared pathways for the production of nuclear material (Annex, Section C.3); The acquisition of nuclear weapons development information and documentation from a clandestine nuclear supply network (Annex, Section C.4); and Work on the development of an indigenous design of a nuclear weapon including the testing of components (Annex, Sections C.5–C.12).

Summary of Concerns: While the Agency continues to verify the non-diversion of declared nuclear material at the nuclear facilities and LOFs declared by Iran under its Safeguards Agreement, as Iran is not providing the necessary cooperation, including by not implementing its Additional Protocol, the Agency is unable to provide credible assurance about the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran, and therefore to conclude that all nuclear material in Iran is in peaceful activities. The Agency has serious concerns regarding possible military dimensions to Iran’s nuclear program. After assessing carefully and critically the extensive information available to it, the Agency finds the information to be, overall, credible. The information indicates that Iran has carried out activities relevant to the development of a nuclear explosive device. The information also indicates that prior to the end of 2003, these activities took place under a structured program, and that some activities may still be ongoing. Given the concerns identified above, Iran is requested to engage substantively with the Agency without delay for the purpose of providing clarifications regarding possible military dimensions to Iran’s nuclear program as identified in the Annex to this report.

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The Agency is working with Iran with a view to resolving the discrepancy identified during the recent PIV at JHL. The Director General urges Iran, as required in the binding resolutions of the Board of Governors and mandatory Security Council resolutions, to take steps towards the full implementation of its Safeguards Agreement and its other obligations, including: implementation of the provisions of its Additional Protocol; implementation of the modified Code 3.1 of the Subsidiary Arrangements General Part to its Safeguards Agreement; suspension of enrichment related activities; suspension of heavy water related activities; and, as referred to above, addressing the Agency’s serious concerns about possible military dimensions to Iran’s nuclear program, in order to establish international confidence in the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear program. Source: IAEA, Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement and relevant provisions of Security Council resolutions in the Islamic Republic of Iran, November 8, 2011 http://isis-online.org/uploads/isis-reports/documents/IAEA_Iran_8Nov2011.pdf

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Figure IV.47: IAEA Report of November 8, 2011 – Historical Overview of the Possible Military Dimensions of Iran’s Nuclear Program Since late 2002, the Director General has reported to the Board of Governors on the Agency’s concerns about the nature of Iran’s nuclear program. Such concerns coincided with the appearance in open sources of information that indicated that Iran was building a large underground nuclear related facility at Natanz and a heavy water production plant at Arak. Between 2003 and 2004, the Agency confirmed a number of significant failures on the part of Iran to meet its obligations under its Safeguards Agreement with respect to the reporting of nuclear material, the processing and use of undeclared nuclear material and the failure to declare facilities where the nuclear material had been received, stored and processed. Specifically, it was discovered that, as early as the late 1970s and early 1980s, and continuing into the 1990s and 2000s, Iran had used undeclared nuclear material for testing and experimentation in several uranium conversion, enrichment, fabrication and irradiation activities, including the separation of plutonium, at undeclared locations and facilities. In October 2003, Iran informed the Director General that it had adopted a policy of full disclosure and had decided to provide the Agency with a full picture of its nuclear activities. Following that announcement, Iran granted the Agency access to locations the Agency requested to visit, provided information and clarifications in relation to the origin of imported equipment and components and made individuals available for interviews. It also continued to implement the modified Code 3.1 of the Subsidiary Arrangements General Part, to which it agreed in February 2003, which provides for the submission of design information on new nuclear facilities as soon as the decision to construct or to authorize construction of such a facility is taken. In November 2003, Iran announced its intention to sign an Additional Protocol to its Safeguards Agreement (which it did in December 2003 following Board approval of the text), and that, prior to its entry into force, Iran would act in accordance with the provisions of that Protocol. Between 2003 and early 2006, Iran submitted inventory change reports, provided design information with respect to facilities where the undeclared activities had taken place and made nuclear material available for Agency verification. Iran also acknowledged that it had utilized entities with links to the Ministry of Defence in some of its previously undeclared activities. Iran acknowledged that it had had contacts with intermediaries of a clandestine nuclear supply network in 1987 and the early 1990s, and that, in 1987, it had received a handwritten one page document offering assistance with the development of uranium centrifuge enrichment technology, in which reference was also made to a reconversion unit with casting equipment. Iran further acknowledged that it had received a package of information related to centrifuge enrichment technology that also included a 15 page document (hereafter referred to as the “uranium metal document”) which Iran said it did not ask for and which describes, inter alia, processes for the conversion of uranium fluoride compounds into uranium metal and the production of hemispherical enriched uranium metallic components. The Agency continued to seek clarification of issues with respect to the scope and nature of Iran’s nuclear program, particularly in light of Iran’s admissions concerning its contacts with the clandestine nuclear supply network, information provided by participants in that network and information which had been provided to the Agency by a Member State. This last information, collectively referred to as the “alleged studies documentation”, which was made known to the Agency in 2005, indicated that Iran had been engaged in activities involving studies on a so-called green salt project, high explosives testing and the reengineering of a missile re-entry vehicle to accommodate a new payload. All of this information, taken together, gave rise to concerns about possible military dimensions to Iran’s nuclear program.

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In August 2007, Iran and the Agency agreed on “Understandings of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the IAEA on the Modalities of Resolution of the Outstanding Issues” (generally referred to as the “work plan”) (INFCIRC/711). By February 2008, the four items identified in the work plan as “past outstanding issues”, and the two items identified as “other outstanding issues”, had been determined by the Agency to be either closed, completed or no longer outstanding. The remaining issues which needed to be clarified by Iran related to the alleged studies, together with other matters which had arisen in the course of resolving the six other issues and which needed to be addressed in connection with the alleged studies, specifically: the circumstances of Iran’s acquisition of the uranium metal document, procurement and research and development (R&D) activities of military related institutes and companies that could be nuclear related; and the production of nuclear equipment and components by companies belonging to defense industries. Between February and May 2008, pursuant to the work plan, the Agency shared with Iran information (including documentation) on the alleged studies, and sought clarifications from Iran. In May 2008, Iran submitted to the Agency a 117 page assessment of that information. While Iran confirmed the veracity of some of the information that the Agency had shared with it (such as acknowledgement of names of people, places and organizations), Iran’s assessment was focused on deficiencies in form and format, and dismissed the allegations as having been based on “forged” documents and “fabricated” data. The Agency continued to receive additional information from Member States and acquired new information as a result of its own efforts. The Agency tried without success to engage Iran in discussions about the information, and finally wrote to Iran in October 2010 to inform it about this additional information. Between 2007 and 2010, Iran continued to conceal nuclear activities, by not informing the Agency in a timely manner of the decision to construct or to authorize construction of a new nuclear power plant at Darkhovin and a third enrichment facility near Qom (the Fordow Fuel Enrichment Plant). The Agency is still awaiting substantive responses from Iran to Agency requests for further information about its announcements, in 2009 and 2010 respectively, that it had decided to construct ten additional enrichment facilities (the locations for five of which had already been identified) and that it possessed laser enrichment technology. The Agency has continued to receive, collect and evaluate information relevant to possible military dimensions to Iran’s nuclear program. As additional information has become available to the Agency, the Agency has been able, notwithstanding Iran’s lack of engagement, to refine its analysis of possible military dimensions to Iran’s nuclear program. Source: IAEA, Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement and relevant provisions of Security Council resolutions in the Islamic Republic of Iran, November 8, 2011 http://isis-online.org/uploads/isis-reports/documents/IAEA_Iran_8Nov2011.pdf

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Figure IV.48: IAEA Report of November 8, 2011 – Program Management Structure The Agency has been provided with information by Member States which indicates that the activities referred to in Sections C.2 to C.12 were, at least for some significant period of time, managed through a program structure, assisted by advisory bodies, and that, owing to the importance of these efforts, senior Iranian figures featured within this command structure. From analysis of this information and information provided by Iran, and through its own endeavors, the Agency has been able to construct what it believes to be a good understanding of activities undertaken by Iran prior to the end of 2003. The Agency’s ability to construct an equally good understanding of activities in Iran after the end of 2003 is reduced, due to the more limited information available to the Agency. For ease of reference, the figure below depicts, in summary form, what the Agency understands of the program structure, and administrative changes in that structure over the years. Attachment 1 to this Annex provides further details, derived from that information, about the organizational arrangements and projects within that program structure.

The Agency received information from Member States which indicates that, sometime after the commencement by Iran in the late 1980s of covert procurement activities, organizational structures and administrative arrangements for an undeclared nuclear program were established and managed through the Physics Research Centre (PHRC), and were overseen, through a Scientific Committee, by the Defence Industries Education Research Institute (ERI), established to coordinate defense R&D for the Ministry of Defence Armed Forces Logistics (MODAFL). Iran has confirmed that the PHRC was established in 1989 at Lavisan-Shian, in Tehran. Iran has stated that the PHRC was created with the purpose of “preparedness to combat and neutralization of casualties due to nuclear attacks and accidents (nuclear defense) and also support and provide scientific advice and services to the Ministry of Defence”. Iran has stated further that those activities were stopped in 1998. In late 2003/early 2004, Iran completely cleared the site.

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According to information provided by Member States, by the late 1990s or early 2000s, the PHRC activities were consolidated under the “AMAD Plan”. Mohsen Fakhrizadeh (Mahabadi) was the Executive Officer of the AMAD Plan, the executive affairs of which were performed by the “Orchid Office”. Most of the activities carried out under the AMAD Plan appear to have been conducted during 2002 and 2003. The majority of the details of the work said to have been conducted under the AMAD Plan come from the alleged studies documentation which, as indicated in paragraph 6 above, refer to studies conducted in three technical areas: the green salt project; high explosives (including the development of exploding bridgewire detonators); and re-engineering of the payload chamber of the Shahab 3 missile re-entry vehicle. According to the Agency’s assessment of the information contained in that documentation, the green salt project (identified as Project 5.13) was part of a larger project (identified as Project 5) to provide a source of uranium suitable for use in an undisclosed enrichment program. The product of this program would be converted into metal for use in the new warhead which was the subject of the missile re-entry vehicle studies (identified as Project 111). As of May 2008, the Agency was not in a position to demonstrate to Iran the connection between Project 5 and Project 111. However, subsequently, the Agency was shown documents which established a connection between Project 5 and Project 111, and hence a link between nuclear material and a new payload development program. Information the Agency has received from Member States indicates that, owing to growing concerns about the international security situation in Iraq and neighboring countries at that time, work on the AMAD Plan was stopped rather abruptly pursuant to a “halt order” instruction issued in late 2003 by senior Iranian officials. According to that information, however, staff remained in place to record and document the achievements of their respective projects. Subsequently, equipment and work places were either cleaned or disposed of so that there would be little to identify the sensitive nature of the work which had been undertaken. The Agency has other information from Member States which indicates that some activities previously carried out under the AMAD Plan were resumed later, and that Mr. Fakhrizadeh retained the principal organizational role, first under a new organization known as the Section for Advanced Development Applications and Technologies (SADAT), which continued to report to MODAFL, and later, in mid-2008, as the head of the Malek Ashtar University of Technology (MUT) in Tehran. The Agency has been advised by a Member State that, in February 2011, Mr. Fakhrizadeh moved his seat of operations from MUT to an adjacent location known as the Modjeh Site, and that he now leads the Organization of Defensive Innovation and Research. The Agency is concerned because some of the activities undertaken after 2003 would be highly relevant to a nuclear weapon program. Source: IAEA, Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement and relevant provisions of Security Council resolutions in the Islamic Republic of Iran, November 8, 2011 http://isis-online.org/uploads/isis-reports/documents/IAEA_Iran_8Nov2011.pdf

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Figure IV.49: IAEA Report of November 8, 2011 – Procurement Activities Under the AMAD Plan, Iran’s efforts to procure goods and services allegedly involved a number of ostensibly private companies which were able to provide cover for the real purpose of the procurements. The Agency has been informed by several Member States that, for instance, Kimia Maadan was a cover company for chemical engineering operations under the AMAD Plan while also being used to help with procurement for the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI). In addition, throughout the entire timeline, instances of procurement and attempted procurement by individuals associated with the AMAD Plan of equipment, materials and services which, although having other civilian applications, would be useful in the development of a nuclear explosive device, have either been uncovered by the Agency itself or been made known to it. Among such equipment, materials and services are: high speed electronic switches and spark gaps (useful for triggering and firing detonators); high speed cameras (useful in experimental diagnostics); neutron sources (useful for calibrating neutron measuring equipment); radiation detection and measuring equipment (useful in a nuclear material production environment); and training courses on topics relevant to nuclear explosives development (such as neutron cross section calculations and shock wave interactions/hydrodynamics). Source: IAEA, Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement and relevant provisions of Security Council resolutions in the Islamic Republic of Iran, November 8, 2011 http://isis-online.org/uploads/isis-reports/documents/IAEA_Iran_8Nov2011.pdf

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Figure IV.50: IAEA Report of November 8, 2011 – Nuclear Material Acquisition In 2008, the Director General informed the Board that: it had no information at that time — apart from the uranium metal document — on the actual design or manufacture by Iran of nuclear material components of a nuclear weapon or of certain other key components, such as initiators, or on related nuclear physics studies, and that it had not detected the actual use of nuclear material in connection with the alleged studies. However, as indicated in paragraph 22 above, information contained in the alleged studies documentation suggests that Iran was working on a project to secure a source of uranium suitable for use in an undisclosed enrichment program, the product of which would be converted into metal for use in the new warhead which was the subject of the missile reentry vehicle studies. Additional information provided by Member States indicates that, although uranium was not used, kilogram quantities of natural uranium metal were available to the AMAD Plan. Information made available to the Agency by a Member State, which the Agency has been able to examine directly, indicates that Iran made progress with experimentation aimed at the recovery of uranium from fluoride compounds (using lead oxide as a surrogate material to avoid the possibility of uncontrolled contamination occurring in the workplace). In addition, although now declared and currently under safeguards, a number of facilities dedicated to uranium enrichment (the Fuel Enrichment Plant and Pilot Fuel Enrichment Plant at Natanz and the Fordow Fuel Enrichment Plant near Qom) were covertly built by Iran and only declared once the Agency was made aware of their existence by sources other than Iran. This, taken together with the past efforts by Iran to conceal activities involving nuclear material, create more concern about the possible existence of undeclared nuclear facilities and material in Iran. Source: IAEA, Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement and relevant provisions of Security Council resolutions in the Islamic Republic of Iran, November 8, 2011 http://isis-online.org/uploads/isis-reports/documents/IAEA_Iran_8Nov2011.pdf

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Figure IV.51: IAEA Report of November 8, 2011 – Nuclear Components for an Explosive Device For use in a nuclear device, HEU retrieved from the enrichment process is first converted to metal. The metal is then cast and machined into suitable components for a nuclear core. As indicated in paragraph 5 above, Iran has acknowledged that, along with the handwritten one page document offering assistance with the development of uranium centrifuge enrichment technology, in which reference is also made to a reconversion unit with casting equipment. Iran also received the uranium metal document which describes, inter alia, processes for the conversion of uranium compounds into uranium metal and the production of hemispherical enriched uranium metallic components. The uranium metal document is known to have been available to the clandestine nuclear supply network that provided Iran with assistance in developing its centrifuge enrichment capability, and is also known to be part of a larger package of information which includes elements of a nuclear explosive design. A similar package of information, which surfaced in 2003, was provided by the same network to Libya. The information in the Libyan package, which was first reviewed by Agency experts in January 2004, included details on the design and construction of, and the manufacture of components for, a nuclear explosive device. In addition, a Member State provided the Agency experts with access to a collection of electronic files from seized computers belonging to key members of the network at different locations. That collection included documents seen in Libya, along with more recent versions of those documents, including an up-dated electronic version of the uranium metal document. In an interview in 2007 with a member of the clandestine nuclear supply network, the Agency was told that Iran had been provided with nuclear explosive design information. From information provided to the Agency during that interview, the Agency is concerned that Iran may have obtained more advanced design information than the information identified in 2004 as having been provided to Libya by the nuclear supply network. Additionally, a Member State provided information indicating that, during the AMAD Plan, preparatory work, not involving nuclear material, for the fabrication of natural and high enriched uranium metal components for a nuclear explosive device was carried out. As the conversion of HEU compounds into metal and the fabrication of HEU metal components suitable in size and quality are steps in the development of an HEU nuclear explosive device, clarification by Iran is needed in connection with the above. Source: IAEA, Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement and relevant provisions of Security Council resolutions in the Islamic Republic of Iran, November 8, 2011 http://isis-online.org/uploads/isis-reports/documents/IAEA_Iran_8Nov2011.pdf

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Figure IV.52: IAEA Report of November 8, 2011 – Detonator Development The development of safe, fast-acting detonators, and equipment suitable for firing the detonators, is an integral part of a program to develop an implosion type nuclear device. Included among the alleged studies documentation are a number of documents relating to the development by Iran, during the period 2002–2003, of fast functioning detonators, known as “exploding bridgewire detonators” or “EBWs” as safe alternatives to the type of detonator described for use in the nuclear device design referred to in paragraph 33 above. In 2008, Iran told the Agency that it had developed EBWs for civil and conventional military applications and had achieved a simultaneity of about one microsecond when firing two to three detonators together, and provided the Agency with a copy of a paper relating to EBW development work presented by two Iranian researchers at a conference held in Iran in 2005. A similar paper was published by the two researchers at an international conference later in 2005. Both papers indicate that suitable high voltage firing equipment had been acquired or developed by Iran. Also in 2008, Iran told the Agency that, before the period 2002–2004, it had already achieved EBW technology. Iran also provided the Agency with a short undated document in Farsi, understood to be the specifications for a detonator development program, and a document from a foreign source showing an example of a civilian application in which detonators are fired simultaneously. However, Iran has not explained to the Agency its own need or application for such detonators. The Agency recognizes that there exist non-nuclear applications, albeit few, for detonators like EBWs, and of equipment suitable for firing multiple detonators with a high level of simultaneity. Notwithstanding, given their possible application in a nuclear explosive device, and the fact that there are limited civilian and conventional military applications for such technology, Iran’s development of such detonators and equipment is a matter of concern, particularly in connection with the possible use of the multipoint initiation system referred to below. Source: IAEA, Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement and relevant provisions of Security Council resolutions in the Islamic Republic of Iran, November 8, 2011 http://isis-online.org/uploads/isis-reports/documents/IAEA_Iran_8Nov2011.pdf

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Figure IV.53: IAEA Report of November 8, 2011 – Initiation of High Explosives and Associated Experiments Detonators provide point source initiation of explosives, generating a naturally diverging detonation wave. In an implosion type nuclear explosive device, an additional component, known as a multipoint initiation system, can be used to reshape the detonation wave into a converging smooth implosion to ensure uniform compression of the core fissile material to supercritical density. The Agency has shared with Iran information provided by a Member State which indicates that Iran has had access to information on the design concept of a multipoint initiation system that can be used to initiate effectively and simultaneously a high explosive charge over its surface. The Agency has been able to confirm independently that such a design concept exists and the country of origin of that design concept. Furthermore, the Agency has been informed by nuclear-weapon States that the specific multipoint initiation concept is used in some known nuclear explosive devices. In its 117 page submission to the Agency in May 2008, Iran stated that the subject was not understandable to Iran and that Iran had not conducted any activities of the type referred to in the document. Information provided to the Agency by the same Member State referred to in the previous paragraph describes the multipoint initiation concept referred to above as being used by Iran in at least one large scale experiment in 2003 to initiate a high explosive charge in the form of a hemispherical shell. According to that information, during that experiment, the internal hemispherical curved surface of the high explosive charge was monitored using a large number of optical fiber cables, and the light output of the explosive upon detonation was recorded with a high speed streak camera. It should be noted that the dimensions of the initiation system and the explosives used with it were consistent with the dimensions for the new payload which, according to the alleged studies documentation, were given to the engineers who were studying how to integrate the new payload into the chamber of the Shahab 3 missile re-entry vehicle (Project 111) (see Section C.11 below). Further information provided to the Agency by the same Member State indicates that the large scale high explosive experiments were conducted by Iran in the region of Marivan. The Agency has strong indications that the development by Iran of the high explosives initiation system, and its development of the high speed diagnostic configuration used to monitor related experiments, were assisted by the work of a foreign expert who was not only knowledgeable in these technologies, but who, a Member State has informed the Agency, worked for much of his career with this technology in the nuclear weapon program of the country of his origin. The Agency has reviewed publications by this foreign expert and has met with him. The Agency has been able to verify through three separate routes, including the expert himself, that this person was in Iran from about 1996 to about 2002, ostensibly to assist Iran in the development of a facility and techniques for making ultra-dispersed diamonds (“UDDs” or “nanodiamonds”), where he also lectured on explosion physics and its applications. Furthermore, the Agency has received information from two Member States that, after 2003, Iran engaged in experimental research involving a scaled down version of the hemispherical initiation system and high explosive charge referred to in paragraph 43 above, albeit in connection with non-nuclear applications. This work, together with other studies made known to the Agency in which the same initiation system is used in cylindrical geometry, could also be relevant to improving and optimizing the multipoint initiation design concept relevant to nuclear applications. The Agency’s concern about the activities described in this Section derives from the fact that a multipoint initiation system, such as that described above, can be used in a nuclear explosive device. However, Iran has not been willing to engage in discussion of this topic with the Agency. Source: IAEA, Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement and relevant provisions of Security Council resolutions in the Islamic Republic of Iran, November 8, 2011 http://isis-online.org/uploads/isis-reports/documents/IAEA_Iran_8Nov2011.pdf

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Figure IV.54: IAEA Report of November 8, 2011 – Hydrodynamic Experiments One necessary step in a nuclear weapon development program is determining whether a theoretical design of an implosion device, the behavior of which can be studied through computer simulations, will work in practice. To that end, high explosive tests referred to as “hydrodynamic experiments” are conducted in which fissile and nuclear components may be replaced with surrogate materials. Information which the Agency has been provided by Member States, some of which the Agency has been able to examine directly, indicates that Iran has manufactured simulated nuclear explosive components using high density materials such as tungsten. These components were said to have incorporated small central cavities suitable for the insertion of capsules such as those described in Section C.9 below. The end use of such components remains unclear, although they can be linked to other information received by the Agency concerning experiments involving the use of high speed diagnostic equipment, including flash X ray, to monitor the symmetry of the compressive shock of the simulated core of a nuclear device. Other information which the Agency has been provided by Member States indicates that Iran constructed a large explosives containment vessel in which to conduct hydrodynamic experiments. The explosives vessel, or chamber, is said to have been put in place at Parchin in 2000. A building was constructed at that time around a large cylindrical object at a location at the Parchin military complex. A large earth berm was subsequently constructed between the building containing the cylinder and a neighboring building, indicating the probable use of high explosives in the chamber. The Agency has obtained commercial satellite images that are consistent with this information. From independent evidence, including a publication by the foreign expert referred to in paragraph 44 above, the Agency has been able to confirm the date of construction of the cylinder and some of its design features (such as its dimensions), and that it was designed to contain the detonation of up to 70 kilograms of high explosives, which would be suitable for carrying out the type of experiments described in paragraph 43 above. As a result of information the Agency obtained from a Member State in the early 2000s alleging that Iran was conducting high explosive testing, possibly in association with nuclear materials, at the Parchin military complex, the Agency was permitted by Iran to visit the site twice in 2005. From satellite imagery available at that time, the Agency identified a number of areas of interest, none of which, however, included the location now believed to contain the building which houses the explosives chamber mentioned above; consequently, the Agency’s visits did not uncover anything of relevance. Hydrodynamic experiments such as those described above, which involve high explosives in conjunction with nuclear material or nuclear material surrogates, are strong indicators of possible weapon development. In addition, the use of surrogate material, and/or confinement provided by a chamber of the type indicated above, could be used to prevent contamination of the site with nuclear material. It remains for Iran to explain the rationale behind these activities. Source: IAEA, Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement and relevant provisions of Security Council resolutions in the Islamic Republic of Iran, November 8, 2011 http://isis-online.org/uploads/isis-reports/documents/IAEA_Iran_8Nov2011.pdf

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Figure IV.55: IAEA Report of November 8, 2011 – Modeling and Calculations Information provided to the Agency by two Member States relating to modeling studies alleged to have been conducted in 2008 and 2009 by Iran is of particular concern to the Agency. According to that information, the studies involved the modeling of spherical geometries, consisting of components of the core of an HEU nuclear device subjected to shock compression, for their neutronic behavior at high density, and a determination of the subsequent nuclear explosive yield. The information also identifies models said to have been used in those studies and the results of these calculations, which the Agency has seen. The application of such studies to anything other than a nuclear explosive is unclear to the Agency. It is therefore essential that Iran engage with the Agency and provide an explanation. The Agency obtained information in 2005 from a Member State indicating that, in 1997, representatives from Iran had met with officials from an institute in a nuclear-weapon State to request training courses in the fields of neutron cross section calculations using computer codes employing Monte Carlo methodology, and shock wave interactions with metals. In a letter dated 14 May 2008, Iran advised the Agency that there was nothing to support this information. The Agency has also been provided with information by a Member State indicating that, in 2005, arrangements were made in Iran for setting up projects within SADAT centers (see Section C.1 and Attachment 1), inter alia, to establish a databank for “equation of state” information and a hydrodynamics calculation center. The Agency has also been provided with information from a different Member State that, in 2005, a senior official in SADAT solicited assistance from Shahid Behesti University in connection with complex calculations relating to the state of criticality of a solid sphere of uranium being compressed by high explosives. Research by the Agency into scientific literature published over the past decade has revealed that Iranian workers, in particular groups of researchers at Shahid Behesti University and Amir Kabir University, have published papers relating to the generation, measurement and modeling of neutron transport. The Agency has also found, through open source research, other Iranian publications which relate to the application of detonation shock dynamics to the modeling of detonation in high explosives, and the use of hydrodynamic codes in the modeling of jet formation with shaped (hollow) charges. Such studies are commonly used in reactor physics or conventional ordnance research, but also have applications in the development of nuclear explosives. Source: IAEA, Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement and relevant provisions of Security Council resolutions in the Islamic Republic of Iran, November 8, 2011 http://isis-online.org/uploads/isis-reports/documents/IAEA_Iran_8Nov2011.pdf

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Figure IV.56: IAEA Report of November 8, 2011 – Neutron Initiator The Agency has information from a Member State that Iran has undertaken work to manufacture small capsules suitable for use as containers of a component containing nuclear material. The Agency was also informed by a different Member State that Iran may also have experimented with such components in order to assess their performance in generating neutrons. Such components, if placed in the center of a nuclear core of an implosion type nuclear device and compressed, could produce a burst of neutrons suitable for initiating a fission chain reaction. The location where the experiments were conducted was said to have been cleaned of contamination after the experiments had taken place. The design of the capsule, and the material associated with it, are consistent with the device design information which the clandestine nuclear supply network allegedly provided to Iran. The Agency also has information from a Member State that work in this technical area may have continued in Iran after 2004, and that Iran embarked on a four year program, from around 2006 onwards, on the further validation of the design of this neutron source, including through the use of a non- nuclear material to avoid contamination. Given the importance of neutron generation and transport, and their effect on geometries containing fissile materials in the context of an implosion device, Iran needs to explain to the Agency its objectives and capabilities in this field. Source: IAEA, Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement and relevant provisions of Security Council resolutions in the Islamic Republic of Iran, November 8, 2011 http://isis-online.org/uploads/isis-reports/documents/IAEA_Iran_8Nov2011.pdf

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Figure IV.57: IAEA Report of November 8, 2011 – Conducting a Nuclear Test The Agency has information provided by a Member State that Iran may have planned and undertaken preparatory experimentation which would be useful were Iran to carry out a test of a nuclear explosive device. In particular, the Agency has information that Iran has conducted a number of practical tests to see whether its EBW firing equipment would function satisfactorily over long distances between a firing point and a test device located down a deep shaft. Additionally, among the alleged studies documentation provided by that Member State, is a document, in Farsi, which relates directly to the logistics and safety arrangements that would be necessary for conducting a nuclear test. The Agency has been informed by a different Member State that these arrangements directly reflect those which have been used in nuclear tests conducted by nuclear-weapon States. Source: IAEA, Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement and relevant provisions of Security Council resolutions in the Islamic Republic of Iran, November 8, 2011 http://isis-online.org/uploads/isis-reports/documents/IAEA_Iran_8Nov2011.pdf

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Figure IV.58: IAEA Report of November 8, 2011 – Integration into a Missile Delivery Vehicle The alleged studies documentation contains extensive information regarding work which is alleged to have been conducted by Iran during the period 2002 to 2003 under what was known as Project 111. From that information, the project appears to have consisted of a structured and comprehensive program of engineering studies to examine how to integrate a new spherical payload into the existing payload chamber which would be mounted in the re-entry vehicle of the Shahab 3 missile. According to that documentation, using a number of commercially available computer codes, Iran conducted computer modeling studies of at least 14 progressive design iterations of the payload chamber and its contents to examine how they would stand up to the various stresses that would be encountered on being launched and travelling on a ballistic trajectory to a target. It should be noted that the masses and dimensions of components identified in information provided to the Agency by Member States that Iran is alleged to have been developing (see paragraphs 43 and 48 above) correspond to those assessed to have been used in Project 111 engineering studies on the new payload chamber. During these studies, prototype components were allegedly manufactured at workshops known to exist in Iran but which Iran refused the Agency permission to visit. The six engineering groups said to have worked under Project 111 produced many technical reports, which comprise a substantial part of the alleged studies documentation. The Agency has studied these reports extensively and finds that they are both internally consistent and consistent with other supporting information related to Project 111. The alleged studies documentation also shows that, as part of the activities undertaken within Project 111, consideration was being given to subjecting the prototype payload and its chamber to engineering stress tests to see how well they would stand up in practice to simulated launch and flight stresses (so-called “environmental testing”). This work would have complemented the engineering modeling simulation studies referred to in paragraph 60 above. According to the information reflected in the alleged studies documentation, within Project 111, some, albeit limited, preparations were also being undertaken to enable the assembly of manufactured components. Iran has denied conducting the engineering studies, claiming that the documentation which the Agency has is in electronic format and so could have been manipulated, and that it would have been easy to fabricate. However, the quantity of the documentation, and the scope and contents of the work covered in the documentation, are sufficiently comprehensive and complex that, in the Agency’s view, it is not likely to have been the result of forgery or fabrication. While the activities described as those of Project 111 may be relevant to the development of a non-nuclear payload, they are highly relevant to a nuclear weapon program. Source: IAEA, Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement and relevant provisions of Security Council resolutions in the Islamic Republic of Iran, November 8, 2011 http://isis-online.org/uploads/isis-reports/documents/IAEA_Iran_8Nov2011.pdf

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Figure IV.59: IAEA Report of November 8, 2011 – Fusing, Arming, and Firing System The alleged studies documentation indicates that, as part of the studies carried out by the engineering groups under Project 111 to integrate the new payload into the re-entry vehicle of the Shahab 3 missile, additional work was conducted on the development of a prototype firing system that would enable the payload to explode both in the air above a target, or upon impact of the re-entry vehicle with the ground. Iran was shown this information, which, in its 117 page submission (referred to above in paragraph 8), it dismissed as being “an animation game”. The Agency, in conjunction with experts from Member States other than those which had provided the information in question, carried out an assessment of the possible nature of the new payload. As a result of that assessment, it was concluded that any payload option other than nuclear which could also be expected to have an airburst option (such as chemical weapons) could be ruled out. Iran was asked to comment on this assessment and agreed in the course of a meeting with the Agency which took place in Tehran in May 2008 that, if the information upon which it was based were true, it would constitute a program for the development of a nuclear weapon. Attachment 2 to this Annex reproduces the results of the Agency’s assessment as it was presented by the Secretariat to the Member States in the technical briefing which took place in February 2008. Source: IAEA, Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement and relevant provisions of Security Council resolutions in the Islamic Republic of Iran, November 8, 2011 http://isis-online.org/uploads/isis-reports/documents/IAEA_Iran_8Nov2011.pdf

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Figure IV.60: IAEA Report of November 8, 2011 – Departments, Projects, and Centers Relating to Iran’s Nuclear Program PHRC Departments Department 01: Nuclear Physics Department 02: Centrifuge Enrichment

AMAD Plan Projects Project 110: Payload Design

Department 03: Laser Enrichment

Project 3: Manufacture of Components 3.12: Explosives and EBW Detonator 3.14: Uranium Metallurgy Project 4: Uranium Enrichment

Department 04: Uranium Conversion Department 05: Geology

Department 06: Health Physics Department 07: Workshop Department 08: Heavy Water Department 09: Analytical Laboratory

Project 111: Payload Integration

SADAT Centers Center for Readiness & New Defense Technologies Center for R&D (1) of Explosion and Shock Technology Center for Industrial Research & Construction

Center for R&T (2) of Advanced Materials – Chemistry Center for R&T of New Aerospace Technology

Project 5: Uranium Mining, Concentration, and Conversion 5.13: Green Salt Project 5.15: Gchine Mine Project Projects 8, 9, and 10 Center for Laser and Phototonics Applications Project Health and Safety Project 19: Involvement of IAP Project/Group 117: Procurement and Supply

Department 10: Computing Department 20: Analysis (1) R&D = Research & Development (2) R&T = Research and Technology Source: IAEA, Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement and relevant provisions of Security Council resolutions in the Islamic Republic of Iran, November 8, 2011 http://isis-online.org/uploads/isisreports/documents/IAEA_Iran_8Nov2011.pdf

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Figure IV.61: IAEA Report of November 8, 2011 – Analysis of Payload

Source: IAEA, Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement and relevant provisions of Security Council resolutions in the Islamic Republic of Iran, November 8, 2011 http://isis-online.org/uploads/isisreports/documents/IAEA_Iran_8Nov2011.pdf

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US Official Views of Iran’s Competition in Nuclear and Missile Efforts The difficulties in measuring this aspect of US and Iranian military competition are compounded by the fact there are serious limits to how much information US officials can disclose about official US estimates of Iran’s nuclear programs, and how they affect US and Iranian military competition. The annual unclassified reports to Congress by the US Director of National Intelligence do, however, offer a cleared and coordinated overview of US perceptions – which now seems to track closely with the views of many European and Gulf officials and experts. An unclassified March 2010 report produced by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence has been partly overtaken by the pace of Iran’s rapidly developing program, but it still represents a useful unclassified national intelligence estimate of Iran’s capabilities: 25 Nuclear We continue to assess Iran is keeping open the option to develop nuclear weapons though we do not know whether Tehran eventually will decide to produce nuclear weapons. Iran continues to develop a range of capabilities that could be applied to producing nuclear weapons, if a decision is made to do so. During the reporting period, Iran continued to expand its nuclear infrastructure and continued uranium enrichment and activities related to its heavy water research reactor, despite multiple United Nations Security Council Resolutions since late 2006 calling for the suspension of those activities. Although Iran made progress in expanding its nuclear infrastructure during 2001, some obstacles slowed progress during this period. • In 2009, Iran continued to make progress enriching uranium at the underground cascade halls at Natanz with first-generation centrifuges, and in testing and operating advanced centrifuges at the pilot plant there. As of mid-November, Iran had produced about 1,800 kilograms of low-enriched uranium hexafluoride (LEUF6) gas product at Natanz, compared to 555 kilograms of LEUF6 in November 2008. Between January and November 2009, Iran increased the number of installed centrifuges from about 5,000 to about 8,700, but the number reported to be operating remains at about 3,000~100. • In September, Iran disclosed that it was constructing a second gas-centrifuge uranium enrichment plant near the city of Qom that is designed to house approximately 3,000 centrifuges. • Iran in 2009 continued construction of the IR-40 Heavy Water Research Reactor. Iran during National Nuclear Day inaugurated its fuel manufacturing plant and claimed to have manufactured a fuel assembly for the IR-40. Iran in 2009 continued to make progress on completing its Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant but did not load fuel in the reactor. Iran currently plans to load fuel in the reactor in 2010. Iran's Uranium Conversion Facility (UCF) at Esfahan shut down for maintenance in August and had not resumed UF6 production as of late October. International Atomic Energy Agency reports indicate Iran has almost exhausted its imported stockpile of yellowcake that may have contributed to its decision to extend the shutdown of the UCF. Missiles 25

ODDNI, Report to Congress on Acquisition of Technology Relating to Weapons of Mass Destruction

and Advanced Conventional Munitions, March 2010, http://www.dni.gov/reports/2009_721_Report.pdf

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Iran has continued to develop its ballistic missile program that it views as its primary deterrent. Iran is fielding increased numbers of short- and medium-range ballistic missiles (SRBMs, MRBMs) and we judge that producing more capable MRBMs remains one of its highest priorities. Iran's ballistic missile inventory is one of the largest in the Middle East. In late November 2007, Iran's defense minister claimed Iran had developed a new 2,000 km-range missile called the Ashura. Iranian officials on 12 November 2008 claimed to have launched a two stage, solid propellant missile called the Sajjil with a range of 2,000 km. In 2009, Iran conducted three flight tests of this missile. As early as 2005, Iran stated its intentions to send its own satellites into orbit. As of January 2008, Tehran reportedly had allocated $250 million to build and purchase satellites. Iran announced it would launch four more satellites by 2010 to improve land and mobile telephone communications. Iran's President Ahmadinejad also announced Tehran would launch a "home- produced" satellite into orbit in 2008, and several Iranian news websites released photos of a new rocket called "Safic." In mid-August 2008, Iran first launched its Safir space launch vehicle, carrying the Omid satellite. Iran claimed the launch a success; however US officials believed the vehicle did not successfully complete its mission. Iran successfully launched the Omid satellite aboard the Safir 2 SLV in early February 2009 according to press reports. Russian entities at least in the past, have helped Iran move toward self-sufficiency in the production of ballistic missiles. Iran still remains dependent on foreign suppliers for some key missile components, however. Iran also has marketed for export at trade shows guidance components suitable for ballistic missiles. Chemical and Biological We assess that Iran maintains the capability to produce chemical warfare (CW) agents and conducts research that may have offensive applications. Tehran continues to seek dual-use technologies that could advance its capability to produce CW agents. We judge that Iran is capable of weaponizing CW agents in a variety of delivery systems. Iran probably has the capability to produce some biological warfare (BW) agents for offensive purposes, if it made the decision to do so. We assess that Iran has previously conducted offensive BW agent research and development. Iran continues to seek dual- use technologies that could be used for BW.

Clapper gave a less detailed statement to Congress on March 3, 2011, but noted that the US estimate of operating centrifuges had now risen to 4,100 in late 2010, and Iran had used them to produce over 3,000 kilograms of low enriched uranium. He also stated that the US intelligence community assessed that,26 Iran is keeping open the option to develop nuclear weapons in part by developing various nuclear capabilities that better position it to produce such weapons, should it choose do so. We do not know, however, if Iran will eventually decide to build nuclear weapons…Iran is technically capable of producing enough highly enriched uranium for a weapon in the next few years, if it chooses to do so. …We judge Iran would likely choose missile delivery as its preferred method of delivering a nuclear weapon. Iran already has the largest inventory of ballistic missiles in the Middle East. It continues to expand the scale, research, and sophistication of its ballistic missile forces, many of which are inherently capable of carrying a nuclear payload…Iran’s growing inventory of ballistic missiles and its acquisition and indigenous production of anti-ship cruise missiles provide capabilities to enhance its power projection. Tehran views its conventionally armed missiles as an integral part of its strategy to deter – and if necessary

26

James R. Clapper, “Statement for the Record on the Worldwide Threat Assessment of the US Intelligence Community for the Senate Committee on Armed Services, March 10, 2011.

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retaliate against—forces in the region, including those of the US. Its ballistic missiles are inherently capable of delivering WMD, and if so armed, would fit into this same strategy.

Clapper’s testimony to the Congress on January 31, 2012 provided another update of the official US position and for the first time suggested that Iran might strike at targets in the US:27 We assess Iran is keeping open the option to develop nuclear weapons, in part by developing various nuclear capabilities that better position it to produce such weapons, should it choose to do so. We do not know, however, if Iran will eventually decide to build nuclear weapons. Iran nevertheless is expanding its uranium enrichment capabilities, which can be used for either civil or weapons purposes. As reported by the International Atomic Energy Agency, to date, Iran in late October 2011 had about 4,150 kg of 3.5 percent LEUF6 and about 80 kg of 20-percent enriched UF6 produced at Natanz. Iran confirmed on 9 January that it has started enriching uranium for the first time at its second enrichment plant, near Qom. Iran’s technical advancement, particularly in uranium enrichment, strengthens our assessment that Iran has the scientific, technical, and industrial capacity to eventually produce nuclear weapons, making the central issue its political will to do so. These advancements contribute to our judgment that Iran is technically capable of producing enough highly enriched uranium for a weapon, if it so chooses. We judge Iran would likely choose missile delivery as its preferred method of delivering a nuclear weapon. Iran already has the largest inventory of ballistic missiles in the Middle East, and it is expanding the scale, reach, and sophistication of its ballistic missile forces, many of which are inherently capable of carrying a nuclear payload. We judge Iran’s nuclear decision making is guided by a cost-benefit approach, which offers the international community opportunities to influence Tehran. Iranian leaders undoubtedly consider Iran’s security, prestige, and influence, as well as the international political and security environment, when making decisions about its nuclear program. Iran’s growing inventory of ballistic missiles and its acquisition and indigenous production of anti-ship cruise missiles (ASCM) provide capabilities to enhance its power projection. Tehran views its conventionally armed missiles as an integral part of its strategy to deter—and if necessary retaliate against—forces in the region, including US forces. Its ballistic missiles are inherently capable of delivering WMD, and, if so armed, would fit into this strategy. … The 2011 plot to assassinate the Saudi Ambassador to the United States shows that some Iranian officials—probably including Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei—have changed their calculus and are now more willing to conduct an attack in the United States in response to real or perceived US actions that threaten the regime. We are also concerned about Iranian plotting against US or allied interests overseas. Iran’s willingness to sponsor future attacks in the United States or against our interests abroad probably will be shaped by Tehran’s evaluation of the costs it bears for the plot against the Ambassador as well as Iranian leaders‟ perceptions of US threats against the regime.

Timing Iran’s Bomb As for official US statements on the current estimate of the timing of Iran’s programs, US officials no longer talk in terms of a two to three year delay before Iran could get some form of nuclear explosive device. US experts have highlighted Iran’s recent activity in enriching uranium to the 20% level, although they had previous stated that acknowledged that Iran’s known 27

James R. Clapper, Director of National Intelligence, “Unclassified Statement for the Record on the Worldwide Threat Assessment of the US Intelligence Community for the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence,” ODDNI, Washington, January 31, 2012

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enrichment programs had run into trouble in 2010, that its overt centrifuge program has had serious problems in the past, and Iran is still several years away from the point where it has enough weapons grade fissile material for a single device. (It is unclear what role, if any, Israeli and U.S. actions played in the reported cyber-attacks on Iran’s centrifuge program; and it seems likely that the U.S. did not play any role in attacks on Iranian nuclear scientists, although Israel may have played such a role.) US Secretary of Defense Panetta stated in January 2012 that US analysts believed that Iran could develop a nuclear weapon within about one year if Tehran decided to do so. Panetta was speaking on the CBS television program, “60 Minutes,” in broadcast on January 29, 2012. Panetta was careful, to note, however, that it would probably take Iran another two to three years to produce a missile or other vehicle that could deliver the weapon to a target.28 There are some levels of uncertainty that can only be fully resolved if Iran actually tests a nuclear weapon and begins to deploy nuclear-armed forces. Is There a Formal Iranian Nuclear Weapons Program? According to press sources, US intelligence still believes that Iran has not reconstituted the formal nuclear weapons program it seems to have disbanded in 2003. According to reporting in the Los Angeles Times,29 A highly classified U.S. intelligence assessment circulated to policymakers early last year largely affirms that view, originally made in 2007. Both reports, known as national intelligence estimates, conclude that Tehran halted efforts to develop and build a nuclear warhead in 2003. The most recent report, which represents the consensus of 16 U.S. intelligence agencies, indicates that Iran is pursuing research that could put it in a position to build a weapon, but that it has not sought to do so. Although Iran continues to enrich uranium at low levels, U.S. officials say they have not seen evidence that has caused them to significantly revise that judgment. Senior U.S. officials say Israel does not dispute the basic intelligence or analysis

There are US and Israeli experts who dispute these conclusions, but even if the US National Intelligence Estimates issued in 2007 and 2011 do agree that Iran does not have formal program as such, it is unclear what this means. Iran can – as the IAEA report cited earlier makes all too clear – pursue every major aspect of weapons design and production in parallel without having a formal centralized program. The actual design and testing of a weapon before it is tested in an actual nuclear explosion can be restricted to a very small group in a cell outside a formal program, and it would take almost total transparency as to Iran’s action and intentions to know whether such activity took place. Moreover, if Iran is seeking nuclear weapons, it makes little sense to provoke more sanctions or preventive strikes as long as it can continue to enrich more uranium to at least 20%, stockpile Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, “Panetta Says Iran Could Develop Nuclear Weapon Within A Year,” 30.01.2012 09:19, http://www.rferl.org/content/panetta_iran_nuclear_weapon_year_awire/24467286.html. 28

Ken Dilanian, “U.S. does not believe Iran is trying to build nuclear bomb: The latest U.S. intelligence report indicates Iran is pursuing research that could enable it to build a nuclear weapon, but that it has not sought to do so,” Los Angeles Times, February 23, 2012, 6:11 PM PST, 29

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more material it can quickly enrich to weapons grade, build and deploy more centrifuges, create more sheltered facilities like Fordow, and develop and deploy more longer range missiles. Accordingly, the debate over the ultimate nature of Iran’s nuclear program and intentions can really only be resolved in one of two ways: First, Iran fully complies with the NNPT and IAEA, or second it act builds its first weapon or conducts a test. The debate over the structure of its current program and possible intentions is not meaningless, but it also is not particularly meaningful as long as Iran steadily moves forward towards developing the capability to deploy nuclear weapons. Focusing On Proliferation Rather than the Force Most US, European, and Arab assessments focus on Iran’s progress in nuclear and missile programs rather than the force it may intend to build and its strategic goals in doing so. As yet, US officials have not issued any unclassified estimate of the possible size and character of Iranian nuclear-armed forces. So far, most of the analysis of Iran’s nuclear program concentrates on the risk of proliferation – Iran’s first bomb – rather than what Iran might do to arm and deploy a nuclear force it could use in warfighting. There are no meaningful unclassified data on the size and nature of Iran’s plans to deploy a nuclear-armed force, what role aircraft and various types of missile will play, how such a force will be based, and what kinds of command, control, computer, communications, and intelligence (C4I) systems Iran intends to deploy. As noted earlier, any effort to correct this situation is complicated by the fact that Iran is constantly testing variants of its existing missiles, claiming it is producing new types, and possible it satellite program as a vehicle for research and development into longer-range ballistic missile technology. At the same time, Iran may be shifting from liquid-fueled missiles to solidfuel types, and keeps changing warhead configurations. Nevertheless, most regional governments and experts do now feel Iran’s nuclear and missile programs are directed towards giving Iran a force of land-based nuclear-armed missiles. Where they differ is largely over how quickly Iran can move forward, over the extent Iran is committed to deploying nuclear forces, and how serious the resulting threat may become. There is also a difference between countries in perceived urgency regarding this issue. Israel already sees Iran as on the edge of having a nuclear force strong enough to pose an ”existential” threat to Israel. There are few indications that Americans, Europeans, Turks, and the Gulf states see the potential Iranian nuclear threat as “existential,” or assign anything approaching the same sense of urgency as Israel does. Americans, Europeans, and the Gulf states see Iranian efforts to acquire nuclear weapons more as a way Iran can increase its strategic leverage and influence, increase its ability to intimidate and exert political pressure, and deter any military action against Iran in the face of a confrontation or crisis. While there is no consensus among them, many are more likely than their Israeli counterparts to believe that Iran is containable and deterrable through a mix of steps like missile defenses and regional extended deterrence. The Chemical and Biological Dimension The Deputy Director of National Intelligence’s (DDNI) and other senior US intelligence officers have repeatedly called attention to Iran’s Chemical and Biological Weapons (CBW) efforts. Iran 98


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is a signatory to the Chemical Weapons Convention, a declared chemical weapons power, is known to have produced mustard and nerve gas in the past, and has had access to Russian chemical cluster munitions technology along with Syria. It is not clear, however, how large a force it still maintains and what level of delivery capability it possesses. Similarly, Iran has all of the technology needed to produce genetically engineered and other sophisticated biological weapons, but the status of its program – if any – is unknown. The subject gets little more than passing mention in Gulf and other Arab sources. According to the U.S. DDNI, however, Iran maintains the capability to produce chemical warfare agents, and probably has the capability to produce some biological warfare agents for offensive purposes.

The Impact of Iranian Nuclear Weapons on US and Iranian Competition Iran’s possible search for nuclear weapons is already having a major impact on US and Iranian competition and military capabilities in spite of the fact that Iran does not yet possess a nuclear weapon, has never conducted a nuclear test, and has never announced plans for developing given types and yields of weapons, deploying them on delivery systems, and using them to gain influence, deter, or warfighting. Similarly, Israel took the decision back at the time of the IranIraq War to extend its missile forces to cover targets in both countries, and has long had the capability to target Iran with nuclear weapons. The Iranian-Israeli nuclear arms race is already underway. Any assessment of the net effects of an Iranian nuclear weapon must be theoretical and somewhat problematic. Nevertheless, the maturity and likely weaponization of Iran’s nuclear program necessitate an evaluation of the potential net effects such a scenario would engender.

Iran’s Use of Nuclear Weapons Once It Possesses Them Much will depend on how Iran exploits its nuclear programs if it acquires and deploys such weapons. Iran has already reached the point where it is so close to a nuclear weapons break out capability that the US, its neighbors, and the world must take this into account. Every new step in technology, missile development, enrichment, and the dispersal and sheltering of Iran’s capabilities reinforces this leverage even if Iran never formally revives a nuclear weapons program. The question now is whether Iran will persist to the point where it is undeniably a threshold state, go on to test a device, or actually deploy. The Threshold State and “Wars of Intimidation” Iran is already its nuclear and missile programs to conduct what might be called “wars of intimidation,” and it can exploit each further step in acquiring the capability to deploy nuclear weapons. Releasing enough data to shows that Iran has actually reached even weapons grade material to build a device or weapons would be another major step – both increasing Iran’s leverage and the risk of a US/Gulf or Israeli military response. An actual Iranian test would remove all ambiguity about Iran’s intentions and capability. Activity indicating Iran was about to deploy nuclear warheads and bombs would be another major signal. The actual deployment of a nuclear-armed missile force, and tacit or overt threats to use a weapons, would be the penultimate steps before use. 99


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Each such step will give Iran more potential leverage, but will do more to provoke a response in kind from the US and Iran’s neighbors, and accelerate the ongoing nuclear arms race with Israel. Each step will produce new US, Arab, European and Turkish diplomatic reactions and probably sanctions – as well as new reactions from other states. Each step will increase tension throughout the region, the risks of unplanned escalation, and the risk of US or Israeli preventive attacks. The Transition Stage: Launch on Warning? Launch Under Attack? It should be stressed that Iran can shape the pace with which it acts, and rush forwards, back off for a period of years, limit its activity to dispersed efforts that more it forward without being a nuclear weapons program per se, or carry out a slow and systematic program while using its past tactics of denial and negotiation. No one can calculate the level of Iranian risk-taking if Iran does take each of the major steps left in acquiring and deploying nuclear-armed forces and go on to create a nuclear-armed force – although the past actions of Iran’s leaders have been far more cautious than their most extreme rhetoric. Iran’s leaders have to realize that it is one thing to threaten and intimidate and seek political leverage, and quite another to move towards an exchange that could involve the vastly superior nuclear forces of the US, push neighbors into creating their own nuclear retaliatory forces, or lead to nuclear strikes on Iran by Israel. If Iran does create nuclear forces, they will only benefit Iran if they are never actually used. It is possible, however, that Iran’s actions might push it to be most risk prone during the time between the point where it actually has at least few nuclear weapons and the time it creates a force that cannot be preempted and is large enough to deter conventional or nuclear attack because it could survive and retaliate. Given the fact that Iran’s strike aircraft and bombers have aged considerably – and are nearly obsolescent in comparison with their US, Israeli, and Gulf equivalents – Iran would probably select another means for delivering a nuclear weapon, including nuclear-tipped ballistic or cruise missiles. Such assets would, however, be detectable and partly targetable by US radar and satellite systems, and could provoke a retaliatory strike. Long before Iran had anything approaching a survivable second strike capability, it could seek to deter by creating a force designed to be used through launch on warning (LOW) or launch under attack (LUA) after Iran received the first strike. This is a high-risk posture compared to waiting out the risk or reality of an enemy first strike, characterizing the result, and acting cautiously and in proportion to a known event. It also, however, is a posture one that almost all emerging nuclear powers have had to consider or take at some point in deploying a nuclear force since the first US use of nuclear weapons in World War II. It is also possible that Iran would consider delivering a nuclear weapon covertly if it felt it faced an almost inevitable attack from the outside, using any one of its regional proxies or its Al Qods Force. Using a covert means of nuclear delivery, Iran would possess a degree of deniability, and minimize the chances of US nuclear retaliation. In one worst-case scenario, might smuggle in a nuclear device or detonate it in the water off of a city like Haifa or Tel Aviv, or a key city or petroleum export facility in the Southern Gulf. The public focus on nuclear weapons ignores the fact that Iran has previously been a declared 100


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chemical weapons state, and Israel has been caught importing the precursors for chemical weapons. Both Iran and Israel are suspected to have advanced biological weapons programs, and both present a possible risk that they could use conventionally armed precision-guided weapons to attack key power, water, refinery, and other critical targets – turning such weapons into “weapons of mass effectiveness.” Decision makers, military planners, and intelligence experts cannot ignore these possibilities and options. In fact, the same senior U.S. intelligence officers who were quoted earlier in regard to the risk in Iran’s nuclear programs have repeatedly warned in public that Iran has chemical and suspected biological weapon programs. There are however, no Israeli or U.S. official statements that go beyond this level of detail to provide a meaningful picture of how either country really perceives such threats, Iranian Efforts to Use a Survivable or “Mature” Nuclear Force If Iran does successfully go on to create dispersed or protected force large enough to pose a major threat even in a retaliatory strike or “ride out” mode, such a “mature” force would almost certainly take long enough to create so that it would have provoked the US, Iran’s Arab neighbors, and Israel to target Iran to the point where it would lose every major population center in a major exchange. This point is often lost in focusing solely on Iran’s options rather than a nuclear arms race that has already begun. It is not a point that either Israel or US planners have lost, and US and Iranian competition would be competition in nuclear forces just as Israel already targets Iran. Iran could, however, seek to exploit its leverage and the extent to which the US and its neighbors would make concession to reduce nuclear tension – a game of “nuclear chicken” that could range from prudent cautious Iranian demands to levels of tension that could lead to critical miscalculations by the nations involved. The Cold War consisted largely of a cautious version of the game, with the exception of the Cuban missile crisis. North Korea has been a cautious player. So have India and Pakistan with the exception of at least one point where Pakistan considered deploying active weapons. There are no guarantees, however, that cautious intentions succeed. The Napoleonic Wars, the Crimean War, WW I, and WW II all illustrate the extent to which caution can fail and sometimes do so suddenly and in totally unpredictable ways. Iran can also seek to leverage any nuclear forces against the conventional superiority of the US and its southern Gulf neighbors. In addition to US forces and installations in the Gulf, Iran could seek to use the risk of nuclear escalation to gain freedom from conventional attack if Iranian asymmetric forces threaten or attack the Southern Gulf states, move into Iraq, support a proxy war by force like the Hezbollah against Israel, or attack Gulf shipping and oil export capabilities. A mature Iranian nuclear force might even attempt to use a limited or demonstrative strike to reinforce the threat while being so limited in nature so as not to garner massive nuclear retaliation. The problem for Iran is that every potential mix of opponents could counter escalate in proportion – but again history scarcely consists of actions based on the wise use of game theory. Regardless of its means of delivery, the mere existence of an Iranian nuclear arsenal would also provide Iran with some ability to deter and neutralize the US conventional superiority in the region to a degree. Iran would consequently be enabled to pursue a more aggressive foreign 101


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policy than it would otherwise, and use its nuclear capability to leverage other regional actors and competitors.

US Responses to Iran’s Nuclear and Missile Efforts The US response to Iran’s existing and potential actions has scarcely been passive. As is described in the next chapter, the US continues to use sanctions and diplomacy as its primary current means of limiting Iran’s nuclear efforts, and other diplomatic and negotiating initiatives. US officials have consistently stated that military options are still under consideration, but the US has joined its 5+1 allies at the negotiating table with Iran and did so again in January 2011. The need to keep many key aspects of US threat perceptions classified means that there is no clear way to determine how top level US decision makers view the broader trade-offs between negotiation, preventive and preemptive military options, and deterrence/containment. The US has taken enough overt actions, however, so that it is clear that the US is treating Iran’s missile and nuclear programs as a key aspect of US and Iranian military competition, and one where current US perceptions will almost certainly change if Iran clearly moves to the point of a nuclear break out capability, tests a device, and begins to deploy some mix of nuclear armed forces.

Missile Defense The US has already made it clear that it will rely on a combination missile defense and deterrence even if Iran does deploy nuclear-armed aircraft and missiles. As noted earlier, the U.S. has continued to work with its allies to create missile defense forces in the Gulf, has supported Israel’s missile defense programs, has laid the ground for missile defense in Europe, and has begun to deploy advanced missile defense destroyers. The new US strategy announced in January 2012 calls for four advanced guided missile defense destroyers – with wide area ballistic missile defense coverage -- to be based in Rota Spain that can be used to defend Europe and Israel. Other key missile defense assets in the region include US Navy Aegis anti-ballistic missile cruisers stationed in the Gulf, and advanced versions of the MIM-104 Patriot surface-to-air missile system that Bahrain, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia have acquired the from the US. Lastly, in September, 2011 the US and Turkey reached an agreement whereby a missile defense radar site will be constructed only 435 miles from the Turkey-Iran border.30 While Iran’s missiles have not been stated as the exclusive target of the system, it will greatly enable the US’ ability to detect and intercept an Iranian missile launch. This radar station is an element of the US’ larger European Phased Adaptive Approach to missile defense, which is comprised of four phases:31

30

Shanker, Thom. “U.S. Hails Deal With Turkey on Missile Shield.” New York Times. September 15, 2011, http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/16/world/europe/turkey-accepts-missile-radar-for-nato-defense-against-iran.html 31

“U.S.-Romania Missile Defense Comes Into Force.” VOA. January 3, http://www.voanews.com/policy/editorials/europe/US---Romania-Missile-Defense-Comes-Into-Force136698993.html

2012.

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Phase one: the construction of the aforementioned radar system in Turkey as well as the stationing of three Aegis anti-ballistic missile cruisers in the eastern Mediterranean.

Phase two: the deployment of a ballistic missile defense interceptor site at Deveselu Air Base in Romania scheduled for 2015.

Phase three: the installation of a land-based interceptor site in Poland and the deployment of a more advanced Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) interceptor scheduled for 2018.

Phase four: the deployment of more advanced SM-3 interceptors in 2020 to enhance the ability to counter MRBMs and potential future ICBMs missile threats to the US from the Middle East through the deployment of more advanced SM-3 interceptors.

As Figure IV.62 shows, the US has continued to push for missile defense forces in the Gulf, to support Israel’s missile defense programs, and lay the ground for missile defense in Europe.

“Extended Deterrence” The US has also made it clear that deterrence and containment of Iran will not be defensive. The U.S. has also responded to the Iranian threat with offers to its allies of “extended regional deterrence,” although it has left the character of such a capability ambiguous and indicated such a deterrent might use conventional weapons, rather than the theater nuclear forces the U.S. once used to provide extended deterrence for its NATO European allies. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton put the U.S. view forward as follows in June 2009, “We want Iran to calculate what I think is a fair assessment that if the United States extends a defense umbrella over the region, if we do even more to support the military capacity of those in the Gulf, it's unlikely that Iran will be any stronger or safer because they won't be able to intimidate and dominate as they apparently believe they can once they have a nuclear weapon.”32 The U.S. went further in its April 2010 Nuclear Posture Review.33 The review discussed arms control options, and efforts to eventually end U.S. reliance on nuclear weapons, but also stated that, Security architectures in key regions will retain a nuclear dimension as long as nuclear threats to U.S. allies and partners remain. U.S. nuclear weapons have played an essential role in extending deterrence to U.S. allies and partners against nuclear attacks or nuclear-backed coercion by states in their region that possess or are seeking nuclear weapons. A credible U.S. “nuclear umbrella” has been provided by a combination of means – the strategic forces of the U.S. Triad, non-strategic nuclear weapons deployed forward in key regions, and U.S.-based nuclear weapons that could be deployed forward quickly to meet regional contingencies. In Asia and the Middle East – where there are no multilateral alliance structures analogous to NATO – the United States has mainly extended deterrence through bilateral alliances and security relationships and through its forward military presence and security guarantees. When the Cold War ended, the United States withdrew its forward-deployed nuclear weapons from the Pacific region, including removing nuclear weapons from naval surface vessels and general-purpose submarines. Since then, it has relied on its central

Mike Schuster, “Iran Prompts Debate Over Mideast Defense Umbrella,” NPR, August 26, 2009. Available at http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=112222260 32

“Nuclear Posture Review Report,” Department of Defense, April 2010. Available http://www.defense.gov/npr/docs/2010%20Nuclear%20Posture%20Review%20Report.pdf 33

at

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strategic forces and the capacity to re-deploy non-strategic nuclear systems in East Asia, if needed, in times of crisis. The Administration is pursuing strategic dialogues with its allies and partners in East Asia and the Middle East to determine how best to cooperatively strengthen regional security architectures to enhance peace and security, and reassure them that U.S. extended deterrence is credible and effective.

US Preventive Strike Options The need to keep many key aspects of US plans and intelligence classified means that there is no clear way to determine exactly how top level US decision makers view the trade-offs between negotiation, preventive and preemptive military options, and deterrence/containment. Moreover, current US perceptions will almost certainly change with each state of Iran’s progress if Iran clearly moves to the point of a nuclear break out capability, then tests a device, an then begins to deploy some mix of nuclear armed forces. Given the timing of Iran’s actions, a different set of key actors are almost certain to be in office before Iran has significant nuclear capabilities, and possibly a different Administration. Iran may define its goals in ways that raise or lower US perceptions of threat, and the 5+1, Gulf, and other regional states may change their perceptions as well. The Diplomacy and Politics of Preventive Strikes The same problems occur in trying to guess at US plans and perceptions of preventive and preemptive strike options. It is clear that the US has strike assets that are far larger and more capable than those of Israel. At the same time, there is no practical way to determine how U.S. senior policymakers and military leaders perceive U.S. abilities to identify, target and destroy Iran’s current nuclear and other strike capabilities, or assess the degree to which this would provide security over time vs. provoking Iran into some massive new effort to acquire nuclear weapons. It is clear that the U.S. has conducted serious military contingency plans for years, has exercised and tested some elements of such trikes, and has improved its intelligence and targeting coverage. It is also clear from media sources that the US has focused on developing better ordnance to kill underground and hard targets, has developed regional missile defense options, is seeking to improve regional air defenses, and retains stealth and cruise missiles – options where Israel has far more limited capabilities – as important potential assets. What is not clear is exactly how the U.S. would approach such strikes, and how much acceptance or support it feels it needs, or can count on, from the Gulf and other neighboring states. The US does have major potential advantages over Israel. It may be possible to get the overt or covert support of Gulf States. It may be able to launch and base from bases in the Gulf area and carriers. It has sufficient forces to strike with near simultaneous strikes at key Iranian nuclear, missile, air defense, and leadership targets. Depending on its access to forward bases in or near the Gulf, the US can carry out a limited to massive wave of initial air and cruise missile strikes against Iran’s nuclear facilities or a much wider range of Iranian targets and then take the time to assess battle damage, and carry out restrikes over a period of days, weeks, months, or years. Much depends on whether the US would be able to get regional support for a US presence and overwatch that would allow it to continue to strike Iran – if Iran attempted to reconstitute its 104


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nuclear and missile programs. This would give the US an indefinite ability to restrike, suppress Iran, and attack other types of Iranian targets if a covert Iranian program was suspected and Iran did reveal its actions. This would give the US a very different kind of credibility in preventive operations from Israel. Israel may only be able to carry out one major wave of strikes – which would be far more limited than those the U.S. can conduct – before Israel faced political constraints it cannot ignore, and Israel must consider threats in terms of non-state actors with ties to Iran. It is important to note, however, that US success would depend heavily on partnership with key southern Gulf and other Arab states and the extent to which they felt Iran’s nuclear and missile programs threatened their vital interests. The US confronts the problem that a limited Israeli strike might create conditions where the only the US could effectively finish the job, but where Arab states would either not feel threatened enough to support such a strike or would not support any follow on action to Israel. Any current judgment about Gulf perceptions has to be speculative. Neither the public statements of Gulf leaders, nor the kind of material available from sources like WikiLeaks, provide a clear indication of the links between U.S. and Gulf perceptions of the Iranian threat at the official level, or their willingness to act. Moreover, current Gulf perceptions are certain to change over time just as Israeli and U.S. perceptions will evolve as the Iranian threat alters and becomes more tangible. It is far from clear that today’s threat perceptions provide a clear picture for the future. Moreover, the U.S. must deal with the legacy of its invasion of Iraq after totally mischaracterizing the Iraqi WMD threat, and would have to deal with the negative political consequences of the military aftermath of any US preventive strike. Unless its Arab, major West European, and other allies saw that it had exhausted diplomatic options, it could face serious problems with its closest friends. The US must also seek to minimize the cost it will have to pay in terms of reactions from states that do not support its policies on sanctions -- which include major powers like Russia and China, and important regional allies like Turkey. The US must consider the impact strikes will have on the US role in Iraq, Afghanistan, and the war on terror. The US must also balance the need for restraint in attacking Iran against whether limit US action would provoke Iran into a massive new covert effort; and how Iran might react in using its other forces to attack energy exports in the Gulf, Israel, and other US interests in the region. It is also important to point out that whatever US contingency plans and military capabilities exist today will change steadily over time. Given the timing of Iran’s actions, these are also areas where a different set of key actors in the US, Iran, and the Gulf may be in office by the time Iran has significant nuclear capabilities. Iran may also define its goals in ways that raise or lower US perceptions of threat, and the 5+1, Gulf, and other regional states may change their perceptions as well. US Strike Options Against Iran US senior officials and officers have regularly made it clear that the US has developed serious military contingency plans to carry out preventive strikes on Iran, and has improved its intelligence and targeting coverage. It is also clear from media sources that the US is steadily developing better ordnance to kill underground and hard targets, has developed regional missile 105


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defense options, is seeking to improve regional air defenses, and retains stealth and cruise missiles. There is no practical way to use unclassified sources to determine how US senior policymakers and military leaders perceive US ability to identify target, and destroy Iran’s current nuclear and other strike capabilities, or assess the degree to which this would provide security over time vs. provoking Iran into some massive new effort to acquire nuclear weapons. What is clear that the US has strike assets that are far larger and more capable than those of Israel, and that no Southern Gulf state has the capability to conduct such an attack. A power as large as the US can strike at possible targets as well as confirmed targets. In fact, the problem for Iran in conducting the equivalent of nuclear a shell game is that Iran then provokes strikes at all the possible shells. US officials have never described US options for preventive and preemptive strikes, but the US can draw upon a number of assets that Iran would find difficult to counter and which are listed in Figure IV.63. The US also could strike at a wide range of critical Iranian military facilities of the kind shown in Figure IV.64, including its missile production facilities. Most are soft targets, and would be extremely costly to Iran. Even if many of Iran's nuclear facilities did survive US strikes, Iran would be faced with either complying with the EU3 and UN terms or taking much broader military losses – losses its aging and limited forces can ill afford. It is important to note, however, that Iran’s total target base could include a far wider range of targets than the major facilities that are listed on most maps. Iran has a very wide range of facilities that could be used for nuclear, missile, biological, and chemical weapons programs as well as deployed and sometimes mobile missile forces. There is no way to know how broadly distributed these facilities are, but the NTI has put together lists of possible research facilities that at least illustrate how broad the target base could be, and how deep US (or Israeli) strikes would have to go into Iran. These facilities are shown in Figure IV.65. Many are primarily civil facilities in populated areas, and many are almost certainly innocent of any military purpose. It would take exceptional intelligence to know what target points to hit and still minimize civilian casualties and collateral damage. Moreover, long as the list in Figure IV. 65 is, it does not include any covert military facilities, deployed forces, and most of Iran’s chemical weapons facilities and holdings. Presumably, US and Israeli intelligence have very different lists that narrow the suspect civilian facilities and add covert and military ones. Any comparison of Figure IV.64 and Figure IV.65 show, however, just how difficult a total effort to suppress Iran’s programs would be, and how much more complex the targeting and strike planning activities would be than a simple focus on the major facilities that have gotten so much attention in the press because Iran has declared them to the IAEA under the terms of the NNPT. Military operations against Iran's nuclear, missile, and other WMD facilities and forces would be challenging for the US, but Iran would find it difficult to defend against US forces. It would face a complex and unpredictable mix of attacks from cruise missiles, stealth aircraft, and stand-off precision weapons. It would also face a US opponent and equipped with a mix of vastly superior air combat assets and the IS&R assets necessary to strike and restrike Iranian targets in near real time. 106


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For example, the US could use a range of regular and special purpose cruise missiles, including submarines and surfaced ship launched Tomahawk BGM-109s. While these only have 1,000lb warheads, and cannot be used to hit deep hardened targets, they can deliver extremely precise strikes even in relatively crowded urban areas and potentially destroy Iran’s nuclear, missile, and other critical military production and research centers even within it cities with limited collateral damage. Iran’s only credible defense system would be the Tor-M, and it is available only in limited n umbers and has never been tested in combat. It also offers the US the ability to carry out a massive suppressive strike against suspect as well as known facilities with limited collateral damage and innocent civilian casualties. The US could use a mix of regular strike aircraft, anti-radiation missiles, electronic warfare aircraft, cruise missiles, UAVs/UCAVs, and other systems to systematically suppress Iran’s aging land-based surface-to-air missiles and destroy any fighter it sent into air-to-air combat. Once it did so, it could attack virtually all Iranian land targets with stand-off precision guided munitions that would keep its fighters from being vulnerable to Iran’s surviving short-range air defenses. These strikes could hit a full range of targets included critical missile and other military production sites and facilities, crippling Iran’s overall military capabilities in the process of destroying its nuclear facilities. Knocking out key corridors in Iran’s land-based air defenses would also allow the US to restrike at will and confront Iran with a lack of options to reconstitute its capabilities. This would not be a minor air war. One analyst has privately estimated that that strikes against some 400 targets would be necessary to totally dismantle Iran’s nuclear, missile, and related critical facilities. According to other reports, the US Department of Defense is considering both conventional strikes at Iran’s other WMD facilities, missiles and missile production facilities, and create an entry corridor by destroying part of Iran’s air defense system. This could easily require 800-1,200 sorties and cruise missile strikes. The US would almost certainly use stealth in such a large strike as well use non-stealth aircraft, although it is just as possible that it might conduct a more limited mix of strikes only using cruise missiles and stealth aircraft Each US B-2A Spirit stealth bomber can carry eight 4,500-pound enhanced BLU-28 satellite-guided bunker-busting bombs – potentially enough to take out one hardened Iranian site per sortie. Such bombers could operate flying from Al Udeid air base in Qatar, Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean, RAF Fairford in Gloucestershire, United Kingdom, and Whiteman US Air Force (USAF) Base in Missouri. At the same time, the B-2 could be used to deliver large numbers of precision-guided 250 and 500-pound bombs, or two MOPs against dispersed surface targets. Likewise, tit could carry a mix of light and heavy precision-guided weapons. Submarines and surface ships could deliver cruise missiles for such strikes, and conventional strike aircraft and bombers could deliver standoff weapons against most suspect Iranian facilities without suffering a high risk of serious attrition. The challenge would be to properly determine what targets and aim points were actually valuable, not to inflict high levels of damage. At present, a large-scale US attack might include B-2A bombers carrying 2 GBU-57 MOP bombs, escorted by F-18s from the 5th fleet stationed in the Gulf area, or F-15E’s, F-16C’s, or F22’s from forward operating bases.

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In July 2009, verification of equipment required to integrate the MOP on the B-2 was complete - the hardware that holds the MOP inside the weapons bay.

The MOP is a GPS-guided weapon containing more than 5,300 pounds of conventional explosives inside a 20.5 ft long bomb body of hardened steel. It is designed to penetrate dirt, rock and reinforced concrete to reach enemy bunker or tunnel installations. The B-2 will be capable of carrying two MOPs, one in each weapons bay.

The B-2 currently carries up to 40,000 pounds of conventional ordnance. For example, it can deliver 80 independently targeted 500-lb class bombs from its smart bomb rack assembly; or up to 16 2,000-lb class weapons from its rotary launcher.

Integration of the MOP on the B-2 is the latest in a series of modernization programs that Northrop Grumman and its subcontractors have undertaken with the Air Force to ensure that the aircraft remains fully capable against evolving threats.

While the success rate of any attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities would depend on its duration and the number of strikes carried out, a high success rate would be possible if the attack were sustained for a couple of days. The US could cripple Iran's economy at the same time by striking at major domestic gas production and distribution facilities, refineries, and electric power generations. There are no rules that would preclude the US from immediate restrikes or restrikes over time. If the US chose to strike at the necessary level of intensity, it could use conventional weapons to cripple Iran's ability to function as a nation in a matter of days with attacks limited to several hundred aim points. US capabilities to use stealth in a general, large-scale strike or a more limited stealth and cruise missile-only strike will also be able to use a steadily expanding number of other stealth systems. US stealth UCAVs are known to exist, but their capabilities are classified. While the F-22 is generally treated as an air defense aircraft, it too is a sophisticated stealth strike aircraft with internal weapons bays that preserve stealth while allowing the F-22 to fly demanding high-speed, low altitude missions carrying a payload of precision guided weapons in two internal bomb racks that can each hold a 1,000lb JDAM bomb or four to eight small diameter bombs. It has very sophisticated attack avionics that are being upgraded. As the F-35 deploys, the US will also acquire a land-based, carrier-based, and VSTOL stealth attack aircraft that can carry two 2,000 pound precision guided munitions or eight small diameter bombs.34 Killing Hardened and Deeply Buried targets The greatest physical challengers in a U.S. campaign would be the risk that important unknown facilities and other targets would survive, and being able to fully destroyed deeply buried hardened targets like Iran’s centrifuge facility at Natanz and its deeply buried new mountain centrifuge site at Fordow – just north of Qom. It should be noted, however, that these challenges largely occur only if the US is limited to one set of strikes. Missing some sites would be unimportant if the US could go back and restrike sites that had not been detected or destroyed the first time, or keep destroying the entrances to deeply sheltered strikes. If anything, the constant risk and or reality of such restrikes would then become a way of showing Iran it had no alternative other than to negotiate. 34

http://www.afa.org/professionaldevelopment/issuebriefs/F-22_v_F-35_Comparison.pdf

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The US also has a wide range of hard target killers, many of which are in development or classified – although none could necessarily destroy an underground site as large and as well compartmented as Natanz or a deep mountain site like. Systems that are known to be deployed include the BLU-109 Have Void “bunker busters,” a “dumb bomb” with a maximum penetration capability of four to six feet of reinforced concrete. An aircraft must overfly the target and launch the weapon with great precision to achieve serious penetration capability. It can be fitted with precision guidance and converted to a guided glide bomb. The Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) GBU-31 version has a nominal range of 15 kilometers with a CEP of 13 meters in the GPS-aided Inertial Navigation System (INS) modes of operation and 30 meters in the INS-only modes of operation. More advanced systems that have been discussed in the unclassified literature include the BLU116 Advanced Unitary Penetrator (AUP), the GBU-24 C/B (USAF), or the GBU-24 D/B (US Navy), which has about three times the penetration capability of the BLU-109. The US is investing in other weapons that are supposed to destroy targets that are buried under more than 20 meters of dirt and concrete. It is not clear whether the United States has fully deployed the AGM-130C with an advanced earth penetrating/hard target kill system. The AGM-130 Surface Attack Guided Munition was developed to be integrated into the F-15E, so it could carry two such missiles, one on each inboard store station. It is a retargetable, precision-guided standoff weapon using inertial navigation aided by GPS satellites and has a 15-40-NM range. The US does, however, have a number of other new systems that are known to be in the developmental stage and can probably deploy systems capable of roughly twice the depth of penetration with twice the effectiveness of the systems known from its attacks on Iraq in 1991. The nature and characteristics of such systems are classified. The newest, most advanced weapons in US service are the 5,000-pound BLU-122 and the 30,000-pound Massive Ordnance Penetrator (MOP). The MOP weighs almost 30,000 pounds and able to carry 5,300 pounds of explosives. According to some estimates optimum penetrating distance for the MOP is up to 200 feet. Possible alternatives to these weapons are directed-energy and high-power microwave (HPM) weapons, none of which are currently beyond testing phase. Again, it must be stressed that it is not clear whether such weapons could destroy all of Iran's most hardened underground sites, although it seems likely that they could do serious damage at a minimum. Much depends on the accuracy of reports that Iran has undertaken a massive tunneling project with some 10,000 square meters of underground halls and tunnels branching off for hundreds of meters from each hall. Iran is reported to be drawing on North Korean expertise and to have created a separate corporation (Shahid Rajaei Company) for such tunneling and hardening efforts under the IRGC, with extensive activity already under way in Natanz and Isfahan, and possibly within the 3,000 centrifuge site inside the mountain complex at Fordow. The facilities are said to make extensive use of blast-proof doors, extensive divider walls, hardened ceilings, 20-centimeter-thick concrete walls, and double concrete ceilings with earth filled between layers to defeat earth penetrates. Such passive defenses could have a major impact, but reports of such activity are often premature, exaggerated, or report far higher construction standards than are actually executed. 109


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Regardless of the resources and the R&D the US is investing in creating an effective asset for destroying hardened underground objectives, Iran’s nuclear sites remain challenging, and sites like Fordow are tough targets for any kind of strike. Despite the size and power of the MOP, reports surfaced in January of 2012 that it would not be capable of destroying some of Iran’s nuclear facilities because of their depth and new fortifications.35 According to the government officials who briefed the Wall Street Journal, the Pentagon is seeking to invest $82 million to make the bomb more effective against hardened, deeply-buried structures such as Iran’s nuclear sites.36 In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, however, US Secretary of Defense acknowledged that the MOP could still do significant damage to Iran’s sites in its current configuration, but not destroy them outright.37 Given the depth of the Fordow facility and its location inside of a mountain, one unnamed senior defense official even stated that conventional weaponry would not be effective against in destroying the site, and that only a tactical nuclear weapon may be the only military option to destroy it.38 As such, the likelihood that Iran’s nuclear facilities would be completely destroyed in a conventional attack seems uncertain. US and allied decision makers, military planners, and intelligence experts cannot ignore these possibilities and options is deciding how to compete with Iran. Senior US intelligence officers have repeatedly warned in public that Iran has chemical and suspected biological weapon programs. Accordingly, options like missile defense, preemptive strikes, and extended regional deterrence must look beyond competition on a nuclear level.

The Aftermath of A US Preventive Attack If the US ever did exercise a preventive attack option, it would face far less serious threats of Iranian retaliation than Israel in the form of non-state actors with ties to Iran like Hezbollah. The US could also take the time to assess battle damage, and carry out restrikes – while Israel might only be able to carry out one major strike before it faced political constraints it cannot ignore. The US might also be able to get regional support for a US presence and overwatch that would continue to strike Iran – if Iran attempts to reconstitute its nuclear and missile programs. At the same time, the US would have to deal with the negative political consequences of the military aftermath of any strike, and the cost it will have to pay in terms of reactions from and other states. Moreover, it must consider the impact strikes will have on the US conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan, and the war on terror; whether US actions will provoke Iran into a massive new covert effort; and how Iran might react in attacking energy exports in the Gulf, Israel, and other US interests in the region. 35

Entous, Adam and Barnes, Julian E. “Pentagon Seeks Mightier Bomb vs. Iran.” The Wallstreet Journal. January 28, 2012. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203363504577187420287098692.html 36

Entous, Adam and Barnes, Julian E. “Pentagon Seeks Mightier Bomb vs. Iran.” The Wallstreet Journal. January 28, 2012. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203363504577187420287098692.html 37

Entous, Adam and Barnes, Julian E. “Pentagon Seeks Mightier Bomb vs. Iran.” The Wallstreet Journal. January 28, 2012. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203363504577187420287098692.html 38

Entous, Adam and Barnes, Julian E. “Pentagon Seeks Mightier Bomb vs. Iran.” The Wallstreet Journal. January 28, 2012. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203363504577187420287098692.html

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As is analyzed in Chapter III, Iran would also still have a wide range of surviving asymmetric warfare capabilities that it could use to strike at its neighbors or US targets. It could conduct some kind of spasmodic effort to close the Gulf – either having already lost many key conventional assets or being willing to accept further losses. It could conduct a long war of attrition using its asymmetric assets against non-US and/or US targets over time at levels that did not justify a major US retaliatory attack but kept up constant visible pressure. Iran has a wide range of other options. It could use its long-range missiles and rockets to make politically symbolic or “terror” attacks on targets in the Gulf. It could seek to work with Syria, Hama, and Hezbollah to attack Israel – attacking the US indirectly in the process. It could seek to attack a US ship or embassy outside the region, or to conduct another attack like the strike on the Marine Corps barracks in Lebanon or the USAF barracks at Al Khobar. It could try to sabotage a major oil exporting facility in Saudi Arabia or the rest of the Gulf to strike at the US economy, It could try the use the UN and World Court to charge aggression and discredit the US. And/or, it could use the opportunity to try to gain more direct influence or control in Iraq by force. Once again, much would depend on the extent to which the leaders of friendly Gulf states were actually willing to back the US in such a post-preventive strike campaign, but any judgment about Gulf perceptions has to be speculative. Neither the public statements of Gulf leaders, nor the kind of material available from sources like WikiLeaks, provides a clear indication of the links between US and Gulf perceptions of the Iranian threat at the official level, or their willingness to act. Moreover, current Gulf perceptions are certain to change over time just as Israeli and US perceptions will evolve as the Iranian threat alters and becomes more tangible, and perceptions in peacetime will be very different from perceptions once a conflict has begun – particularly if a US preventive strike is followed by some form of Iranian-initiative asymmetric attack or war in the Gulf . It is far from clear that today’s threat perceptions provide a clear picture for the future, and – as is outline in depth in Chapter III – there are no rules or clear probabilities affecting Iran’s choices or those of neighboring states. Iran can escalate in many different ways over very different periods of time, and do so even if the US is prepared to maintain a major air and sea overwatch and restrike capability and has the support of Arab Gulf states and other neighboring states in doing so.

Figure IV.62: Gulf Integrated Missile Defenses

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Figure IV.63: Key Assets for a US Strike on Iran 

B-2A Spirit Bomber

Primary Function

Multi role heavy bomber

Engines:

Four GE F-118-GE-100 engines, each with a thrust of 17,300 pounds (7,847kg)

Speed, Cruise:

High Subsonic

Ceiling:

50,000 ft (15,000 meters)

Weight Takeoff, (typical):

335,500 – 350,000 pounds (152,600 – 159,000kg)

Weight, Empty (typical):

125,000 – 160,000 pounds

Range:

6,000 nmi (9,600 km), unrefueled range for a Hi-Lo mission with nuclear free-fall bombs. 10,000 nmi with one aerial refueling.

Payload:

40,000 pounds (18,000kg)

Crew:

2 pilots

Current Armament:

Nuclear: 16 B61, 16 B83 Conventional: 80 MK82 (500lb), 16 MK84 (2000lb), 34-36 CBU-87, 34-36 CBU-89, 34-36 CBU-97 Precision: 216 GBU-39 SDB (250lb), 80 GBU-30 JDAM (500lb), 16 GBU-32 JDAM (2000lb), GBU27, GBU-28, GBU-36, GBU-37, AGM-154 HSOW, 8-16 AGM-137 TSSAM, 2 MOP/DSHTW/Big BLU

GBU-57 Massive Ordnance Penetrator (MOP)

GBU-57A/B (MOP)

Massive

Ordnance

Penetrator

Specifications

Weight, total:

13,600kg (slightly less than 30,000 pounds)

Weight, explosive:

2,700kg (6,000lb)

Length:

6m/20.5 feet

Diameter:

31.5 in

Penetration:

60 meters (200ft) through 5,000 psi reinforced concrete. 40 meters (125ft) through moderately hard rock. 8 meters (25ft) through 10,000 psi reinforced

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concrete. Control:

Short-span wings and trellis-type tail

Contractors:

Boeing, Northrop Grumman

Platforms:

B-52, B2

Guidance

GPS aided Inertial Navigation System

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Figure IV.64: Potential US Strike on Iran’s Key Known Nuclear Facilities

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Figure IV.65: NTI List of Suspect Nuclear, Missile, and Biological Facilities NUCLEAR Nuclear-Conversion   

Jabr Ibn Hayan Mulitpurpose Laboratories (JHL) Rudan Conversion Facility Uranium Conversion Facility (UCF)

Nuclear-Education and Training      

Amir Kabir University of Technology Imam Hussein University (IHU) Institute for Studies in Theoretical Physics and Mathematics (IPM) Malek Ashtar University (MAU) Sharif University of Technology (SUT) University of Tehran (UT)

Nuclear-Enrichment            

7th of Tir Industries Defense Industries Organization (DIO) Farayand Technique Fordow Fuel Enrichment Plant Fuel Enrichment Plant (FEP) Kalaye Electric Company Kaveh Cutting Tools Company/Abzar Boresh Kaveh Co Lashkar Ab'ad Natanz Enrichment Complex Pars Trash Pilot Fuel Enrichment Plant (PFEP) Tehran Nuclear Research Center (TNRC)

Nuclear-Fuel Fabrication   

Fuel Fabrication Laboratory (FFL) Fuel Manufacturing Plant (FMP) Zirconium Production Plant (ZPP)

Nuclear-Heavy Water Production 

Heavy Water Production Plant (HWPP)

Nuclear-Mining and Milling   

Ardakan Yellowcake Production Plant Bandar Abbas Uranium Production Plant (BUP) Saghand

Nuclear-Power Reactors  

Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP) Darkhovin Nuclear Power Plant

Nuclear-Regulatory 

Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI)

Nuclear-Reprocessing 

Tehran Nuclear Research Center (TNRC)

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Nuclear-Research Reactors   

IR-40 Miniature Neutron Source Reactor (MNSR) Tehran Research Reactor (TRR)

Nuclear-Research and Development          

Bonab Atomic Energy Research Center Graphite Sub-Critical Reactor (ENTC GSCR) Heavy Water Zero Power Reactor (ENTC-HWZPR) Isfahan (Esfahan) Nuclear Fuel Research and Production Center (NFRPC) Isfahan (Esfahan) Nuclear Technology Center (INTC) Karaj Agricultural and Medical Research Center Light Water Sub-Critical Reactor (ENTC-LWSCR) Plasma Physics Research Center Tehran Nuclear Research Center (TNRC) Yazd Radiation Processing Center (YRPC)

Nuclear-Waste Management    

Anarak Waste Storage Facility Isafan (Esfahan) Nuclear Waste Storage Facility Karaj Waste Storage Facility Qom Waste Disposal Site

Nuclear-Weaponization     

Institute of Applied Physics (IAP) Kimia Maadan Company (KM) Parchin Military Complex Physics Research Center (PHRC) Tehran Nuclear Research Center (TNRC)

MISSILE Missile-Education and Training   

Imam Hussein University (IHU) Malek Ashtar University (MAU) Sanam College

Missile-Missile Bases        

Abu Musa Island Bakhtaran Missile Base Bandar Abbas Imam Ali Missile Base Kuhestak Missile Battery Mashad Airbase Semnan Space and Missile Center Tabriz Missile Base

Missile-Production 

Bank Sepah

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Dorud Fajr Industrial Group Farhin Gostaresh Scientific Research Center Iran Aircraft Manufacturing Industries Isfahan Missile Complex Karaj Missile Development Complex Lavizan Technical and Engineering Complex Manzariyah Parchin Chemical Industries Parchin Military Complex Qods Aeronautics Industries Semnan Missile Complex Shahid Bakeri Industrial Group Shahid Hemmat Industrial Group Shiraz Missile Plant Sirjan Missile Plant Ya Mahdi Industries Group

Missile-Regulatory   

Aerospace Industries Organization (AIO) Defense Industries Organization (DIO) Ministry of Defense and Armed Forces Logistics (MODAFL)

Missile-Testing   

Garmsar Missile Test Range Shahroud Missile Test Site Tabas

BIOLOGICAL Biological-Dual-Use Infrastructure 

Persian Type Culture Collection

Biological-Education and Training   

Amir Kabir University of Technology Sharif University of Technology Biochemical and Bioenvironmental Engineering Research Center Tehran University Institute for Biochemistry and Biosphysics Research (IBB)

Biological-Production  

Razi Institute for Serums and Vaccines Vira Laboratory

Biological-Regulatory 

Science and Technology Group

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Special Industries Organization (SIO)

Biological-Research and Development       

Biotechnology Institute of the Iranian Research Organization for Science and Technology Institute for Pestilence and Plant Disease Research Institute for Plant and Seed Modification Research Iranian Research Organization for Science and Technology National Research Center of Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (NRCGEB) Pasteur Institute Research Center of the Construction Crusade (Jihad-e Sazandegi)

Chemical-Production 

Damghan

Source: NTI (Nuclear Threat Initiative), “Iran,” Facilities, http://www.nti.org/country-profiles/iran/facilities/, updated February 2012.

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Possible US War Plans: Attacking, Delaying, Waiting Out There is no way to know the how US intelligence exports, military planners, and officials currently assess US strike options, or to predict the details of how these options will evolve in the future. Much will depend on the exact nature of the intelligence available at a given time, complex calculation about the vulnerability of given targets and the effectiveness of specific munitions, the urgency the US feels in acting and its willingness to take risks in targeting and striking, allied support and international attitudes, and where Iran’s programs stand at a given point in time If the US does choose to respond militarily, however, it has several major types of military and strategic options that are reflected in Figure IV.66 through Figure IV.71. Each of these options might have many of the following broad characteristics shown in each Figure, although it should be stressed that these are only rough outlines of such US options. They are not based on any inside knowledge of actual US war plans, and calculations. Those who argue strongly for and against such options should note, however, that there are many different ways in which the US could act. There are no rules or certainties that either say such attacks could not succeed or that they would. 

Figure IV.66 reflects a potential scenario in which the US used limited “demonstrative” or “deterrent” strikes to coerce Iran into abandoning its efforts to acquire nuclear weapons without launching a full strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities. It is unclear how Iran would respond to such action.

Figure IV.67 reflects a potential scenario in which the US used limited strikes to damage or destroy Iran’s largest and most important nuclear sites.

Figure IV.68 reflects a potential scenario in which the US engaged in major strikes on Iran’s CBRN and major missile targets.

Figure IV.69 reflects a potential scenario in which the US engaged in major attacks on Iran’s nuclear facilities, major missile assets, as well as “dual use” assets that contribute to Iran’s “technology base” such as universities.

Figure IV.70 reflects a potential scenario in which the US waited for Iran to provide proof of or a “smoking gun” that indicated nuclear proliferation to strike at the country’s facilities.

Figure IV.71 reflects a potential scenario in which the US would not attack Iran’s nuclear sites, but indicated nuclear targeting of Iran’s military and CBRN facilities and its cities. Other potential action could include deploying anti-ballistic missile and cruise missile defense and tacitly signaling a “green light” for Israeli nuclear retaliation or preemption, among others.

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Figure IV.66: US Demonstrative, Coercive, or Deterrent Strikes 

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Conduct a few cruise missile or stealth strikes simply as a demonstration or warning of the seriousness of US intentions if Iran does not comply with the terms of the EU3 or UN. Hit at least one high value target recognized by IAEA and EU3 to show credibility to Iran, minimize international criticism. Might strike at new sites and activities to show Iran cannot secretly proceed with, or expand its efforts, by ignoring the UN or EU3. Could be carrier-based; would not need territory of Gulf ally. International reaction would be a problem regardless of the level of US action. Might trigger Iranian counteraction in Iraq, Afghanistan, and dealing with Hezbollah.

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Figure IV.67: Limited US Attacks 

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Limited strike would probably take 16-20 cruise missile and strike sorties. (Total sorties in Gulf and area would probably have to total 100 or more including escorts, enablers, and refuelers). Might be able to combine B-2s and carrier-based aircraft and sea-launched cruise missiles. Might well need land base(s) in Gulf for staging, refueling, and recovery. Goal would be at least 2-3 of most costly and major facilities critically damaged or destroyed. Hit at high value targets recognized by IAEA and EU3 to show credibility to Iran, minimize international criticism. Might strike at new sites and activities to show Iran cannot secretly proceed with, or expand its efforts, by ignoring the UN or EU3. Might slow down Iran if used stealth aircraft to strike at hard and underground targets, but impact over time would probably still be more demonstrative than crippling. Hitting hard and underground targets could easily require multiple strikes during mission, and follow-on restrikes to be effective. Battle damage would be a significant problem, particularly for large buildings and underground facilities. Size and effectiveness would depend very heavily on the quality of US intelligence, and suitability of given ordnance, as well as the time the US sought to inflict a given effect. Iran's technology base would survive; the same would be true of much of equipment even in facilities hit with strikes. Little impact, if any, on pool of scientists and experts. Iranian response in terms of proliferation could vary sharply and unpredictably: Deter and delay vs. mobilize and provoke. Likely to produce cosmetic Iranian change in behavior at best. Would probably make Iran disperse program even more, and drive it to deep underground facilities. Might provoke to implement (more) active biological warfare program. Any oil embargo likely to be demonstrative. Would probably trigger Iranian counteraction in Iraq, Afghanistan, and dealing with Hezbollah. International reaction could be a serious problem; US might well face same level of political problems as if it had launched a comprehensive strike on Iranian facilities.

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Figure IV.68: Major US Attacks on Iranian CBRN and Major Missile Targets                

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200-600 cruise missiles and strike sorties; would have to be at least a matching number of escorts, enablers, and refuelers. Period of attacks could extend from 3 to 10 days. Hit all suspect facilities for nuclear, missile, BW, and related C4IBM. Knock out key surface-to-air missile sites and radars for future freedom of action. Would need to combine B-2s, carrier-based aircraft and sea-launched cruise missiles, and used of land base(s) in Gulf for staging, refueling, and recovery. Threaten to strike extensively at Iranian capabilities for asymmetric warfare and to threaten tanker traffic, facilities in the Gulf, and neighboring states. At least 7-10 days to fully execute and validate. Goal would be at least 70-80% of most costly and major facilities critically damaged or destroyed. Hit at all high value targets recognized by IAEA and EU3 to show credibility to Iran, minimize international criticism, but also possible sites as well. Strike at all known new sites and activities to show Iran cannot secretly proceed with, or expand its efforts, unless hold back some targets as hostages to the future. Impact over time would probably be crippling, but Iran might still covertly assemble some nuclear device and could not halt Iranian biological weapons effort. Hitting hard and underground targets could easily require multiple strikes during mission, and follow-on restrikes to be effective. Battle damage would be a significant problem, particularly for large buildings and underground facilities. Size and effectiveness would depend very heavily on the quality of US intelligence and suitability of given ordnance, as well as the time the US sought to inflict a given effect. Much of Iran's technology base would still survive; the same would be true of many equipment items, even in facilities hit with strikes. Some impact, if any, on pool of scientists and experts. Iranian response in terms of proliferation could vary sharply and unpredictably: Deter and delay vs. mobilize and provoke. A truly serious strike may be enough of a deterrent to change Iranian behavior, particularly if coupled to the threat of follow on strikes in the future. It still, however, could as easily produce only a cosmetic Iranian change in behavior at best. Iran might still disperse its program even more, and shift to multiple, small, deep underground facilities. Might well provoke Iran to implement (more) active biological warfare program. An oil embargo might be serious. Iranian government could probably not prevent some elements in Iranian forces and intelligence from seeking to use Iraq, Afghanistan, support of terrorism, and Hezbollah to hit back at the US and its allies if it tried; it probably would not try. International reaction would be a serious problem, but the US might well face same level of political problems as if it had launched a small strike on Iranian facilities.

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Figure IV.69: Major US Attacks on Military and Civilian Targets    

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1000-2,500 cruise missiles and air strike sorties. Hit all suspect facilities for nuclear, missile, BW, and C4IBM, and potentially “technology base” targets including universities, dual use facilities. Either strike extensively at Iranian capabilities for asymmetric warfare and to threaten tanker traffic, facilities in the Gulf, and neighboring states or threaten to do so if Iran should deploy for such action. Would require a major portion of total US global assets. Need to combine B-2s, other bombers, and carrierbased aircraft and sea-launched cruise missiles. Would need land base(s) in Gulf for staging, refueling, and recovery. Staging out of Diego Garcia would be highly desirable. Would probably take several weeks to two months to fully execute and validate. Goal would be 70-80%-plus of most costly and major CBRN, missile and other delivery systems, key conventional air and naval strike assets, and major military production facilities critically damaged or destroyed. Hit at all high value targets recognized by IAEA and EU3 to show credibility to Iran, minimize international criticism, but also possible sites as well. Strike at all known new sites and activities to show Iran cannot secretly proceed with, or expand its efforts, unless hold back some targets as hostages to the future. Hitting hard and underground targets could easily require multiple strikes during mission, and follow-on restrikes to be effective. Impact over time would probably be crippling, but Iran might still covertly assemble some nuclear device and could not halt Iranian biological weapons effort. Battle damage would be a significant problem, particularly for large buildings and underground facilities. Size and effectiveness would depend very heavily on the quality of US intelligence and suitability of given ordnance, as well as the time the US sought to inflict a given effect. Much of Iran's technology base would still survive; the same would be true of many equipment items, even in facilities hit with strikes. Some impact, if any, on pool of scientists and experts. Iranian response in terms of proliferation could vary sharply and unpredictably: Deter and delay vs. mobilize and provoke. Such a series of strikes might be enough of a deterrent to change Iranian behavior, particularly if coupled to the threat of follow on strikes in the future. It still, however, could as easily produce only a cosmetic Iranian change in behavior at best. Iran might still disperse its program even more, and shift to multiple, small, deep underground facilities. Might well provoke Iran to implement (more) active biological warfare program. An oil embargo might be serious. Iranian government could probably not prevent some elements in Iranian forces and intelligence from seeking to use Iraq, Afghanistan, support of terrorism, and Hezbollah to hit back at the US and its allies if it tried; it probably would not try. International reaction would be a serious problem, and far greater than strikes that could be clearly associated with Iran's efforts to proliferate.

Figure IV.70: Delay and Then Strike 124


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The US could execute any of the above options, and wait until after Iran provided proof was proliferating. Such a “smoking gun” would create a much higher chance of allied support, and international tolerance or consensus. Iran will have committed major resources, and created much higher value targets. The counter-risk is an unanticipated Iranian break out; some form of Iranian launch on warning (LOW), launch under attack (LUA), or survivable “ride out” capability. Iranian dispersal and sheltering may be much better. Iran might have biological weapons as a counter. Allied and regional reactions would be uncertain. Time tends to breed tolerance of proliferation.

Figure IV.71: Ride Out Iranian Proliferation 125


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Announce or quietly demonstrate US nuclear targeting of Iran's military and CBRN facilities and cities. Tacitly signal US “green light” for Israeli nuclear retaliation or preemption. Deploy anti-ballistic and cruise missile defenses, and sell to Gulf and neighboring states. Signal US conventional option to cripple Iran by destroying its power generation, gas, and refinery facilities. Provide US guarantees of extended deterrence to Gulf states. Tacitly accept Saudi acquisition of nuclear weapons. Maintain preventive/preemptive option at constant combat readiness. Act without warning. Encourage Israel to openly declare its strike options as a deterrent. Announce doctrine that any Iranian use of biological weapons will lead to nuclear retaliation against Iran.

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The Impact of Israeli-Iranian Nuclear Arms Race on US and Iranian Competition While Iran does not yet possess a nuclear weapon, it already possess aircraft and missiles with the range to target Israel, and Israel has nuclear armed missiles that can reach any target in Iran. This creates a de facto nuclear arms race in the Middle East, and creates an even stronger incentive for Israel to try to suppress Iran’s nuclear program and missile capabilities than exists for the US and Arab Gulf states.

Israel’s Fear of An “Existential Threat” Despite Israel’s advantage in weapons technology, one nuclear detonation on Israeli territory could prove to be an “existential” threat to Israel given its size, dependence on Tel Aviv and Haifa, and the impact of such a strike on Israel’s political cohesion and Israeli emigration after such a strike Senior Israeli officials and officers have repeatedly made it clear that they fear any Iranian success in creating effective nuclear delivery capabilities will pose an “existential” threat to Israel in the sense that even one major nuclear strike on a city like Tel Aviv might produce enough casualties and damage to threaten Israel’s cohesion as a state. Israeli officials and officers have also focused heavily on the threat posed by Iran’s missile programs – which already can reach any target in Israel and still present only a relatively problematic threat to the U.S. and Europe. The coverage of this threat is illustrated in the estimates of the nominal range of Iran’s current missile developments has been shown in Figure IV.1 – although these estimates do not include the longer ranges of several new Iranian developments, including its first long-range solid fuel missiles. Senior Israeli officials and officers have never publically discussed exactly what this “existential” threat consists of. Moreover, any such discussion would necessarily have to be speculative. There is no magic number of casualties that determines the point at which a state cannot survive or so radically changes its character that its values change beyond recognition. There is no way to know what level of attack would lead an unsupportable number of survivors to emigrate, make economic recovery too difficult, or critically weaken the ability to defend Israel against outside threats. Would it take one weapon? Three? Thirty? Will the prospect of an attack undermine Israel’s cohesion and raise emigration? Will Israeli s unify in the event of an attack? Some Israeli leaders may not be prepared to learn the answers or take such risks. They would prefer diplomatic solutions or to have the US take military action, but at least some perceive the threat as so serious in broad terms that they are prepared to strike preventively or preemptively to deny Iran the option – if they feel they have no choice, and if the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) concludes such strikes will be effective and produce acceptable costs in terms of U.S. and other international reactions. The CIA estimates that Israel will have a population of some 7.6 million in mid-2012. Data on ethnicity is dated, but the CIA estimates this population is Jewish 76.4% (of which Israel-born 67.1%, Europe/America-born 22.6%, Africa-born 5.9%, Asia-born 4.2%), non-Jewish 23.6% (mostly Arab) (2004). It estimates religious divisions are Jewish 75.6%, Muslim 16.9%, 127


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Christian 2%, Druze 1.7%, other 3.8% (2008 census). 39 Israeli data are more current, but involve complex debates over ethnicity and defining resident. The population is mixed in many areas, but Jerusalem (780,000) is the only potential target which has both the religious significance and a large enough Muslim Arab population so this might deter Iranian nuclear targeting on an a largely Jewish population center. Israel is 92% urbanized. While current estimates of its population in greater urban areas are uncertain for nuclear targeting purposes, the CIA estimates that a small number of Israel’s major cities contain much of its population – the best educated part and most important in terms of Israel’s Jewish economy and culture. 40 Nuclear strikes on only two Israeli cities -- Tel AvivYafo 3.219 million and Haifa 1.027 million – could pose a major threat to Israel’s existence in anything like its current form.41 The psychological and political dimensions of an Iranian attack would be as important as the physical and killing impact. Horrifying as a small nuclear attack with basic fission weapons with nominal yields of around 20 kilotons each would be, much of the population in a coastal city would survive an attack by one bomb, although the long-term death rate from radiation and fall out would later be significant. The question would then be how much of Israel’s Jewish population – much of which could leave the country -- would stay, the reaction of Israel’s Palestinians and Arab neighbors, and how nations outside the region would treat Israel’s suffering. A larger nuclear armed Iranian missile force that was still restrict to basic fission weapons with nominal yields of around 20 kilotons each could strike at Israel’s key coastal cities using a mix of air and ground bursts to both achieve maximum near-term killing capability and to contaminate the area. It could do so without producing physical damage to Jerusalem, although strikes on Tel Aviv might product significant fall out on Jerusalem or Palestinian areas under some conditions. It is unlikely that Iranian strikes limited to basic fission weapons would produce enough prompt damage and casualties to Israel’s Jewish populations to make recovery impossible – although it might kill a significant percentage and the political and psychological impact might well reach the point where a significant percentage of the remain population would leave. An Iranian force armed with boosted fission weapons of 100 kilotons each or more – or thermonuclear weapons in the 1 megaton or larger range – is probably 6-10 years in the future if Iran can achieve such a force. It could deliver enough damage to destroy much of Israel’s coastal cities and population. The damage done to Israel’s Palestinian population would depend heavily on the prevailing winds and the height of burst of the Iranian nuclear explosions. Fall out models are extremely difficult to calculate, and far less even than most nominal unclassified estimates indicate. Data based on “Israel”: section of the CIA World Factbook, accessed February 19, 2012, https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/is.html. 39

Data based on “Israel”: section of the CIA World Factbook, accessed February 19, 2012, https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/ir.html. 40

Data based on “Israel”: section of the CIA World Factbook, accessed February 19, 2012, https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/ir.html. 41

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It is likely, however, that this level of Iranian strike would have far more impact on the Palestinians, and might affect neighboring Arab states to a much more significant degree, and it might produce a much more significant degree of contamination in Jerusalem. It is much less likely, however, that it would produce mass prompt Palestinian and Arab casualties versus cause a significant increase in the longer-term death rate from cancer and radiation poisoning.

The Unknowns in Assessing Israel’s Calculations of Its Ability to Use Missile Defense, “Extended Deterrence,” and Destroy Iran’s Population Using Nuclear Weapons An Israeli preventive strike is the alternative to Israeli reliance on the threat of retaliation in the form of an existential counterstrike on Iran, reliance on some degree of US “extended deterrence, ” and reliance on defenses like anti-missile systems and passive civil defense. It must be stressed that there is no unclassified basis for understanding the degree to which Israeli leaders and defense planners feel a combination of Israel’s undeclared nuclear forces, missile and air defenses, and support from the US in the form of additional missile defenses and an as yet undefined US extended regional deterrent could safely contain an Iranian threat and deter nuclear and missile attacks. There are a variety of media and think tank reports that Israel has already extended the rangepayload of its missile forces to be able to conduct nuclear strikes with thermonuclear weapons on any target in Iran. Iran also has key target points like Tehran, and Israel could conduct its own existential strikes on Iran by destroying some 5-7 major Iranian cities. Unfortunately, there is no practical way to discuss Israeli or Iranian perceptions of what already is a covert nuclear and missile arms race tied to missile defenses, air capabilities, and possible submarine and sea launch forces. Comparing perceptions of an undeclared force relative to one that does not yet exist presents obvious problems, and it is one that has a major impact on both US competition with Iran and how the Arab Gulf states and other neighboring states assess the balance of present and future risks. As Herman Khan noted, “thinking about the unthinkable” is anything but pleasant, but it is important to note that “existential” is a relative term shaped by the character and success of a specific attack. It is also important to remember that Israel’s missile defenses might significantly limit the damage Iran’s forces could inflict – particularly when their numbers remained small, warhead yields were limited, and they had few or no penetration aids. It is equally important to remember that Iran has long been vulnerable to Israel, Iran has no meaningful missile defenses, Israel has a mature force that probably has thermonuclear weapons, and Israel would not face the Jerusalem and Palestinian problem in inflicting nuclear damage. The CIA estimates that Iran will have a population of some 78.8 million in mid-2012, and that it is well over 70% urbanized. While accurate current estimates of its urban population are uncertain the CIA estimates that a small number of Iran’s major cities contained much of its population – the best educated part and most important in terms of its economy and culture. 42 A Data based on “Iran”: section of the CIA World Factbook, accessed February 19, 2012, https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/ir.html. 42

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mix of several air and ground bursts in an Israeli thermonuclear or high fission yield attack on five key cities -- Tehran (capital) 7.19 million; Mashhad 2.592 million; Esfahan 1.704 million; Karaj 1.531 million; Tabriz 1.459 million – would probably destroy Iran as a nation in anything like its current form.43 The greater metropolitan area of Tehran alone is home to some 8-9 million people. Furthermore, 45% of large Iranian industrial firms are located in Tehran, as is 50% of all Iranian industry. As such, an Israeli nuclear strike on Tehran would have disastrous consequences for the Iranian state and Israel could target every major Iranian city. In actual practice, Israel can already deliver an “existential” nuclear strike on Iran, and will have far more capability to damage Iran than Iran is likely to have against Israel for the next decade. Moreover, Israel has steadily improving missile defenses, and the US has offered “extended deterrence” to Israel and the Arab states. This potentially could mean US retaliation for any Iranian nuclear attack on Israel or an Arab ally of the US. Most of Iran’s major cities are also far enough inland so that Israel could strike them with large numbers of ground and air bursts while doing only limited damage to neighboring states – all which except Turkey and Pakistan are not key political actors. Israel could use airbursts on Iran’s cities near its borders and minimize the risk of major amounts of fall out crossing borders and still inflict catastrophic damage on these cities. Moreover, Israel could selectively target Iran’s Persian population to pose an existential threat using fewer weapons. While such estimates are dated and uncertain, the CIA estimates that Iran’s population has the following ethnic distribution: Persian (official) 53%, Azeri Turkic and Turkic dialects 18%, Kurdish 10%, Gilaki and Mazandarani 7%, Luri 6%, Balochi 2%, Arabic 2%, other 2% (2008 est.). 44 Nuclear targeting could also include key religious cities like Qom and all of Iran’s major shrine cities and those with key theological seminars – effectively destroying the structure of the Shi’ite clergy and possibly much of the support for Iranian Shi’ite practices. It should be noted, however, that as the attack levels rise – and to some degree even during limited attacks – a significant number of the missiles launched would not hit near their target. It is doubtful that either Israel or Iran would take the design risk of trying to create fail-safe arming mechanisms in their nuclear warheads that would keep such missiles from producing nuclear strikes. Given the probable attack vectors, some Arab population centers might be struck by accident and the fall out effects from any such strikes could produce significant longer-term casualties.

The Unknowns in Assessing Israel’s Preventive Attack Options Similarly, there is no practical way to determine exactly how Israel’s senior policymakers and military leaders perceive Israeli ability to identify target, and destroy Iran’s current nuclear and other strike capabilities, or assess the degree to which this would give Israeli security over time vs. provoking Iran into some massive new effort to acquire nuclear weapons. There is no way to determine the degree to which their public statements represent real war plans and threats versus Data based on “Iran”: section of the CIA World Factbook, accessed February 19, 2012, https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/ir.html. 43

Data based on “Iran”: section of the CIA World Factbook, accessed February 19, 2012, https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/ir.html. 44

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efforts to push the US and the 5+1 group (the United States, Britain, France, Russia, China, and Germany) into taking a harder line with Iran, pushing Iran to halt its efforts, or push the US towards a focus on military options. These uncertainties include Israel perceptions of the extent to which an Israeli strike on Iran would force the US to deal with the military aftermath or act as a trigger force option. They include Israeli assessments of the cost Israel would have to pay in terms of reactions from the U.S. and other states, and they include Israeli perceptions of how much damage Iran might be able to inflict using Hezbollah, Hamas, and other proxies and asymmetric means to attack Israel. It is clear from Israeli media and think tank publications that Israelis recognize these issues, but it is not clear how Israel’s leaders and military planners perceive them. The US has made it repeatedly clear in recent years that it is not giving Israel any kind of “green light” in conducting an attack on Iran. Both Secretary Clinton and Secretary Gates have given Israel this message, and Secretary Panetta seems to have repeated it since he replaced Secretary Gates. Key US military leaders like Admiral Mike Mullen and General David Petraeus have made it clear in public statements that they oppose any near-term Israeli strike on Iran, and see such options as deeply destabilizing at a time that the US is still engaged in Iraq and Afghanistan in addition to dealing with a broader struggle against Islamic extremism.45 General Martine Dempsey, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, made similar points in an interview in the National Journal after a visit to Israel in January 2012,46 "We have to acknowledge that they (the Israeli) ... see that threat differently than we do. It's existential to them… My intervention with them was not to try to persuade them to my thinking or allow them to persuade me to theirs, but rather to acknowledge the complexity and commit to seeking creative solutions, not simple solutions…We are determined to prevent them (Iran) from acquiring that weapon, but that doesn't mean dropping bombs necessarily," he said. "I personally believe that we should be in the business of deterring as the first priority. I do think the path we're on—the economic sanctions and the diplomatic pressure—does seem to me to be having an effect…I just think that it's premature to be deciding that the economic and diplomatic approach is inadequate…A conflict with Iran would be really destabilizing, and I'm not just talking from the security perspective. It would be economically destabilizing.

The Ongoing Policy Debate Within Israel Regarding a Preemptive Strike on Iran There have been many reports that Israel is planning a preventive or preemptive strike on Iran, including leaks of official reports. Material released by Wikileaks indicates, for example, that as of 2005, 47

“'Military strike won't stop Iran's nuclear program',” Haaretz, February http://www.haaretz.com/news/military-strike-won-t-stop-iran-s-nuclear-program-1.266113 45

22,

2010.

46

Yitzhak, Benhorin, Dempsey: US, Israel view Iran threat very differently; US army chief says Washington determined to prevent nuclear Iran, 'but that doesn't mean dropping bombs necessarily' YNet, January 27, 2012,, http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4181550,00.html 47

Yossi Melman, “2005 report says senior defense officials did not believe an attack similar to Israel's assault on Iraq's Osirak reactor was possible,” 03:12 10.04.11, http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/haaretz-wikileaksexclusive-israel-ruled-out-military-option-on-iran-years-ago-1.355024

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Senior defense officials ruled out an Israeli military attack on Iran's nuclear sites as early as five and a half years ago, telegrams sent from the U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv in 2005 and 2006 indicate. The cables, which were revealed over the weekend, are among hundreds of thousands shared exclusively with Haaretz by the Wikileaks website. In the first telegram, sent on December 2, 2005, American diplomats said their conversations with Israeli officials indicate that there is no chance of a military attack being carried out on Iran. A more detailed telegram was sent in January 2006, summing up a meeting between U.S. Congressman Gary Ackerman (a Democrat for New York) and Dr. Ariel Levite, then deputy chief of Israel's Atomic Energy Commission. "Levite said that most Israeli officials do not believe a military solution is possible," the telegram ran. "They believe Iran has learned from Israel's attack on Iraq's Osirak reactor, and has dispersed the components of its nuclear program throughout Iran, with some elements in places that Israel does not know about."

Various versions of such reports have surfaced in the form of media reports of policy debates within Israel’s leadership and intelligence community regarding a possible strike on Iran’s nuclear program. Meir Dagan, the former chief of Mossad, testified to the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on January 6, 2011 that he did not believe that Iran would have a nuclear weapons capability before “2015 approximately.”48 The Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported the next day that Dagan had had said Iran was a long way from being able to produce nuclear weapons, was a long way from being able to produce nuclear weapons, following a series of failures that had set its program back by several years.49 Other Israeli officials – including Prime Minister Netanyahu – contradicted Dagan. On January 25, 2011, Israel’s head of military intelligence, Brigadier General Aviv Kochavi, testified to the same Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee that, "The question is not when Iran will acquire the bomb, but how long until the leader decides to begin enriching (uranium) at 90 percent… Once such a decision is made, it would take "a year or two" to produce a nuclear warhead,” he said, adding that Iran would then need more time to develop an effective missile delivery system for it.50 Kochavi is reported to have said that it was unlikely that Iran, which then had enriched uranium to 20 percent, would start enriching it to the 90 percent level needed for a bomb because it would be in open breach of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, exposing it to harsher sanctions or even a U.S. or Israeli military strike. He said Iran was reluctant to do this at a time when the country was going through a period of "instability" and "religious tension." "At the moment, it's not in Iran's interest to move their program ahead," he told the committee. 51 These comments have come amid reports that Israel was involved in a plot to sabotage Iran's nuclear program 48

Yossi Melman. “Outgoing Mossad chief: Iran won't have nuclear capability before 2015.” Haaretz, Jan. 6, 2011 http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/outgoing-mossad-chief-iran-won-t-have-nuclear-capability-before-20151.335656. Lis, Jonathan. “Former Mossad chief: Nuclear Iran must not be neglected like North Korea.” Haaretz. January 17, 2011. http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/former-mossad-chief-nuclear-iranmust-not-be-neglected-like-north-korea-1.337569 49

50

Jonathan Lis. “New MI chief: Iran could have nukes within two years.” Haaretz, Jan. 25 2010 http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/new-mi-chief-iran-could-have-nukes-within-two-years-1.339137 51

“Iran not working on bomb: Israel intelligence head.” AFP. January http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5gShKfmWcoQ1ABBQ_DodMUUh61ckA

25,

2011.

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through a destructive computer worm called Stuxnet, and might have been involved in the assassination of Iranian nuclear experts. It is also important to note that Israeli officials and officers – like those in the United States – have a long history of revising its threat perceptions and changing such estimates. As Haaretz noted on January 6, 2011,52 “The Israeli intelligence community’s assessments of Iran’s nuclear capability have changed during Dagan’s tenure,” the story noted. “In 2003, Israeli intelligence officials thought Iran would have its first bomb by 2007. In 2007, they thought it would be 2009, and a year later they put it at 2011. Now the date has moved to 2015. These adjustments were not the result of mistaken evaluations, but due to the difficulties Iran has encountered in advancing its program, largely because of the Mossad’s efforts…Dagan’s term centered around two main issues: the Iranian nuclear program; and the assassinations of Hezbollah and Hamas leaders and Iranian scientists, most if not all of which have been attributed to the Mossad.”

This helps to explain why public and leaked statements emanating from key individuals within the Israeli government in the fall and winter of 2011 that indicated that Israel might be more active in considering a strike. 

“It is obvious that no option should be removed from the table, and that diplomacy must be conducted intensively and urgently.” – Israeli Minister of Defense, Ehud Barak

“Today, as opposed to the past, the world has no doubt that the Iranian military nuclear program is steadily approaching maturity and is about to enter the zone of immunity, after which the Iranian regime will be able to complete the program without effective interruption and at a time it finds convenient. The dividing line may not pass not where the Iranians decide to break out of the non-proliferation treaty and move toward a nuclear device or weapon, but at the place where the dispersal, protection, and survivability efforts will cross a point that would make a physical strike impractical. The assessment of many experts around the world, not only here, is that the result of avoiding action will inevitably be a nuclear Iran, and that dealing with a nuclear Iran will be more complicated, more dangerous, and more costly in blood and money than stopping it.” – Israeli Minister of Defense, Ehud Barak

"It's clear to all that a nuclear Iran is a grave danger and the whole world, led by the United States, must make constant efforts to stop Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons. The Iranians already have more than four tons of 3-4 percent enriched uranium and 70 kgs. of 20 percent enriched uranium. It's clear to us they are continuing to make missiles. Iran's nuclearization is not only a threat to Israel but to several other Western states, and the international interest must unite here." – Israeli Minister of Intelligence and Atomic Energy, Dan Meridor

"This is a complicated time and it's better not to talk about how complicated it is. This possible action is keeping me awake at night. Imagine we're [attacked] from the north, south and center. They have shortrange and long-range missiles - we believe they have about 100,000 rockets and missiles." – Israeli Interior Minister, Eli Yishai

"One of those regional powers is Iran, which is continuing its efforts to obtain nuclear weapons. A nuclear Iran would constitute a grave threat to the Middle East and the entire world, and of course it is a direct and grave threat on us." – Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu

52

Melman, Yossi. “Outgoing Mossad chief: Iran won't have nuclear capability before 2015.” Haaretz. January 7, 2011. http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/outgoing-mossad-chief-iran-won-t-have-nuclear-capabilitybefore-2015-1.335656

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“I don't think that that is a subject for public discussion. But I can tell you that the IAEA report is, has a sobering impact on many in the world leaders, as well as the publics, and people understand that the time has come. Amano told straightly what he found, unlike Baradei, and it became a major issue that I think duly so, becomes a major issue for sanctions, for intensive diplomacy, with urgency. People understand now that Iran is determined to reach nuclear weapons. No other possible or conceivable explanation for what they have been actually doing. And that should be stopped.” – Israeli Minister of Defense, Ehud Barak

“As long as no such sanctions have been imposed and proven effective, we continue to recommend to our friends in the world and to ourselves, not to take any option off the table. This outlandish depiction (by the media) of two people, the prime minister and the defense minister, sitting in a closed room and leading the entire country into an adventurist operation is baseless and divorced from reality. We haven’t decided yet to embark on any operation… We don’t want war. I tell you there won’t be 100,000 casualties, and not 10,000 casualties and not 1,000 casualties… And Israel won’t be destroyed.” – Israeli Minister of Defense, Ehud Barak

“The possibility of a military strike on Iran is more likely to be realized than the diplomatic option. I do not think there has already been a decision on the matter, but it appears that Iran is getting closer to obtaining nuclear weapons." – Israeli President, Shimon Peres

"I think that one has to use diplomatic pressure and sanctions on Iran. I refuse to be intimidated, as if Iran could destroy Israel. Israel is the most powerful country, from Tripoli to Tehran. There is no reason to be afraid of anything." – Israeli Minister of Defense, Ehud Barak

“A situation could be created in the Middle East in which Israel must defend its vital interests in an independent fashion, without necessarily having to reply on other forces, regional or otherwise." – Israeli Minister of Defense, Ehud Barak

"The more Iran believes that all options are on the table, the less the chance of confrontation.” – Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu

“The war won't be against Iran, but will be a regional war. I recommend that the prime minister not decide to attack... I will express my opinion anyway. I am not prepared for it to be on my conscience that there will be a repeat of what happened in 1973.” – Former Head of the Mossad, Meir Dagan53

It is hard to put such statements in context. As has been touched upon earlier, Israel has every reason to make threats and develop options as a means of reinforcing US and other efforts to find a solution through sanctions and diplomacy. Israel’s fractious politics almost ensure there is no unified message emanating from the Israeli leadership regarding an Israeli preemptive attack, and it is clear that those involved in the debate are divided regarding the effectiveness and potential ramifications of such a strike. Israeli leaders have shown considerable caution. In late May of 2011, Prime Minister Netanyahu stated that “the more Iran believes that all options are on the table, the less the chance of

53

Quotes obtained from a number of Western and Israeli news outlets, including but not limited to Ha’aretz, New York Times, the Washington Post, and others.

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confrontation" in a speech to the US Congress.54 In a speech at Tel Aviv University during the same period, Meir Dagan, the former head of the Mossad, made the following statement regarding a potential attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities, “The war won't be against Iran, but will be a regional war. I recommend that the prime minister not decide to attack.”55

Further referring to the possibility of such an attack, Dagan stated, “I will express my opinion anyway. I am not prepared for it to be on my conscience that there will be a repeat of what happened in 1973.”56

According to Israeli media reports, Dagan reportedly stated that such a strike was “the stupidest thing I have ever heard” in a public conference.57 Such statements made by the former director of the Mossad cannot be taken lightly. Meir Dagan was not the only individual who expressed doubts about an Israeli strike on Iran’s facilities. In early November of 2011, former Israeli Minister of Defense, Benjamin Ben-Eliezer, said he feared a "horror scenario" in which Netanyahu and Barak decide to attack Iran. He warned of a "rash act" and said he hoped "common sense will prevail."58 Once again, statements made by Benjamin Ben-Eliezer, who, like Meir Dagan, held a top post in the Israeli defense community, must be taken seriously. While nebulous and ill-defined, they show that there is an unmistakable opposition to an Israeli strike on Iran within the Israeli defense community. Speaking to the potential repercussions of such an attack, Israel’s Interior Minister, Eli Yishai, stated in an October 31, 2011 speech to Shas activists in northern Israel that, "This is a complicated time and it's better not to talk about how complicated it is. This possible action is keeping me awake at night. Imagine we're [attacked] from the north, south and center. They have shortrange and long-range missiles - we believe they have about 100,000 rockets and missiles." 59

In other cases, senior Israeli officials said that the US was the only power that would be fully capable of, and should, carrying out such an attack. Moreover, some Israelis (as well as some outside) experts disagree over whether the extent of Iran’s threat to Israel is more than rhetoric, 54

Ravid, Barak; Harel, Amos; Zrahiya, Zvi; Lis, Jonathan. “Netanyahu Trying to Persuade Cabinet to Support Attack on Iran.” Ha’aretz. November 2, 2011. http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/netanyahu-trying-topersuade-cabinet-to-support-attack-on-iran-1.393214 55

Ravid, Barak; Harel, Amos; Zrahiya, Zvi; Lis, Jonathan. “Netanyahu Trying to Persuade Cabinet to Support Attack on Iran.” Ha’aretz. November 2, 2011. http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/netanyahu-trying-topersuade-cabinet-to-support-attack-on-iran-1.393214 56

Ravid, Barak; Harel, Amos; Zrahiya, Zvi; Lis, Jonathan. “Netanyahu Trying to Persuade Cabinet to Support Attack on Iran.” Ha’aretz. November 2, 2011. http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/netanyahu-trying-topersuade-cabinet-to-support-attack-on-iran-1.393214 57

Buck, Tobias. “Ex-spymasters Oppose Iran Attack.” Financial Times. November http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/fbbe0342-0c57-11e1-88c6-00144feabdc0.html#axzz1exldRNQb

11,

2011.

58

11,

2011.

Buck, Tobias. “Ex-spymasters Oppose Iran Attack.” Financial Times. November http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/fbbe0342-0c57-11e1-88c6-00144feabdc0.html#axzz1exldRNQb 59

Ravid, Barak; Harel, Amos; Zrahiya, Zvi; Lis, Jonathan. “Netanyahu Trying to Persuade Cabinet to Support Attack on Iran.” Ha’aretz. November 2, 2011. http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/netanyahu-trying-topersuade-cabinet-to-support-attack-on-iran-1.393214

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or if Iran would risk attacking a nuclear-armed Israel. Some feel that Iran finds Israel to be a convenient stalking horse and way of justifying a massive military and missile build-up that is primarily intended to give Iran leverage over the Gulf, other Arab states, and Iran’s neighbors and limit US military freedom of action. In any case, the rising Iranian threat led several Israel leaders to take a harder stance. Key policymakers like Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, Minister of Defense, Ehud Barak, and President, Shimon Peres, sharply increased the frequency with which they discussed the possibility or likelihood of a preemptive attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities in late 2011 – as Iran moved towards higher levels of enrichment and shift to better sheltered facilities. On October 31, 2011, Ehud Barak alluded to what seemed to be a potential unilateral Israeli attack by stating, “A situation could be created in the Middle East in which Israel must defend its vital interests in an independent fashion, without necessarily having to reply on other forces, regional or otherwise." 60

In a November 8, 2011 interview, Barak also stated that, “I tell you there won’t be 100,000 casualties, and not 10,000 casualties and not 1,000 casualties, and Israel won’t be destroyed.”61

Lastly, on November 2, 2011, Benjamin Netanyahu elucidated his perception of the Iranian nuclear threat, stating, "One of those regional powers is Iran, which is continuing its efforts to obtain nuclear weapons. A nuclear Iran would constitute a grave threat to the Middle East and the entire world, and of course it is a direct and grave threat on us."62

Senior Israeli officials provided an unusual amount detail in interviews for an article in the New York Times in late January 2012. 63 Israeli Minister of Defense, Ehud Barak, made it explicitly clear both that Israel saw an unacceptable threat, and that the US and Israel sometimes had different perspectives, 64 “I accept that Iran has other reasons for developing nuclear bombs, apart from its desire to destroy Israel, but we cannot ignore the risk,” he told me earlier this month. “An Iranian bomb would ensure the survival of the current regime, which otherwise would not make it to its 40th anniversary in light of the admiration that the young generation in Iran has displayed for the West. With a bomb, it would be very hard to budge the administration.” Barak went on: “The moment Iran goes nuclear, other countries in the region will feel compelled to do the same. The Saudi Arabians have told the Americans as much, and one can think of both

60

“Benjamin Netanyahu Pushes For Pre-Emptive Strike On Iran, According To Reports.” Huffington Post. November2, 2011. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mobileweb/2011/11/02/benjamin-netanyahu-iranstrike_n_1072136.html 61

Teibel, Amy. “Israeli Minister Warns Iran Strike is Possible.” Associated Press. November 8, 2011. http://articles.boston.com/2011-11-08/news/30373971_1_nuclear-program-israeli-military-strike-iranian-program 62

Ravid, Barak; Harel, Amos; Zrahiya, Zvi; Lis, Jonathan. “Netanyahu Trying to Persuade Cabinet to Support Attack on Iran.” Ha’aretz. November 2, 2011. http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/netanyahu-trying-topersuade-cabinet-to-support-attack-on-iran-1.393214 63

Ronen Bergman, “Will Israel Attack Iran?”, New York Times Magazine, January 29, 2012, pp. 22-29, 38.

64

Ronen Bergman, “Will Israel Attack Iran?”, New York Times Magazine, January 29, 2012, pp. 22-29, 38.

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Turkey and Egypt in this context, not to mention the danger that weapons-grade materials will leak out to terror groups. “From our point of view,” Barak said, “a nuclear state offers an entirely different kind of protection to its proxies. Imagine if we enter another military confrontation with Hezbollah, which has over 50,000 rockets that threaten the whole area of Israel, including several thousand that can reach Tel Aviv. A nuclear Iran announces that an attack on Hezbollah is tantamount to an attack on Iran. We would not necessarily give up on it, but it would definitely restrict our range of operations…“And if a nuclear Iran covets and occupies some gulf state, who will liberate it? The bottom line is that we must deal with the problem now …“Our discourse with the United States is based on listening and mutual respect, together with an understanding that it is our primary ally. The U.S. is what helps us to preserve the military advantage of Israel, more than ever before. This administration contributes to the security of Israel in an extraordinary way and does a lot to prevent a nuclear Iran. We’re not in confrontation with America. We’re not in agreement on every detail, we can have differences — and not unimportant ones — but we should not talk as if we are speaking about a hostile entity.”.””

Israel’s Deputy Prime Minister, Moshe Ya’lon was quoted as saying, 65 We have had some arguments with the U.S. administration over the past two years, but on the Iranian issue we have managed to close the gaps to a certain extent. The president’s statements at his last meeting with the prime minister — that ‘we are committed to prevent ’ and ‘all the options are on the table’ — are highly important. They began with the sanctions too late, but they have moved from a policy of engagement to a much more active (sanctions) policy against Iran. All of these are positive developments…. (However) The main arguments are ahead of us. This is clear.

It is also important to note that even those Israeli officials who have take a more cautious views of the urgency and pace of the Iranian threat in the past did back other forms of active attempts to halt Iran’s efforts. Meir Dagan, then head of the Mossad, began to implement a “five-front strategy” to halt Iran using a combination of political pressure, covert measures, counterproliferation, sanctions and regime change no later than 2007. He sent a cable to his US counterparts in 2007 that was later leaked to the media, and that sated, “the United States, Israel and like-minded countries must push on all five fronts in a simultaneous joint effort…Some are bearing fruit now. Others…will bear fruit in due time, especially if they are given more attention.” 66 There is no public Israeli consensus as to when Iran would acquire meaningful nuclear capabilities. Meir Dagan, the former chief of Mossad, testified to the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on January 6, 2011 that he did not believe that Iran would have a nuclear weapons capability before “2015 approximately.”67 The Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported the next day that Dagan had had said Iran was a long way from being able to produce

65

Ronen Bergman, “Will Israel Attack Iran?”, New York Times Magazine, January 29, 2012, pp. 22-29, 38.

66

Ronen Bergman, “Will Israel Attack Iran?”, New York Times Magazine, January 29, 2012, pp. 22-29, 38.

67

Yossi Melman. “Outgoing Mossad chief: Iran won't have nuclear capability before 2015.” Haaretz, Jan. 6, 2011 http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/outgoing-mossad-chief-iran-won-t-have-nuclear-capability-before-20151.335656

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nuclear weapons, was a long way from being able to produce nuclear weapons, following a series of failures that had set its program back by several years.68 Other Israeli officials – including Prime Minister Netanyahu – contradicted Dagan. Moreover, other Israeli intelligence officers since have been more nuanced. According to Haaretz reports on January 25, 2011, Israel’s head of military intelligence, Brigadier General Aviv Kochavi, testified to the same Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee that, "The question is not when Iran will acquire the bomb, but how long until the leader decides to begin enriching (uranium) at 90 percent… Once such a decision is made, it would take "a year or two" to produce a nuclear warhead,” he said, adding that Iran would then need more time to develop an effective missile delivery system for it.69 Kochavi is reported to have said that it was unlikely that Iran, which currently enriched uranium to 20 percent, would start enriching it to the 90 percent level needed for a bomb because it would be in open breach of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, exposing it to harsher sanctions or even a U.S. or Israeli military strike. He said Iran was reluctant to do this at a time when the country was going through a period of "instability" and "religious tension." "At the moment, it's not in Iran's interest to move their program ahead," he told the committee. 70 These comments have come amid reports that Israel was involved in a plot to sabotage Iran's nuclear program through a destructive computer worm called Stuxnet, and might have been involved in the assassination of Iranian nuclear experts. It is also important to note that Israel – like the United States – has a long history of revising its threat perceptions and changing such estimates. As Haaretz noted on January 6, 2011,71 “The Israeli intelligence community’s assessments of Iran’s nuclear capability have changed during Dagan’s tenure,” the story noted. “In 2003, Israeli intelligence officials thought Iran would have its first bomb by 2007. In 2007, they thought it would be 2009, and a year later they put it at 2011. Now the date has moved to 2015. These adjustments were not the result of mistaken evaluations, but due to the difficulties Iran has encountered in advancing its program, largely because of the Mossad’s efforts…Dagan’s term centered around two main issues: the Iranian nuclear program; and the assassinations of Hezbollah and Hamas leaders and Iranian scientists, most if not all of which have been attributed to the Mossad.”

Lis, Jonathan. “Former Mossad chief: Nuclear Iran must not be neglected like North Korea.” Haaretz. January 17, 2011. http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/former-mossad-chief-nuclear-iranmust-not-be-neglected-like-north-korea-1.337569 68

69

Jonathan Lis. “New MI chief: Iran could have nukes within two years.” Haaretz, Jan. 25 2010 http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/new-mi-chief-iran-could-have-nukes-within-two-years-1.339137 “Iran not working on bomb: Israel intelligence head.” AFP. January 25, http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5gShKfmWcoQ1ABBQ_DodMUUh61ckA 70

2011.

Melman, Yossi. “Outgoing Mossad chief: Iran won't have nuclear capability before 2015.” Haaretz. January 7, 2011. http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/outgoing-mossad-chief-iran-won-t-have-nuclearcapability-before-2015-1.335656 71

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Israeli officials has since had to deal with growing warnings from the President, the Secretary of Defense, and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs that the US oppose an Israeli preventive strike. This led to a new series of conflicting statements by Israeli senior political figures, officials and officers, and made preventive strikes a key issue in Prime Minster Netanyahu’s visit to Washington in March 2012. One the one hand it led to uncertain press reports of detailed Israeli strike plans, claims Iran was developing ICBMs to attack the US, and that Israel would not notify the US if its did launch a preventive strike. On the other hand, it led a senior statesman like Israel’s President Shimon Peres to state that an Israeli strike might be necessary and that, 72 We need a total and clear commitment that the catastrophe of Iran will not create an impossible situation.. If you can achieve it by economic and political measures, yes, that’s the best way to start. But in order that the Iranians will take it seriously, you have to say, ‘Gentlemen, we’ll try the way which may be the best, but all the other options are on the table…You have to be decisive…You have to make a choice.”

All of these Israeli statements are hard to put in context. Like the US, Israeli experts and officials have never provide public statements revealing their estimates of what Iran’s ultimate force goals are, how many weapons it will have of what yield, and the progress it will have made in delivery systems. This means there is no unclassified basis for understanding the degree to which Israeli leaders and defense planners feel a combination of Israel’s undeclared nuclear forces, missile and air defenses, and support from the US in the form of additional missile defenses and an as yet undefined US extended regional deterrent could safely contain an Iranian threat and deter nuclear and missile attacks. Israeli Public Opinion Figure IV.72 through Figure IV.77 reflect Israeli public opinion regarding an Israeli strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities, as well as the potential aftermath thereof. These data show that there is no unified public opinion regarding such a strike, and that there is a wide range of disparate views among Jewish and non-Jewish Israelis alike.

FigureIV.72: Israeli Public Opinion Regarding a Strike on Iran’s Nuclear Facilities -1

72

Jodi Rudoren, “Peres Says U.S. Must Put All Iran Options on Table,” New York Times, March 1, 2012, http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/02/world/middleeast/peres-says-us-must-put-all-iran-options-ontable.html?_r=1

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Source: Telhami, Shibley. “February 2012 Israeli Public Opinion Survey.” Sadat Chair at the University of Maryland/Dahaf Institute, Israel. February 2012. http://Sadat.umd.edu/TelhamiIsraelPollFebruary2012[1].pdf

FigureIV.73: Israeli Public Opinion Regarding a Strike on Iran’s Nuclear Facilities -2 140


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Source: Telhami, Shibley. “February 2012 Israeli Public Opinion Survey.” Sadat Chair at the University of Maryland/Dahaf Institute, Israel. February 2012. http://Sadat.umd.edu/TelhamiIsraelPollFebruary2012[1].pdf

FigureIV.74: Israeli Public Opinion Regarding a Strike on Iran’s Nuclear Facilities -3 141


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Telhami, Shibley. “February 2012 Israeli Public Opinion Survey.” Sadat Chair at the University of Maryland/Dahaf Institute, Israel. February 2012. http://Sadat.umd.edu/TelhamiIsraelPollFebruary2012[1].pdf

FigureIV.75: Israeli Public Opinion Regarding a Strike on Iran’s Nuclear Facilities -4 142


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Telhami, Shibley. “February 2012 Israeli Public Opinion Survey.” Sadat Chair at the University of Maryland/Dahaf Institute, Israel. February 2012. http://Sadat.umd.edu/TelhamiIsraelPollFebruary2012[1].pdf

FigureIV.76: Israeli Public Opinion Regarding a Strike on Iran’s Nuclear Facilities -5 143


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Telhami, Shibley. “February 2012 Israeli Public Opinion Survey.” Sadat Chair at the University of Maryland/Dahaf Institute, Israel. February 2012. http://Sadat.umd.edu/TelhamiIsraelPollFebruary2012[1].pdf

FigureIV.77: Israeli Public Opinion Regarding a Strike on Iran’s Nuclear Facilities -6 144


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Telhami, Shibley. “February 2012 Israeli Public Opinion Survey.” Sadat Chair at the University of Maryland/Dahaf Institute, Israel. February 2012. http://Sadat.umd.edu/TelhamiIsraelPollFebruary2012[1].pdf

Potential Israeli Options for Striking Iran’s Nuclear Program Israeli officials have never publically discussed the details of Israel’s options for striking against Iran’s nuclear programs. It is possible, however, to discuss various scenarios. Illustrative 145


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examples of Israeli options for such a strike include the following courses of action described in Figure IV.78 to Figure IV.80. 

Figure IV.78 shows what a low yield Israeli nuclear strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities would look like. Israel would use either ballistic missiles or nuclear-armed strike aircraft to carry out such a mission.

Figure IV.79 and Figure IV.80 present a picture of what an Israeli conventional strike using air power would like. Israeli aircraft could take any one of three routes (northern, central, or southern), all of which would involve traversing unfriendly air space to reach targets in Iran. The central route would involve flying through 1,500-1,700 kilometers through Jordan and Iraq, the southern route would involve flying 1,900-2,100 kilometers through Saudi Arabia, and the northern route would involve flying 2,600-2,800 kilometers in a loop through Turkey.

It seems likely that any current Israeli preventive strike would be conventional. Iran does not yet have nuclear weapons and any Israeli first use of nuclear weapons of the kind shown in Figure IV.78 would lead to an almost universal international condemnation of Israel, force a hostile reaction on Arab states that might otherwise at tolerate a successful Israel strike, present major problems in terms of US-Israeli relations, lead to condemnation in the UN, and possibly to sanctions and war crimes trials. Moreover, it is unclear that Israel could count on the level of reliability and accuracy to use low yield weapons against hardened targets like Natanz and Fordow, and would have to use ground bursts against other targets to get suitable levels of damage. The use of a strike aircraft to deliver a low yield nuclear weapon would reduce these risks, but not the massive political risks in initiating a nuclear war against a state that did not yet have nuclear weapons. It seems unlikely that Israel would launch a preemptive or preventative nuclear strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities until it is far clearer that Iran actually developed and began to deploy nuclear weapons. Israel’s assessment of risks involved would then depend heavily on Iran’s target base, its knowledge of Iran’s nuclear and missile targets, and its assessment of Iran’s willingness to use such weapons and Israel’s deterrent and defensive capabilities. This situation might be different if Israel has – or acquires – missiles with terminal guidance. Even then, however, launching a nuclear strike on small military targets is very different from targeting a city. There are no unclassified indications that Israel has had the opportunity to test fire missiles fired conditions similar enough to such strikes to be certain of their reliability and accuracy in such a complex attack. Relying on engineering performance data and related – but not similar – test and evaluation would present a significant risk of failure. An Israeli conventional strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities of the kind shown in Figure IV.79 and Figure IV.80 would have an uncertain probability of lasting success for several reasons. Given the unfriendly airspace Israeli strike aircraft would have to traverse to reach Iran’s facilities as well as Israel’s geographic distance from Iran, the likelihood of Israel being able to carry out repeated strikes is low. Israeli strike aircraft would only have one opportunity to strike at Iran’s nuclear facilities. Moreover, Iran’s nuclear facilities are dispersed and fortified, and a single Israeli strike would probably only temporarily impede Iran’s nuclear progress. Even if Israel had the attack capabilities needed for the destruction of the all elements of the Iranian nuclear program, it is doubtful whether Israel has the kind of intelligence needed to be certain that all the necessary elements of the program were traced and destroyed fully. Israel has good photographic coverage of Iran with the Ofeq series of reconnaissance satellites, but being 146


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so distant from Iran, one can assume that other kinds of intelligence coverage are rather partial and weak. An Illustrative Air Strike Israel would have to make very difficult calculations of how many combat aircraft it could actually supporting in operations over Iranian air space, knowing that two of the most hardened targets which would require the highest payload to attack are at Fordow and Natanz and are relatively deep in Iran . It would have to choose between a maximum force with maximum effectiveness, and a smaller force that would be easier to refuel and support. It would have to decide whether it would use only strike aircraft, send in fighter escorts, and how many fighters it would use that carried anti-radiation missiles and electronic jammers and warfare equipment versus ground attack payloads. Air defense and strike fighters are not passenger or cargo aircraft, They are small aircraft with limited range and payload. Every mile flown outside the direct flight path to targets in Iran would burn critical fuel. A Jordan that tolerated Israeli flights and denied any knowledge of such an attack would ease – but scarcely eliminate – Israel’s problems and present a serious risk of political complications for Jordan. Flying through a Syria in political chaos might be easier but the least vulnerable routes through Syria are to the north and might require the Israeli aircraft to fly out over the Mediterranean and penetrate through northern Syria, adding to the range. Flying through Saudi Arabia would risk encountering a modern fighter force and it is unclear that the Saudi government would ever give even tacit permission. Iraq has no meaningful air force and no surface to air missiles, but overflights of Iraq would present political problems for the US. Flying low to avoid or minimize radar detection burns far more fuel than flying higher, more detectable flight profiles. A major electronic warfare effort to protect fighters might give warning to Iran. Any major maneuver to avoid Iranian fighters, or an Iranian surface-to-air missile would consume far more fuel than a simply penetration and attack profile, and create serious risks in terms of need for refueling or loss of the aircraft. This would be particularly true if the Israeli fighter had to use afterburner for more than a brief time. Israel could mount a relatively large attack force relative to the number of major Iranian targets if it choose to do. In a conventional strike, Israel could launch and refuel two-three full squadrons of 36 to 54 combat aircraft for a single set of strikes with refueling. It could use either its best F15s (28 F-15C/D, 25 F- 15I Ra'am or part of its 126 F-16 CDs and 23 F-16I Sufas. It has at least three specially configured squadrons with conformal fuel tanks specially designed for extended range use. It could add fighter escorts, but refueling and increased warning and detection would be major problems. For the purposes of guessing at how Israeli might attack, its primary aircraft would probably be the F-15I, although again this is guesswork. Global Security describes the F15I as follows. The key aspects are that Boeing’s (formerly McDonnell Douglas) F-15E Strike Eagle entered service with the IDF/Heyl Ha’Avir (Israeli Air Force) in January of 1998 and was designated the F-15I Ra’am (Thunder). The F-15E Strike Eagle is the ground attack variant of the F-15 air superiority fighter, capable of attacking targets day or night, and in all weather conditions. The two-seat F-15I, known as the Thunder in Israel, incorporates new and unique weapons, avionics, electronic warfare, and communications capabilities that make it one of the most advanced F-15s. Israel finalized its decision to purchase 25 F-15Is in November 1995. The F-15I, like the US Air Force's F-15E

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Strike Eagle, is a dual-role fighter that combines long-range interdiction with the Eagle's air superiority capabilities. All aircraft are to be configured with either the F100-PW-229 or F110-GE-129 engines by direct commercial sale; Night Vision Goggle compatible cockpits; an Elbit display and sight helmet (DASH) system; conformal fuel tanks; and the capability to employ the AIM-120, AIM-7, AIM-9, and a wide variety of air-to-surface munitions. Though externally the Ra’am looks similar to its USAF counterpart, there are some differences, mainly in the electronic countermeasures gear and the exhaust nozzles. The Ra’am has a counterbalance on the port vertical stabilizer instead of the AN/ALQ-128 EWWS (Electronic Warfare Warning System) antenna found on USAF Strike Eagles. The Ra’am uses two AN/ALQ- 135B band 3 antennas, one mounted vertically (starboard side) and one horizontally (port side). These are located on the end of the tail booms. They are distinguished by their chiseled ends, unlike the original AN/ALQ-135 antenna, which is round and located on the port tail boom of USAF Eagles. The Ra’am utilizes extra chaff/flare dispensers mounted in the bottom side of the tail booms. Unlike USAF Eagles, the Ra’am still use engine actuator covers (turkey feathers) on their afterburner cans. The US Air Force removed them because of cost and nozzle maintenance, though curiously, USAF F-16s still have their actuator covers installed. Israeli Strike Eagles and some USAF Eagles based in Europe use CFT air scoops. These scoops provide extra cooling to the engines. The 25 F-15Is operational since 1999 [and the 100 F-16Is] were procured first and foremost to deal with the Iranian threat. In August 2003 the Israeli Air Force demonstrated the strategic capability to strike far-off targets such as Iran [which is 1,300 kilometers away], by flying three F- 15 jets to Poland 1,600 nautical miles away. After they celebrated that country's air force's 85th birthday, on their return trip, the IAF warplanes staged a fly-past over the Auschwitz death camp.

The Limits to Israeli Capabilities One key problem, would be achieving a high probably of lasting destruction against harden targets like Natanz and Fordow, At least some Israeli strike aircraft would probably need to carry close to their maximum payloads to achieve the necessary level of damage against most targets suspected of WMD activity, although any given structure could be destroyed with 1-3 weapons. (This would include the main Bushehr reactor enclosure, but is real-world potential value to an Iranian nuclear program is limited compared to more dispersed and/or hardened targets). At least limited refueling would be required, and back-up refueling and recovery would be an issue. Carrying the higher payloads necessary to hit harden targets would be more demanding. One key weapon that might be used against hard targets and underground sites like Natanz would be the GBU-28, although the US may have quietly given Israel much more sophisticated systems or Israel may have developed its own hard target killer, including a nuclear armed variant. The GBU-28 is carried by the F-15I. It is a "5,000 pound" laser guided bomb with a 4,400-pound earth-penetrating warhead that can be upgraded by the IAF to use electro- optical or GPS targeting. It is a vintage weapon dating back to the early 1990s, and the IAF is reported to have bought at least 100. It has been steadily upgraded since 1991 and the USAF ordered an improved version in 1996. It looks like a long steel tube with rear fins and a forward guidance module. It can glide some 3-7 miles depending on the height of delivery. It is 153" long X 14.5" in diameter. Choices would have to be made as to how many known and suspect targets would be attacked with what level of lasting damage and civilian casualties and collateral damage. Multiple strikes on the dispersed buildings and entries in a number of facilities would be necessary to ensure adequate damage without restrikes – which may not be feasible for Israel given the limits to its 148


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sortie generation capability over even Iranian soft targets. As for hardened and underground targets, the IAF's mix of standoff precision-guided missiles – such as Harpoon or Popeye – would not have the required lethality with conventional warheads and Israel's use of even small nuclear warheads would cause obvious problems. Israel may have specially designed or adapted weapons for such strikes, and bought 500 bunkerbusters from the US in February 2005. Experts speculated whether the purchase was a power projection move or whether Israel was in fact planning to use these conventional bombs against Iranian nuclear sites. These speculations were further exacerbated when the Israeli Chief of Staff, Lt. General Dan Halutz, was asked how far Israel would go to stop Iran's nuclear program, he said “2,000 kilometers.” The hard target bombs it has acquired from the US are bunker-busters, however, are not systems designed to kill underground facilities. They could damage entrances but not the facilities. What is not known is whether Israel has its own ordnance or has secretly acquired more sophisticated systems. The “shell game” or “lottery targeting” problem illustrated in comparing the two very different target lists in Figure IV.58 and Figure 59 would be equally serious. Israel may or may not feel it has an accurate targeting list of all key Iranian facilities. It is very unlikely, however, that this list is perfect, it is almost certain far too long for Israel to strike at many suspect targets, strikes could involve significant innocent civil casualties and collateral damage, and Iran may well be hiding and dispersing much of its highly enriched material and ability to produce advanced centrifuges and reconstitute its nuclear programs. Moreover, at least some of these facilities seem to be in northeast Iran, greatly complicating the range-payload and survivable strike problems Israel would face, and radically altering the kind of strike profiles shown in Figure IV.67 and Figure 68. Unless Israel has near total, real-time, transparency into Iran’s programs, it could probably only hit a limited number of nuclear facilities – and probably no missile, biological, or chemical facilities unless it was certain these posed so active a threat that they could no be avoided. This means an Israeli strike on Iran’s best know targets might appear to be successful, but actually be a failure. It also raises the critical issue of legitimizing an Iranian nuclear weapons program in the eyes of Iranians and many others that could recreate a threat under conditions involving far more resources and where Iran found an excuse to withdraw from the NNPT and halt all inspection. Another key problem would be refueling Israeli fighters – particularly if they had to engage in even preparatory air-to-air combat or surface-to-air missile evasion -- and creating a survivable mix of tankers and any mix of enabling electronic warfare, intelligence, and air control aircraft. Israel’s 5 KC-130H and 5 B-707 tankers are slow and vulnerable and would need escorts – and its ordinary B-707 AE&W, ELINT and electronic warfare aircraft are also slow fliers, although the new G-550 Shaved ELINT aircraft is a fast flier and the IAF has some long-range UAV that could support its aircraft, before, during, and after such missions. The big manned “slow fliers” would have serious problems penetrating and surviving in Iranian air space. The radars in the countries involved would probably detect all IAF and US missions relatively quickly, and very low-altitude penetration profiles would lead to serious range-payload problems. The countries overflown would then be confronted with the need to either react or 149


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have limited credibility in claiming surprise. An over flight of Iraq – which currently has no meaningful air force and no surface-to-air missiles – might be seen in the region as having to have had a US “green light,” although the problems the US has had in creating a meaningful strategic framework agreement with Iraq have reduced the implied level of US responsibility for protecting Iraqi air space. Israel has, however, specially configured some of its F-15s and F-16s with targeting, EW, SAMsuppression aids, and ELINT for this kind of mission. The full details of such capabilities are unknown. Israel would also have to stage such aircraft at some point over Arab territory as well as use fighters to escort and protect them. Assembling a mix of tankers and enablers to wait over Arab territory or the Gulf while Israeli fighters struck targets in Iran would increase the problem of detection and exposing forces over Arab countries. Assembling a scattered force of tankers and enablers would present command and control problems and leave the individual elements more vulnerable. Staging them over the Mediterranean off the Syrian coast might be a partial solution, but would increase the risk fighters might run of fuel or have to abort their missions. Repeated strikes would be a major political and military problem. Israel might get away with going through Jordan and then through Saudi Arabia/Gulf or Iraq once, given the fears these countries have of Iran’s nuclear efforts. However, any repeated effort would be too politically dangerous for Arab governments to easily tolerate. Israel would probably face problems in getting accurate restrike and battle damage data for missions against several of the targets involve using its intelligence satellites and UCAVs. A lack of totally reliable and its battle damage assessment and time-urgent retargeting capabilities for precision strikes with a target mix as complex as Iran's could be another major problem. Much would depend on just how advanced Israel’s long-range UAV capabilities really are and whether Israel could get access to US intelligence and IS&R capabilities for both its initial targeting and restrikes, but confirming the actual nature of damage, carrying out restrikes, and sending a clear signal that Israel can repeat its strikes if Iran rebuilds or creates new facilities would be a problem. As senior US officers and officials have repeatedly warned, the aftermath of such an attack would also be a major problem. Iran would almost certainly see Jordanian, Turkish, and/or Saudi tolerance of such an IAF strike as a hostile act. It might well claim a US “green light” in any case in an effort to mobilize hostile Arab and Muslim (and possibly world) reactions. At a minimum, the attack would trigger years of Iranian efforts in the UN and other forums to charge Israel with aggression. As is discussed later in this analysis, it would also have a range of military options. All that said, Israel may well be preparing for a strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities. In early November of 2011, Israeli aircraft participated in a large exercise with Italy over Sardinia, over 2,300 km from Israel.73 The exercises involved fighters jets, aerial refueling and airborne warning and control aircraft. Furthermore, Israeli pilots were able to fly against adversaries flying unfamiliar aircraft such as the Eurofighter. 73

Pfeffer, Anshel. “IDF Insists Preparedness Drills and Military Exercises are Not Tied to Iran Chatter.” Haaretz. November 3, 2011. http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/idf-insists-preparedness-drills-and-militaryexercises-are-not-tied-to-iran-chatter-1.393384

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While a simulation of an attack on Iran was not the stated purpose of the exercises, an IAF Lieutenant Colonel identified only as “Yiftah” stated that such exercises are important because flying over unfamiliar territory “prepares people for battle over unfamiliar ground.” 74 Moreover, he stated that, “we train for long-range flights and prepare ourselves for every type of terrain."75 A pilot of the Knights of the North squadron, identified only as “Major B.,” stated that, “we’re practicing in a unknown place. The size of our flight field is larger than the entire State of Israel, allowing us to practice things we can’t back home.”76 While somewhat vague and unspecific, such statements are indicative of the emphasis the training placed on mounting a long distance operation over large, unfamiliar terrain and airspace. Although preparation for a strike on Iran was not the stated objective of the exercise, it could be considered as a test-run for the kind of operation Israel would mount to strike at Iran. Given the similar distances of both objectives and the dispersed nature of Iran’s nuclear program, Israel would have to engage in the same kind of operational planning to carry out such a strike as it did in its exercises with the Italian Air Force. In September 2011, reports surfaced that the Obama administration transferred an unknown number of 5000 lb. GUB-28 Hard Target Penetrator bunker busters to Israel. Israel reportedly requested the weapons as early as 2005.77 Although it is uncertain to what level exactly these bombs could enable Israel to launch an effective strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities or damage its program in a meaningful way, they do provide Israel with an increased comparative capability to do so. Dealing with The Iranian Response Israel would have to face the impact of US opposition to such an attack, as well as the Arab reaction to an attack on a Muslim – if dangerous rival – state. Key neighbors like Turkey and most of the rest of the world would also oppose such a strike. This reaction would also be determined to some extent by Israel’s success and losses, and the outside world would probably see partial success as serious failure. This would be particularly true if the Israeli attack caused the US major political problems or pushed it into having to follow up the Israel attack to bring some level of stability to a failed or too limited Israeli effort – the “trigger force” problem. If Israel used conventional air and missile power to strike at Iran’s nuclear program, Iran would also be able to respond in a variety of different ways. Many of these options have already been Pfeffer, Anshel. “IDF Insists Preparedness Drills and Military Exercises are Not Tied to Iran Chatter.” Haaretz. November 3, 2011. http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/idf-insists-preparedness-drills-and-militaryexercises-are-not-tied-to-iran-chatter-1.393384 74

Pfeffer, Anshel. “IDF Insists Preparedness Drills and Military Exercises are Not Tied to Iran Chatter.” Haaretz. November 3, 2011. http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/idf-insists-preparedness-drills-and-militaryexercises-are-not-tied-to-iran-chatter-1.393384 75

76

idfspokesperson.com. “The Israeli and Italian Airforces Train Together in Joint Exercise in Sardinia.” November 3, 2011. http://idfspokesperson.com/2011/11/03/the-israeli-and-italian-airforces-train-together-in-joint-exercise-insardinia/ “Report: Obama gave 'bunker-busters' to http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0911/64260.html 77

Israel.”

September

23,

2011.

Politico.

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discussed in Chapter III, and there is no way to be sure what approach Iran would take. In broad terms, its choices include: 

Withdraw from the NPT and increase its long-term resolve to develop a nuclear deterrent program.

Create an all-out nuclear weapons program with its surviving equipment and technology base, using Israel’s strike and aggression as an excuse to openly pursue a nuclear program.

Shift to genetically engineered biological weapons if such a program does not already exist.

Immediate retaliation using its ballistic missiles on Israel. Multiple launches of Shahab-3 including the possibility of CBR warheads against Tel Aviv, Israeli military and civilian centers, and Israeli suspected nuclear weapons sites.

Accuse the US of “green lighting” the Israeli strike, and being the real cause of the attacks.

Launch political attacks on Arab regimes friendly to the US on the grounds they did noting to prevent an attack on Israel’s greatest enemy.

Use allied or “proxy” groups such as Hezbollah or Hamas to attack Israel proper with suicide bombings, covert CBR attacks, and rocket attacks from southern Lebanon.

Launch asymmetric attacks against American interests and allies in the Arabian Gulf.

Target US and Western shipping in the Gulf, and possibly attempt to interrupt the flow of oil through the Strait of Hormuz.

Attack US forces, ships, or facilities in the Gulf or anywhere in the world as a way of showing that Iran could attacks the “great Satan” and Israel ‘s closest ally.

Strike at Israeli or Jewish targets anywhere in the world using Iranian agents or anti-Israeli-proxies.

Try to use the UN and/or World Court to attack Israel for aggression and war crimes.

Transfer high technology small air-to-surface and guided anti-armor weapons to Hamas, Hezbollah, or other extreme anti-Israeli groups. Provide them with more lethal rockets, UCAVs, and chemical weapons.

Seek to use its leverage with Iraq, Syria, and Hezbollah to create an actual “Shi’ite crescent” to create a more intense range of threats to Israel.

Try to use the transfer of funds and arms, the MOIS/Vevak, and other covert means to influence the new regimes coming out of unrests in the Arab world to be far more aggressively anti-Israel.

In late February 2012, reports surfaced that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak informed US officials that Israel would not provide the US with advance notice prior to an Israeli strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities.78 In such a case, the US would have minimal time to prepare for and counter a range of probable Iranian responses, including those mentioned above. It is unknowable whether or not such an action would drag the US unexpectedly into a larger conflict with Iran, although such a scenario remains a distinct possibility as the US would have to respond to potential Iranian counter attacks on Gulf commercial traffic, US forces in the region, and the US’s Gulf Arab allies. Every military action has consequences that go far beyond its immediate military impact. In most cases, the ‘law of unintended consequences” dominates events over time. It is easy to both “Israel Would Not Notify U.S. of Impending Iran Attack: Report.” Global Security Newswire. February 28, 2012. http://www.nti.org/gsn/article/israel-would-not-warn-us-impending-iran-attack-official/ 78

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exaggerate the risks Israel, the US, US regional allies, and commercial shipping through the Strait of Hormuz would face from such strikes and to dangerously underestimate them. For all of the reasons cite earlier in this analysis, however, both Israel’s potential success and the political and military aftermath of any Israeli strikes would at best be uncertain and further destabilize a deeply unstable region.

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FigureIV.78: Low-Yield Israeli Nuclear Strike on Iran’s Nuclear Facilities

Source: Dr. Abdullah Toukan

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Figure IV.79: Israeli Conventional Strike on Iran’s Nuclear Facilities

(Strike Force: 25 F-15I plus 55 F-16C/I)

(440 nmi)

(420 nmi) To Esfahan

(250 nmi) from North of Israel

11

Source: Dr. Abdullah Toukan

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Figure IV.80: Prossible Israeli Strike Route

Source: Dr. Abdullah Toukan

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Implications for US Policy President Obama laid out US policy towards Iran’s nuclear efforts and preventive strikes in far more detail, and with far more frankness about preventive strikes, than the US have every publicly stated before in an interview in the Atlantic in March 2012. Key excerpts from the President’s statements illustrate both US concerns and US policy, and make it clear that the US prefers diplomatic options and has not given Israel any kind of support – or “green light” – in a preventive attack on Iran: "You're talking about the most volatile region in the world…It will not be tolerable to a number of states in that region for Iran to have a nuclear weapon and them not to have a nuclear weapon. Iran is known to sponsor terrorist organizations, so the threat of proliferation becomes that much more severe." He went on to say that "the dangers of an Iran getting nuclear weapons that then leads to a free-for-all in the Middle East is something that I think would be very dangerous for the world." …In addition to the profound threat that it poses to Israel, one of our strongest allies in the world; in addition to the outrageous language that has been directed toward Israel by the leaders of the Iranian government -- if Iran gets a nuclear weapon, this would run completely contrary to my policies of nonproliferation. The risks of an Iranian nuclear weapon falling into the hands of terrorist organizations are profound. It is almost certain that other players in the region would feel it necessary to get their own nuclear weapons. So now you have the prospect of a nuclear arms race in the most volatile region in the world, one that is rife with unstable governments and sectarian tensions. And it would also provide Iran the additional capability to sponsor and protect its proxies in carrying out terrorist attacks because they are less fearful of retaliation. …But I want to make clear that when we travel around the world and make presentations about this issue, that's not how we frame it. We frame it as: this is something in the national-security interests of the United States and in the interests of the world community. And I assure you that Europe would not have gone forward with sanctions on Iranian oil imports -- which are very difficult for them to carry out because they get a lot of oil from Iran -- had it not been for their understanding that it is in the world's interest, to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon. China would not have abided by the existing sanctions coming out of the National Security Council, and other countries around the world would not have unified around those sanctions had it not been for us making the presentation about why this was important for everyone, not just one country. …I think it's important to recognize, though, that the prime minister (of Israel) is also head of a modern state that is mindful of the profound costs of any military action, and in our consultations with the Israeli government, I think they take those costs, and potential unintended consequences, very seriously. …as Israel's closest friend and ally, and as one that has devoted the last three years to making sure that Israel has additional security capabilities, and has worked to manage a series of difficult problems and questions over the past three years, I do point out to them that we have a sanctions architecture that is far more effective than anybody anticipated, that we have a world that is about as united as you get behind the sanctions; that our assessment, which is shared by the Israelis, is that Iran does not yet have a nuclear weapon and is not yet in a position to obtain a nuclear weapon without us having a pretty long lead time in which we will know that they are making that attempt. In that context, our argument is going to be that it is important for us to see if we can solve this thing permanently, as opposed to temporarily. And the only way, historically, that a country has ultimately decided not to get nuclear weapons without constant military intervention has been when they themselves take [nuclear weapons] off the table. That's what happened in Libya, that's what happened in South Africa. And we think that, without in any way being under an illusion about Iranian intentions, without in any way being naive about the nature of that regime, they are self-interested. They recognize that they are in a bad, bad place right now. It is possible for them to make a strategic calculation that, at minimum, pushes much further to the right whatever potential breakout capacity they may have, and that may turn out to be the best decision for Israel's security.

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… I think the prime minister -- and certainly the defense minister -- would acknowledge that we've never had closer military and intelligence cooperation. When you look at what I've done with respect to security for Israel, from joint training and joint exercises that outstrip anything that's been done in the past, to helping finance and construct the Iron Dome program to make sure that Israeli families are less vulnerable to missile strikes, to ensuring that Israel maintains its qualitative military edge, to fighting back against delegitimization of Israel, whether at the [UN] Human Rights Council, or in front of the UN General Assembly, or during the Goldstone Report, or after the flare-up involving the flotilla -- the truth of the matter is that the relationship has functioned very well. …There is no doubt they (Iran’s leaders) are isolated. They have a very ingrown political system. They are founded and fueled on hostility towards the United States, Israel, and to some degree the West. And they have shown themselves willing to go outside international norms and international rules to achieve their objectives. All of this makes them dangerous. They've also been willing to crush opposition in their own country in brutal and bloody ways. …If Iran gets a nuclear weapon, I won't name the countries, but there are probably four or five countries in the Middle East who say, "We are going to start a program and we will have nuclear weapons." And at that point, the prospect for miscalculation in a region that has that many tensions and fissures is profound. You essentially then duplicate the challenges of India and Pakistan fivefold or tenfold. …The potential for escalation in those circumstances is profoundly dangerous, and in addition to just the potential human costs of a nuclear escalation like that in the Middle East, just imagine what would happen in terms of the world economy. The possibilities of the sort of energy disruptions that we've never seen before occurring, and the world economy basically coming to a halt, would be pretty profound. So when I say this is in the U.S. interest, I'm not saying this is something we'd like to solve. I'm saying this is something we have to solve. …I think it's fair to say that the last three years, I've shown myself pretty clearly willing, when I believe it is in the core national interest of the United States, to direct military actions, even when they entail enormous risks. And obviously, the bin Laden operation is the most dramatic, but al-Qaeda was on its [knees] well before we took out bin Laden because of our activities and my direction. … there's no doubt that Iran is much weaker now than it was a year ago, two years ago, three years ago. The Arab Spring, as bumpy as it has been, represents a strategic defeat for Iran because what people in the region have seen is that all the impulses towards freedom and self-determination and free speech and freedom of assembly have been constantly violated by Iran. [The Iranian leadership is] no friend of that movement toward human rights and political freedom. But more directly, it is now engulfing Syria, and Syria is basically their only true ally in the region. And it is our estimation that [President Bashar al-Assad's] days are numbered. It's a matter not of if, but when. Now, can we accelerate that? We're working with the world community to try to do that. It is complicated by the fact that Syria is a much bigger, more sophisticated, and more complicated country than Libya, for example -- the opposition is hugely splintered -- that although there's unanimity within the Arab world at this point, internationally, countries like Russia are still blocking potential UN mandates or action. And so what we're trying to do - and the secretary of state just came back from helping to lead the Friends of Syria group in Tunisia -- is to try to come up with a series of strategies that can provide humanitarian relief. But they can also accelerate a transition to a peaceful and stable and representative Syrian government. If that happens, that will be a profound loss for Iran.

In response to these comments, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated the following:

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“I very much appreciated the fact that President Obama reiterated his position that Iran must not be allowed to develop nuclear weapons and that all options are on the table. I also appreciated the fact that he made clear that when it comes to a nuclear armed Iran, containment is simply not an option, and equally in my judgment, perhaps most important of all, I appreciated the fact that he said that Israel must be able to defend itself, by itself, against any threat. I appreciate all his statements and I look forward to discussing them further with President Obama tomorrow.”79

March 2, 2012, Prime Minister Netanyahu followed up on his response by making explicit demands regarding Iran’s uranium stockpile, and warned the international against further talks and negotiations with Iran: “Right now, Iran is feeling the pressure from the economic sanctions, and it could try to evade that pressure by entering talks… I think the international community should not fall into this trap. I think the demands on Iran should be clear: Dismantle the underground nuclear facility in Qom, stop enrichment inside Iran and get all the enriched material out of Iran. And when I say all the material, I mean all the material.”80

Prime Minister Netanyahu’s statements make it clear that the Israeli leadership seeks not only halt to nuclear activity, but the surrender of Iran’s enriched uranium and nuclear material. President Obama reiterated his stated policy on Iran’s nuclear program on March 4, 2012 in a speech to an AIPAC conference: A nuclear-armed Iran is completely counter to Israel’s security interests. But it is also counter to the national security interests of the United States. Indeed, the entire world has an interest in preventing Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon. A nuclear-armed Iran would thoroughly undermine the non-proliferation regime that we have done so much to build. There are risks that an Iranian nuclear weapon could fall into the hands of a terrorist organization. It is almost certain that others in the region would feel compelled to get their own nuclear weapon, triggering an arms race in one of the most volatile regions in the world. It would embolden a regime that has brutalized its own people, and it would embolden Iran’s proxies, who have carried out terrorist attacks from the Levant to southwest Asia. ...And so from my very first months in office, we put forward a very clear choice to the Iranian regime: a path that would allow them to rejoin the community of nations if they meet their international obligations, or a path that leads to an escalating series of consequences if they don't. In fact, our policy of engagement - quickly rebuffed by the Iranian regime – allowed us to rally the international community as never before, to expose Iran’s intransigence, and to apply pressure that goes far beyond anything that the United States could do on our own. Because of our efforts, Iran is under greater pressure than ever before. Some of you will recall, people predicted that Russia and China wouldn’t join us to move toward pressure. They did. And in 2010 the U.N. Security Council overwhelmingly supported a comprehensive sanctions effort. Few thought that sanctions could have an immediate bite on the Iranian regime. They have, slowing the Iranian nuclear program and virtually grinding the Iranian economy to a halt in 2011. Many questioned whether we could hold our coalition together as we moved against Iran’s Central Bank and oil exports. But our friends in Europe and Asia and elsewhere are joining us. And in 2012, the Iranian government faces the prospect of even more crippling sanctions.

“Amanpour: Israeli Restraint a Tough Challenge for Obama.” CNN March 5, http://www.cnn.com/2012/03/05/world/meast/obama-netanyahu-iran-amanpour/?hpt=hp_t3 79

2012.

Trifunov, David. “A nuclear Iran threatens entire world, Netanyahu says.” Globalpost.com. March 2, 2012. http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/americas/120302/nuclear-iran-threatens-entireworld-netanyahu-says 80

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That is where we are today -- because of our work. Iran is isolated, its leadership divided and under pressure. And by the way, the Arab Spring has only increased these trends, as the hypocrisy of the Iranian regime is exposed, and its ally – the Assad regime – is crumbling. Of course, so long as Iran fails to meet its obligations, this problem remains unresolved. The effective implementation of our policy is not enough – we must accomplish our objective. And in that effort, I firmly believe that an opportunity still remains for diplomacy – backed by pressure – to succeed. The United States and Israel both assess that Iran does not yet have a nuclear weapon, and we are exceedingly vigilant in monitoring their program. Now, the international community has a responsibility to use the time and space that exists. Sanctions are continuing to increase, and this July – thanks to our diplomatic coordination – a European ban on Iranian oil imports will take hold. Faced with these increasingly dire consequences, Iran’s leaders still have the opportunity to make the right decision. They can choose a path that brings them back into the community of nations, or they can continue down a dead end. And given their history, there are, of course, no guarantees that the Iranian regime will make the right choice. But both Israel and the United States have an interest in seeing this challenge resolved diplomatically. After all, the only way to truly solve this problem is for the Iranian government to make a decision to forsake nuclear weapons. That’s what history tells us. ...Moreover, as President and Commander-in-Chief, I have a deeply held preference for peace over war. I have sent men and women into harm’s way. I've seen the consequences of those decisions in the eyes of those I meet who've come back gravely wounded, and the absence of those who don’t make it home. Long after I leave this office, I will remember those moments as the most searing of my presidency. And for this reason, as part of my solemn obligation to the American people, I will only use force when the time and circumstances demand it. And I know that Israeli leaders also know all too well the costs and consequences of war, even as they recognize their obligation to defend their country. We all prefer to resolve this issue diplomatically. Having said that, Iran’s leaders should have no doubt about the resolve of the United States – just as they should not doubt Israel’s sovereign right to make its own decisions about what is required to meet its security needs. I have said that when it comes to preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, I will take no options off the table, and I mean what I say. That includes all elements of American power: A political effort aimed at isolating Iran; a diplomatic effort to sustain our coalition and ensure that the Iranian program is monitored; an economic effort that imposes crippling sanctions; and, yes, a military effort to be prepared for any contingency. Iran’s leaders should understand that I do not have a policy of containment; I have a policy to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. And as I have made clear time and again during the course of my presidency, I will not hesitate to use force when it is necessary to defend the United States and its interests. Moving forward, I would ask that we all remember the weightiness of these issues; the stakes involved for Israel, for America, and for the world. Already, there is too much loose talk of war. Over the last few weeks, such talk has only benefited the Iranian government, by driving up the price of oil, which they depend on to fund their nuclear program. For the sake of Israel’s security, America’s security, and the peace and security of the world, now is not the time for bluster. Now is the time to let our increased pressure sink in, and to sustain the broad international coalition we have built. Now is the time to heed the timeless advice from Teddy Roosevelt: Speak softly; carry a big stick. And as we do, rest assured that the Iranian government will know our resolve, and that our coordination with Israel will continue.

The fact remains, however, that US and Iranian competition over Iran’s nuclear programs has spilled over into the entire region and the world, and is at – or near – the crisis point. Given the importance of the Gulf in global energy security, Iran’s goals of becoming a regional power, and socio-political instability in the Middle East, military competition between the US and Iran will either force some form of negotiation or continue to intensify. 160


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If it does, there are no good options. The choice moves toward preventive strikes of kind where the consequences are at best unpredictable. Any preventive attack – particular limited attack by Israel -- could lead to Iranian responses ranging from a battle of attrition in the Gulf to a major air-sea conflict or some kind of indirect attack on Israel using Hezbollah and Hamas. A preventive attacked could push Iran towards negotiations, but it could push it into a major new acceleration of its nuclear programs and the ongoing regional nuclear arms race. This race might lead to the creation of a successful mix of deterrence and defense on the part of all the nations involved, but it might equally lead to Iran and Israel targeting their respective populations at a potentially catastrophic level and involving the US and Arab states in an ongoing race to find suitable forms of defense, deterrence, and containment. A successful preventive attack would be a major air and missile war, and probably have to be followed by years of constant patrolling, threats to use force, and occasional restrikes. If not, such an action could be a temporary solution at best. The current level of maturity in Iran’s program nearly guarantees that Iran could rebuild its program without such a military overwatch and the willingness to use additional force. Moreover, without such follow up, a strike on Iran’s nuclear infrastructure might provide the Iranian regime with a justification to pursue nuclear weapons, and drive the program deeper underground. The best, lasting solution to Iran’s nuclear and missile programs is some form of negotiated political solution, and one driven by compromise and a “carrot and stick” approach. Such an approach would consist of offering Iran economic and other incentives to shelve its nuclear program, not simply penalizing it for continuing efforts at weaponization and refusing to comply with the IAEA. The risk is all too obvious, however, that the present situation will remain intractable. Negotiations between the US, Iran, and other states during the last decade have collapsed time and again due to the refusal of both sides to accept the basic demands of the other. Furthermore, the historical tension between the US and Iran states, as well as Iran’s foreign policy and military doctrine that are centered on neutralizing US conventional power in the region, make it unlikely that Iran will give up the added deterrence and perceived increase in regional influence and ability to intimidate that only a nuclear break capability or deployed nuclear force can provide. Iran is all too likely to continue to develop its ballistic missile program as both a weapon of intimidation, and a means to deliver a nuclear warhead should Iran successfully miniaturize a nuclear device. Given the range of Iran’s ballistic missiles, US installations in the Gulf, US allies in the Middle East, and much of southeast Europe will then be in range of an Iranian nuclear missile. Chapter V describes the progress the US and its allies have made in sanctions, and this seems to be the best course until Iran produces weapons grade material or move towards a test. Grim and uncertain as the prospect is, however, the US must then consult with its Arab Gulf and European allies and seriously consider preventive attacks. As is discussed in Chapter VI, and work with the southern Gulf states to ensure it can launch the level of strikes and maintain the persistent restrike options necessary to ensure Iran cannot be a nuclear threat. At best, however, this will be a last resort. It also does not mean that the US should not do everything possible to discourage any Israeli strike unless negotiating option have 161


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clearly failed, and Israel can do a far more effective job with far fewer negative consequences than seems likely for the unclassified data now available. The alternative is for key US allies, the flow of world energy exports, and the US and global economies to live under the growing shadow of an Israeli-Iranian nuclear arms race. Moreover, a arms where the forces involved ensure that the primary targets will be the other country’s population centers. Accepting this risk requires a belief in Iran’s restraint, in mutual deterrence based on a new regional form of mutual assured destruction, and accepting the risk other nations will join the race. It means accepting the risk of some miscalculation or accident triggering a disaster with massive humanitarian and economic costs. Accepting this risk also means the US must do everything possible to provide its Arab allies, Turkey, and Europe with missile defenses and to improve Israel’s missile defenses. It means making good on the US offer of extended deterrence to protect other states – potentially dragging the US into at least the periphery of a regional nuclear arms race and potential nuclear conflict. It also means living with the near certainty of tying the continuing asymmetric arms race in the Gulf, and the constant risk of clashes or more serious conflicts, to the risk of the linkage between Iran’s use of asymmetric warfare and future acquisition of nuclear forces. A “waiting option” that relies on diplomacy, sanctions, and the offer of incentives is scarcely a pleasant one, and it too is filled with risks that will increase on both a short and long term basis. It is, however, probably the least bad of a range of bad options, and it does give time for regime change to take place in Iran. The prospects of such a change really altering Iran’s actions and ambitions is uncertain – and many of the claims the regime is fragile and easy to change seem a triumph of hope and ideology over common sense. Yet, successful negotiations, containment and waiting for regime change do seem to be the best option available.

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a report of the csis burke chair in strategy

U.S. and Iranian Strategic Competition: The Sanctions game: Energy, Arms Control, and Regime Change

Authors Anthony H. Cordesman Alexander Wilner Sam Khazai

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EXECUTIVE SUMMARY This report analyzes US and Iranian strategic competition in four key areas—sanctions, energy, arms control, and regime change. It shows that shifts in the nature and intensity of sanctions on Iran have radically changed this aspect of US and Iranian competition since the Fall of 2011. This escalation has been spurred by Iran’s ongoing missile deployments and nuclear programs, as reported in sources like the November 2011 IAEA report highlighting the probable military dimensions of Iran’s nuclear program. It has also been spurred by incidents like an Iranian assassination plot against the Saudi Ambassador to the US, an Iranian-government-sponsored mob attack on the British Embassy in Tehran on November 30, 2011, and Iranian threats to “close” the Gulf to oil exports. A New Round of Sanctions Iran’s steady progress towards the capability to build nuclear weapons has led to a new round of sanctions from the US and its allies. Washington has sought to further isolate Iran economically through new US sanctions on the Iranian Central Bank and Iranian companies involved in its nuclear industry, including the petrochemical and oil industry. Iran’s primary source of revenue—crude oil exports—is further threatened by a unanimous decision by the European Union on January 23rd to impose a full embargo on the import of Iranian oil and petrochemicals. US and European actions since the latter half of 2011 have supported this strategy by steadily ratcheting up the pressure on Iran. 

March 2012, the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives continue to work on bills that would seek to blacklist essentially every Iranian bank, threaten penalties against European and other overseas companies that deal with any of these banks, and to target communications, software and technology companies that continue doing business with Iranian banks. This legislation would now interact with the EU action on SWIFT, and affect all Iranian institutions and any foreign institution that acted a front or cover for Iran. Members of Congress state that while the U.S. Treasury has already blacklisted 23 Iranian banks, Iran is using more than 20 other banks to finance its nuclear program and support for regional militant groups. 1

On March 15, 2012, the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, or Swift, complied with European Union sanctions on Iranian banks, and EU instructions to, “discontinue its communications services to Iranian financial institutions that are subject to European sanctions.” SWIFT is essential to international banking because it provide a secure communications network to more than 10,000 financial institutions and corporations in 210 countries, and SWIFT reported in 2010 that 19 Iranian member banks and 25 financial institutions used the network over 2 million times during the course of the year.2

In March 2012, as reports of Iran’s deepening economic conditions emerged, the government in Tehran came under increased economic pressure from the US Congress. On March 8, the House Foreign Affairs

1

Laurence Norman and Jay Soloman, “EU-US Split on Iran Banks Seen as Widening,” Wall Street Journal, March 16, 2012. 2

Rick Gladstone and Stephen Castle, “Global Network Expels as Many as 30 of Iran’s Banks in Move to Isolate Its Economy,” New York Times, March 16, 2012, http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/16/world/middleeast/crucialcommunication-network-expelling-iranian-banks.html?_r=1; Thomas Endbrink and Joby Warrick, “Grim Outlook on Nuclear Talks,” Washington Post, March 16, 2012, p. A7.

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, 2012 Committee reinforced earlier legislation by introducing with H.R. 4179, “The Iran Financial Sanctions Improvement Act of 2012”, expanding sanctions to cover other energy-related commerce. Concurrently, the same committee introduced H.R. 4173, designed to “direct the President to appoint a high-level United States Representative or special envoy for Iran” for the purposes of pursuing diplomatic means “to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon”. 3 

On February 2, 2012, the US Senate Banking Committee unanimously approved a new set of sanctions on Iran “targeting the global financial telecommunications network that nearly all banks depend on to conduct their daily business”. If the Senate Banking bill becomes law, it would direct the White House to demand the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) to eject Iran’s central bank, shutting Iran out of the system used to move money between banks worldwide, denying Iran from billions of dollars routed through the SWIFT banking system. 4

Additionally, at the end of February 2012, the U.S. Department of Treasury strengthened the preexisting Iranian Financial Sanctions Regulations (IFSR) with the implementation of subsection 1245(d). The amendment moves to extend punishment against “foreign financial institutions that knowingly conduct or facilitate certain significant financial transactions with the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) or a U.S.-designated Iranian financial institution”. In accordance with these actions, the Secretary of Treasury will impose sanctions on privately-owned foreign institutions, as well as government-owned or controlled financial institutions that conduct business with the Central Bank of Iran. 5

On February 6, 2012, the Obama administration followed suit as the President issued an Executive Order freezing the assets of the Iranian government and all Iranian financial institutions in the U.S. from being “transferred, paid, exported, withdrawn, or otherwise dealt with”. 6

In January 2012, the European Union, which accounts for roughly one-fifth of Iran’s oil exports, introduced new sanctions to be phased in over the course of the year in order to protect European counties with greatest reliance on Iranian oil. The EU embargo prohibits the purchase, transport, and import of Iranian crude oil, the export of major equipment and technology used by the oil sector, as well as related financial deals including insurance. European contracts already existing are allowed to continue until July 1, 2012. Additionally, the EU froze the assets of the Iran’s Central Bank in Europe, and banned the trade of gold and other materials between Europe and the Iranian Central Bank.7

In December 2011 the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 1905, the “Iran Threat Reduction Act”, strengthening US sanctions on the government in Tehran. Despite a December 1 letter to Congress from Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner expressing the administration’s need for flexibility in its approach towards Iran, the billed easily passed through the House with overwhelming bipartisan support.

In November 2011, the US Treasury Department rolled out a new round of unilateral sanctions under the auspices of the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act of 2010 (CISADA). These new sanctions targeted Iran’s petrochemical industry, Central Bank and financial sector, transportation infrastructure, and added dozens of names to the list of sanctioned individuals. These restrictions bar institutions in those countries from having a business relationship with any Iranian banks— including its Central Bank and its affiliates—as well as expanding the sanctions on Iranian individuals and placing new restrictions on the import of Iranian goods.

Text of House of Representative bills H.R. 4173 and H.R. 4179, from the Second Session of the 112 th U.S. Congress, introduced on March 8, 2012. 3

“Senate Panel Approves Potentially Toughest Penalty Yet Against Iran’s Wallet”, Rick Gladstone, The New York Times, February 2, 2012. 4

U.S. Department of the Treasury, “Factsheet: Treasury Amends Iranian Financial Sanctions Regulations to Implement the National Defense Authorization Act”, February 27, 2012. 5

“Executive Order—Blocking Property of the Government of Iran and Iranian Financial Institutions”, The White House, Office of the Press Secretary, February 6, 2012. 6

7

“EU Iran sanctions: Ministers adopt Iran oil imports ban”, BBC News, January 23, 2012.

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On November 21, 2011, the US Treasury Department designated Iran’s entire financial sector, including the Central Bank (and all Iranian banks) as “money laundering entities” for Iran-related transactions under Section 311 of the USA Patriot Act. On December 31, 2012, President Obama signed a FY2012 national defense authorization bill (S.1867) that contained an amendment that required the President to prevent a foreign bank from opening and account in the United States if that bank processed payments for oil through Iran’s Central Bank. Section 1245 of the act imposed these unilateral sanctions on the Central Bank of Iran in ways that impose major penalties against entities — including corporations and foreign central banks — which engage in transactions with the Iranian central bank. The sanctions on transactions unrelated to petroleum were to come into force 60 days after the bill was and sanctions on transactions related to petroleum were take effect a minimum of 180 days after the bill's signing. The amendment provided for a renewable waiver of 120 days duration if the President determined that doing so is in the national interest. On December 1, 2011, the amendment passed 100-0. These initiatives reflected the impact of a letter sent to president Obama signed by 92 Senators on an August 9, 2011 that called for “a comprehensive strategy to pressure Iran’s financial system by imposing sanctions” 8 on the Central Bank of Iran.

The US Department of State launched a “virtual embassy” for Iran in December 2011. This consisted of a website which was quickly blocked by Tehran amidst allegations that the US was attempting to recruit spies and foster internal regime change. US State department officials claimed that the site was merely an attempt to communicate to Iranians about their ability to secure student visas and explain US policy. It appears that the effort was aimed at weakening support for the regime among young, technically savvy Iranians. This was one of a series of US attempts to make pro-American media and resources available to populations inside Iran.

The European Union announced tighter sanctions in December 2011, on groups and individuals associated with the Iranian nuclear program. Key foreign ministers made it known that they were drafting and negotiating language that would reduce or completely bar importation of Iranian crude by EU member states. France and Britain pushed for a complete embargo, and the EU overcame hesitation over the possible impact such action would have on the global oil market at a meeting in mid January 2012 when the most vulnerable governments got assurances that sufficient spare capacity existed in Saudi Arabia and elsewhere to make up for the loss of Iranian oil without causing price shocks. EU officials announced a unanimous decision at their January 23, 2012 ministerial meeting that they would implement a full import embargo on Iranian oil and petrochemicals.

The US has put pressure on the international banking system that could potentially prevent Iran from using the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication ("SWIFT") which operates a worldwide financial messaging network which exchanges messages between banks and other financial institutions and makes secure financial transactions possible. At the same time, members of the US Congress have proposed new sanctions that could affect every international banking transaction with Iran, international insurance coverage with Iran, and all transitions with Iran’s state-owned oil company and its main tanker fleet.

The Obama White House is steadily escalating this aspect of US and Iranian competition, but it is doing so carefully and in ways that focus on international action rather than unilateral US action. More forceful sanctions will be pursued gradually and in ways that maximize multilateral buy-in. The Iranian financial, oil, transport, and petrochemical system will be increasingly isolated, to the extent possible. And the Administration will attempt to inform and empower population centers within Iran through channels such as the State Departments “Virtual Embassy” program, in hopes that an opposition movement will again foment and rise to For a more complete history, and discussion in detail of US sanctions legislation and Congressional options for the further strengthening of sanctions, see Kenneth Katzman, Iran sanctions, Congressional Research Service, Washington, DC, RS 20871, December 2, 2011. 8

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, 2012 challenge the regime, as external financial constraints, and domestic mismanagement continue to cause economic stagnation. In accordance with the Obama administration statements that “all options are on the table” in its policy towards Iran, recent statements by top US officials seek to communicate in clear terms the costs Tehran faces for continued obstinate and uncooperative behavior. On March 7 Defense Secretary Leon Panetta told the National Journal that the Pentagon is preparing an “array of military options for striking Iran if hard-hitting diplomatic and economic sanctions fail to persuade Tehran to drop its nuclear ambitions”.9 This comes despite earlier statements by Secretary Panetta doubting the effectiveness of a military strike. Just last month, Panetta acknowledged that “at best,” a military strike might set back Iran’s nuclear program “by one, possibly two years”.10 The Impact of Sanctions and the Iranian Reaction While the effects of the US and EU sanctions put in force in late 2011 and early 2012 will not become fully apparent until mid 2012 at the earliest, they are already reducing Iranian energy exports and revenues, and creating serious banking and trade problems for Iran. The Iranian Rial has become destabilized, and fell to record lows in January as currency markets reacted to the prospect of more limited foreign trade. The Iranian government, the Iranian economy, and the Iranian people are feeling the pressure. The Iranian reaction has been mixed, although it is worth mentioning that any admission of internal hardship by Tehran’s government is rare and notable:

9

Most remarkably, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei stated in March 2012 that “[t]his is good talk and shows and exit from delusion,” of President Obama’s apparent preference of a diplomatic rather than military resolution to the conflict with Iran. However even Khamenei’s rare conciliatory statement was followed with “But the U.S. president continued saying that he wants to make the Iranian people kneel through sanctions. This part of this speech shows the continuation of illusion in this issue.”11

As mentioned above, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad recently said before Parliament that the current sanctions regime was “the heaviest economic onslaught on a nation in history”.

On January 24, 2012, Mohsen Qamsari of the National Iranian Oil Company declared to Mehr News Agency that, “Iran can readily find new customers for its oil. We have no problem in selling oil.”

However, two days prior, on January 26, the former Iranian Oil Ministry deputy, Mehdi Hosseini, admitted that, “Losing the European oil market will have an impact on Iran’s economy which needs rational planning by the authorities. Selling oil at sub-market level prices is not a good way to counter the oil embargo.”

On February 19, 2012, Iran’s government responded to European Union sanctions by ordering a halt of oil exports to Britain and France. Earlier, the EU had moved to cut off Iranian oil imports and freeze Iranian central bank assets by July 2012.

On February 17, 2012, Iran’s senior nuclear negotiator, Saeed Jalili, declared his country’s “readiness for dialogue” at “the earliest possibility”.

“Panetta: Pentagon Planning for Potential Strikes”, Yochi Dreazan, The National Journal, March 8, 2012.

“U.S. intelligence chief sees limited benefit in an attack on Iran”, Ken Dilanian, The Los Angeles Times, February 16, 2012. 10

11

“Iran's Ayatollah Khamenei Gives Rare — If Brief — Praise For U.S.”, Eyder Peralta, NPR, March 8, 2012.

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, 2012 

On the one hand Iran’s Foreign Minister called for renewed nuclear talks with the West in January 2012-although, given Iran’s history, the move may be little more than a stalling tactic for the Islamic regime. This new call for diplomatic engagement seems likely to be just another bid to buy time, and is a indicative of past of the US-Iranian Strategic relationship.

On the other hand, Iran has issued serious threats to “close the Gulf” and has carried out missile tests and military maneuvers. Iran’s threats and exercises have also been followed by the announcement that it is creating a new, far better sheltered underground uranium enrichment facility and is deploying much more efficient centrifuges.

Iran has made some frank admissions that sanctions are having a major impact. In a rare declaration by a top Iranian official, President Ahmadinejad declared before Iran’s parliament in late 2011 that the current sanctions against Iran were “the heaviest economic onslaught on a nation in history,” adding “every day, all our banking and trade activities and our agreements are being monitored and blocked.”12 Given the growing tension between President Ahmadinejad and Ayatollah Khamenei, these statements should not be taken at face value. An increasingly marginalized President may be willing to criticize a leadership he sees as political rivals. Still, Iran’s economic woes cannot be written off as partisan wrangling between the country’s conservative and more conservative camps. As just one indicator, Iran’s currency, long held artificially high by a regime that could afford to subsidize it, has nose-dived and lost 35 percent of its value between September 2011 and early January 2012.13 Implications for US Policy As Chapters III and IV have discussed, the US must be ready for contingencies that could trigger a significant clash or conflict in the Gulf, Israeli preventive strikes, and even serious US military action that escalate to the point where the US might have to strike at Iran’s overall base of asymmetric forces, conventional forces, or nuclear and missile forces. While the US should pursue sanctions and diplomatic options, it must also begin to make hard longer-term choices regarding the possibility that sanctions and diplomacy fail. This means choosing between containment and preventive strikes, and doing so on the basis of the kind of classified analysis of future options that require full access to both intelligence and military planning data. The choice between bad options should always be as objective as possible, and based on the best information and modeling, and many of the key variables are now so highly classified that outside analysis is severely limited. Key Near-Term Choices In the near-term, the US needs to do everything it can to ensure that sanctions lead to successful negotiations. This means pursuing the following options: 

The US should do everything possible to create UN, multilateral, and national sanctions that are as effective as possible. The time for gradual approaches is over. If there is to be a peaceful outcome to this aspect of US and Iranian competition, it must come before Iran tests a nuclear device or deploys a nuclear weapon. It must come before Israel takes preventive action or the region becomes locked into a nuclear arms race, and Iran creates a technology base so advanced that current IAEA inspection methods cannot guarantee that it is not developing more advanced capabilities to produce fissile material and the other

12

“Iran’s growing state of desperation”, Fareed Zakaria, FareedZakaria.com, January 4, 2012.

13

“Iranian currency slides under latest U.S. sanctions”, Thomas Erdbrink, Washington Post, January 2, 2012.

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, 2012 components of a nuclear weapon covertly or under the guides of carefully compartmented research and develop in area like advance centrifuges and weapons design. 

Make it clear that the US and its allies also offer Iran incentives to halt, and explain sanctions continuously. Show other countries that the US and the 5+1 offer Iran real incentives to halt nuclear weapons related activities, and explain and justify sanctions in terms that nations in other regions can fully understand. Sanctions are not enough. Iran needs to see that the US and the rest of the 5+1 will offer incentives in terms of enrichment, fuel supplies, a rapid lifting of sanctions, trade, investment, and energy development. If sanctions are the “stick,” the US must act to ensure that there are real and immediate carrots.

The US must work closely with its European, Gulf, and Israeli allies. The US cannot assume its allies will follow or trust it if does not communicate, consult, and treat them as partners. This is an area where it must be transparent enough to convince the world it is not repeating the mistakes it made in going to war in Iraq, that it will not act precipitously, and it will listen as much as it attempts to lead.

Make a convincing case to the Iranian people, its allies and the world that Iran is seeking to obtain nuclear weapons and could be a threat to the global economy. It is not enough to cite the IAEA and keep up diplomatic pressure. Continue to work with the IAEA and key allies like Britain, France, and Germany to show the dangers in Iran’s actions and make the threat it poses fully convincing. Explain how a crisis in the Gulf could threaten all countries – including the developing countries outside the region. Make the case through effective strategic communications and as objectively as possible.

Use arms transfer efforts to supplement sanctions. The US must do everything possible to keep China, Russia, and other nations from transferring advanced arms and military technology to Iran, or any technology and equipment that could aid it in developing nuclear weapons. At the same time, as is outlined in Chapter VI, it must would with its Arab Gulf allies and Turkey to give them as strong a mix of defenses and deterrents as possible, help Israel achieve the kind of security that can reduce the incentive for preventive strikes, and – as is discussed in Chapter VII – do what it can to make Iraq secure and a real security partner.

Work with the UN, IAEA, and its allies to update the arms control proposals necessary to ensure that Iran is complying with a meaningful and verifiable agreement. It will not be enough for Iran to deal with the immediate concerns raised by the IAEA. It must be clear that any negotiation ends in a viable agreement.

Avoid aggressive interference in the form of regime change, but support strategic communications by Iranian exiles and encourage internal Iranian movement towards moderation and democracy. Focus on regime modification in dealing with the nuclear issue and threat in the Gulf, and leave regime change to Iranians.

Arms Control Offers Hope But a WMD Free Zone Offers Little Probability of Success The US must support arms control in enforcing the NNPT and giving the IAEA the necessary tools and freedom of action as critical policy option. However, a weapons of mass destruction free zone has virtually no chance of being negotiated in a meaningful form for five reasons: 

Iran’s emphasis on its nuclear and missile programs,

Israel’s need to maintain nuclear and missile forces,

The lack of any real prospects for a full Arab-Israeli peace,

Arab missile, chemical and biological weapons programs and growing interests in nuclear programs, and

The steadily growing difficulty in creating convincing verification and inspection regimes.

The Uncertain Result: Giving Diplomacy Priority While Preserving Security

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, 2012 Sanctions and diplomacy are the best of a bad (or at least highly uncertain) set of options, but it is far from clear that they will stop Iran from moving toward a nuclear weapons capability, or the actual deployment of nuclear forces. The end result could still be successful negotiations with Iran, but it could also be the beginning of years of more intensive confrontation with Iran at every level. The risks become higher as time goes on, and this aspect of US and Iranian competition turns into a “long game.” So far, Iran has backed away from military confrontation, but it is far less clear what will happen if sanctions result in a prolonged confrontation. Iran has at least as much to lose as any other Gulf state if it halts oil exports and imports through the Gulf. Iran also cannot hope to win any serious conflict with the US and its Gulf allies.. Iran’s increasingly belligerent statements and actions have already affected the price and flow of oil. Oil prices rose around the world on February 20, 2012 when Iranian officials responded to new European sanctions by halting exports to Britain and France. Two days later, the head of the Iran’s armed forces, Mohammad Hejazi hinted preemptive action on Iran’s part, stating, “Our strategy now is that if we feel our enemies want to endanger Iran's national interests…we will act without waiting for their actions.” In addition to Iran’s regular threats to close the Strait of Hormuz, this most recent behavior has limited impact on global energy prices. A period of confrontation and sanctions that lasted for several years will mean lasting increase in oil prices and pressure on the world economy. It will also allow Iran time steadily improve its options and tactics for asymmetric attacks and political warfare, and evidence that Iran actually had a nuclear weapon might both lead many nations to abandon sanctions and make the credibility of US, European, and Southern Gulf escalation major conflicts and strikes on Iran less credible. Iran will have to take risks of its own, and has no inherent advantages in playing the “long game.” Hostile Iranian actions and Iran’s steady movement towards nuclear weapons capability would probably strengthen US, European, and Southern Gulf resolve, and support for sanctions. Iran would pay a steadily higher cumulative cost as a result of the impact of sanctions over time, and popular support for the regime might well erode. Iran cannot be certain it can use low level asymmetric tactics without provoking the US and other states to escalate to much higher levels of conflict, or be certain it can control the course of events and the risk of some incident leading to serious attacks on Iran’s military forces and other assets. History, however, is scarcely a consistent record of successful deterrence, rational calculations, and intelligent compromises. Rising pressure on Iran can lead it to take risks, and exercise the kind of military options describe in Chapters III and IV. Limited or demonstrative military actions can become serious clashes, and accidents can escalate into war. At the same time, Iran’s progress towards a nuclear weapons capability can lead Israel to carry out preventive strikes, and force the US to choose between “containment” based on a military build up and extended deterrence or the large-scale preventive strikes necessary to ensure Iran does not deploy nuclear weapons. The end result is that the US, its Southern Gulf allies, Jordan and other friendly Arab states, and Israel may well face years in which the struggle over sanctions, energy exports, and arms control outlined in this analysis remain part of a process of steadily escalating confrontation at many other levels. What many today are describing as a “crisis” may well be an enduring reality that can only be ended by internal regime change in Iran and only be contained by close cooperation viii


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, 2012 between the US, Arab states in the Gulf and elsewhere, along with key allies like Britain and France. Negotiations that focus on Iran’s nuclear programs will have important limits even if they succeed. Iran is building up its long-range conventionally armed missile forces, it remains a declared chemical weapons power, and it has biological as well as nuclear options. As its recent exercises in the Gulf show, Iran is also steadily building up its capabilities for asymmetric warfare in ways that can threaten and be used to deliver a wide range of attacks. It continues to use its Al Quds force, intelligence services, and diplomats to pose a growing threat to the Arab states and Israel, in addition to seeking an axis of influence that includes Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon. This means that a continued focus on sanctions and arms control efforts must be supported by the continued development of military capabilities to deter and contain Iran. The US should preserve and enhance its ability to use force against Iran. The US and its allies should make it clear to Iran that if it conducts nuclear tests, is found to be assembling nuclear weapons or begins to deploy a nuclear-armed missile force might justify the preventive use of military force. The US and its allies should also find ways to warn Iran that any major Iranian effort to “close the Gulf,” or large-scale conventional or asymmetric clash between Iran and either the US or the GCC, could lead to escalating uses of force. Efforts to remove Iran’s nuclear, missile, and key military facilities would then occur in a radically different context and have far more international support. At the same time, the need to deter and contain Iran while sanctions and negotiations are still an option is very different from giving military options a priority. The real world political and strategic results of replacing sanctions and diplomacy with the use of force are so unpredictable, and the risks are so high, that force must be a last resort relative to both diplomacy and containment. Such risks should only be viewed differently if it becomes clear that show Iran’s regime has reached ideological extremes where it cannot be deterred by missile defenses, the forces in the Gulf, and threats like a US commitment to extended deterrence.

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Table of Contents INTRODUCTION ............................................................................................................................................. 1 SETTING THE STAGE: THE IMPACT OF IRAN’S DEPENDENCE ON PETROLEUM EXPORTS AND IRAN’S VULNERABILITY ........ 6 Sanctions and Oil Production Capacity................................................................................................. 7 Sanctions and Gas Production Capacity ............................................................................................... 9 Sanctions and Iranian Oil Exports....................................................................................................... 10 Sanctions and Iranian Gas Exports ..................................................................................................... 12 Iran’s Energy Targets.......................................................................................................................... 13 Figure V.1: Iran’s Comparative Oil and Gas Reserves ........................................................................... 15 Figure V.2: Iran’s Oil and Gas Reserves, Pipelines, and Export Facilities .............................................. 17 Figure V.3: Iran’s Oil Exports ................................................................................................................. 18 Figure V.4: Iran’s Gas Pipeline “Dreams”: The Iran-Pakistan-India Pipeline ......................................... 19 Figure V.5: Iran’s Refinery Targets ........................................................................................................ 19 THE SANCTIONS GAME................................................................................................................................. 20

US Unilateral Sanctions – A Brief Background ................................................................................... 20 Sanctions: 1980-2009...................................................................................................................................................... 20 Sanctions Since 2010 ...................................................................................................................................................... 21 Figure V.6: Major US Unilateral Sanctions against Iran ........................................................................ 23

International Sanctions – A Competition for Influence ...................................................................... 24 Figure V.7: UN Sanctions against Iran ................................................................................................... 24

The European Union and Other Western Nations .............................................................................. 25 The Role of Other Importers ............................................................................................................... 27 Figure V.8: Major Importers of Iranian Crude Oil in January- September 2011 ................................... 28 Japan and South Korea .................................................................................................................................................... 28 India ................................................................................................................................................................................ 30 China and Russia............................................................................................................................................................. 31 China ............................................................................................................................................................................... 31 Russia.............................................................................................................................................................................. 33 Figure V.9 Russian Trade with Iran 1995-2008 ..................................................................................... 35 Turkey ............................................................................................................................................................................. 37 THE EFFECT OF SANCTIONS ........................................................................................................................... 39

Iran’s View of the Economic Impact of Sanctions .............................................................................. 40 Iran’s Limited Oil Export Income and Export Vulnerability ................................................................. 43 Figure V.10: Comparative Iranian and Other OPEC Oil Income ............................................................ 44

Foreign Companies Exiting the Iran Market ....................................................................................... 45 Figure V.11 Major Non-Petrol Related Foreign Companies Halting Business in Iran, 2010-2011 ......... 46

Outside Views of the Overall Economic Impact of Sanctions ............................................................. 47 Other Views of the Impact of Sanctions ............................................................................................. 49 SANCTIONS AND ENERGY COMPETITION.......................................................................................................... 50 Iran Needs Outside Investment At Least As Much as the World Needs Iranian Petroleum and Gas . 50 Effect of Sanctions on Iran’s Energy Sector ........................................................................................ 51 Adding Banking Sanctions to Energy Sanctions ................................................................................. 52 Figure V.12: Energy Firms Ending Business with Iran 2009-2011 ......................................................... 55

Gasoline and Product Imports – Iran’s Energy Import Problem ......................................................... 56 Circumventing Energy Sanctions ........................................................................................................ 57 THE FUTURE IMPACTS OF SANCTIONS ............................................................................................................. 59 The Impact of Sanctions on the “Short Game”................................................................................... 59 Figure V.13: The Growing Pressure on Iran .......................................................................................... 62

The Risks in a “Long Game”................................................................................................................ 62 Figure V.14: Trends in Oil Prices ........................................................................................................... 64 SANCTIONS AND ARMS DEALS ....................................................................................................................... 64

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, 2012 ARMS CONTROL: IRAN, ISRAEL, AND THE WMD FREE ZONE .............................................................................. 68 Efforts to Negotiate with Iran ............................................................................................................ 68 Figure V.15: Arms Control Association History of Official Proposals on the Iranian Nuclear Issue. ..... 68

Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) Free Zone .............................................................................. 74 REGIME CHANGE AND REGIME MODIFICATION ................................................................................................ 76 Rhetoric versus Reality ....................................................................................................................... 76 The Impact of Iran’s March 2012 Parliamentary Elections ................................................................ 78 US Initiatives and Information Campaigns Over the Last Decade...................................................... 79 The “Indirect Approach” ..................................................................................................................... 81 IMPLICATIONS FOR US POLICY ....................................................................................................................... 82 The Key Near-Term Choices for US Policy........................................................................................... 82 Arms Control Offers Hope But a WMD Free Zone Offers Little Probability of Success ....................... 83 The Uncertain Result: Giving Diplomacy Priority While Preserving Security ...................................... 83

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Introduction This report analyzes US and Iranian strategic competition in four key areas—sanctions, energy, arms control, and regime change. Shifts in the nature and intensity of sanctions on Iran have radically changed this aspect of US and Iranian competition since the fall of 2011. This escalation has been spurred by Iran’s ongoing missile deployments and nuclear programs, a November 2011 IAEA report highlighting the probable military dimensions of Iran’s nuclear program, an alleged Iranian assassination plot against the Saudi Ambassador on US soil, an Iranian-government-sponsored mob attack on the British Embassy in Tehran on November 30, 2011, and Iranian threats to “close” the Gulf to oil exports. A New Round of Sanctions Iran’s steady progress towards the capability to build nuclear weapons has led to a new round of sanctions from the US and its allies. Washington has sought to further isolate Iran economically through new US sanctions on the Iranian Central Bank and Iranian companies involved in its nuclear industry, including the petrochemical and oil industry. Iran’s primary source of revenue—crude oil exports—is further threatened by a unanimous decision by the European Union on January 23rd to impose a full embargo on the import of Iranian oil and petrochemicals. US and European action has steadily ratcheting up the pressure on Iran since the fall of 2011. 

March 2012, the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives continue to work on bills that would seek to blacklist essentially every Iranian bank, threaten penalties against European and other overseas companies that deal with any of these banks, and to target communications, software and technology companies that continue doing business with Iranian banks. This legislation would now interact with the EU action on SWIFT, and affect all Iranian institutions and any foreign institution that acted a front or cover for Iran. Members of Congress state that while the U.S. Treasury has already blacklisted 23 Iranian banks, Iran is using more than 20 other banks to finance its nuclear program and support for regional militant groups. 14

On March 15, 2012, the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, or Swift, complied with European Union sanctions on Iranian banks, and EU instructions to, “discontinue its communications services to Iranian financial institutions that are subject to European sanctions.” SWIFT is essential to international banking because it provide a secure communications network to more than 10,000 financial institutions and corporations in 210 countries, and SWIFT reported in 2010 that 19 Iranian member banks and 25 financial institutions used the network over 2 million times during the course of the year.15 SWIFT operates a worldwide financial messaging network which exchanges messages between banks and other financial institutions and makes secure financial transactions possible. transaction with Iran, international insurance coverage with Iran, and all transitions with Iran’s state-owned oil company and its main tanker fleet.16

14

Laurence Norman and Jay Soloman, “EU-US Split on Iran Banks Seen as Widening,” Wall Street Journal, March 16, 2012. 15

Rick Gladstone and Stephen Castle, “Global Network Expels as Many as 30 of Iran’s Banks in Move to Isolate Its Economy,” New York Times, March 16, 2012, http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/16/world/middleeast/crucialcommunication-network-expelling-iranian-banks.html?_r=1; Thomas Endbrink and Joby Warrick, “Grim Outlook on Nuclear Talks,” washington Post, March 16, 2012, p. A7. 16

Indira A.R. Lakshmanan, “Iran Sanctions Bid Targets Oil, Tanker Companies to Cut Exports,” Bloomberg, Feb 6, 2012 2:26 PM ET; Indira A.R. Lakshmanan , Global Insurers Targeted in Latest U.S. Bid to Expand Sanctions on Iran, Bloomberg, Mar 8, 2012 11:10 AM ET; Al Arabiya, U.S. lawmakers take next step on new Iran sanctions on heels of European embargoes, Tuesday, 31 January 2012; http://english.alarabiya.net/articles/2012/01/31/191608.htm; AP sources: Congress to seek new sanctions targeting


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, 2012 

On March 8, the House Foreign Affairs Committee reinforced earlier legislation by introducing with H.R. 4179, “The Iran Financial Sanctions Improvement Act of 2012”, expanding sanctions to cover other energy-related commerce. Concurrently, the same committee introduced H.R. 4173, designed to “direct the President to appoint a high-level United States Representative or special envoy for Iran” for the purposes of pursuing diplomatic means “to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon”. Other members of the US Congress proposed new sanctions that could affect every international banking

On February 2, 2012, the US Senate Banking Committee unanimously approved a new set of sanctions on Iran “targeting the global financial telecommunications network that nearly all banks depend on to conduct their daily business”. If the Senate Banking bill becomes law, it would direct the White House to demand the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) to eject Iran’s central bank, shutting Iran out of the system used to move money between banks worldwide, denying Iran from billions of dollars routed through the SWIFT banking system.

Additionally, at the end of February 2012, the U.S. Department of Treasury strengthened the preexisting Iranian Financial Sanctions Regulations (IFSR) with the implementation of subsection 1245(d). The amendment moves to extend punishment against “foreign financial institutions that knowingly conduct or facilitate certain significant financial transactions with the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) or a U.S.-designated Iranian financial institution”. In accordance with these actions, the Secretary of Treasury will impose sanctions on privately owned foreign institutions, as well as government-owned or controlled financial institutions that conduct business with the Central Bank of Iran. 17

On February 6, 2012, the Obama administration followed suit as the President issued an Executive Order freezing the assets of the Iranian government and all Iranian financial institutions in the U.S. from being “transferred, paid, exported, withdrawn, or otherwise dealt with”.

In January 2012, the European Union, which accounts for roughly one-fifth of Iran’s oil exports, introduced new sanctions to be phased in over the course of the year in order to protect European counties with greatest reliance on Iranian oil. The EU overcame hesitation over the possible impact such action would have on the global oil market at a meeting in mid January 2012 when the most vulnerable governments got assurances that sufficient spare capacity existed in Saudi Arabia and elsewhere to make up for the loss of Iranian oil without causing price shocks. EU officials announced a unanimous decision at their January 23, 2012 ministerial meeting that they would implement a full import embargo on Iranian oil and petrochemicals. The EU embargo prohibits the purchase, transport, and import of Iranian crude oil, the export of major equipment and technology used by the oil sector, as well as related financial deals including insurance. European contracts already existing are allowed to continue until July 1, 2012. Additionally, the EU froze the assets of the Iran’s Central Bank in Europe, and banned the trade of gold and other materials between Europe and the Iranian Central Bank.

In December 2011 the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 1905, the “Iran Threat Reduction Act”, strengthening US sanctions on the government in Tehran. Despite a December 1 letter to Congress from

all Iranian banks Associated Press, March 6, 2012, http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/federal_government/apsources-congress-to-seek-new-sanctions-targeting-all-iranian-banks/2012/03/06/gIQA1p0XvR_print.html.

For a more complete history, and discussion in detail of US sanctions legislation and Congressional options for the further strengthening of sanctions, see Kenneth Katzman, Iran Sanctions, Congressional Research Service, Washington, DC, RS 20871, December 2, 2011, as well as Mr. Katzman’s February 2012 update. 17

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, 2012 Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner expressing the administration’s need for flexibility in its approach towards Iran, the billed easily passed through the House with overwhelming bipartisan support. 

The European Union announced tighter sanctions in December 2011, on groups and individuals associated with the Iranian nuclear program. Key foreign ministers made it known that they were drafting and negotiating language that would reduce or completely bar importation of Iranian crude by EU member states. France and Britain pushed for a complete embargo,

In November 2011, the US Treasury Department rolled out a new round of unilateral sanctions under the auspices of the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act of 2010 (CISADA). These new sanctions targeted Iran’s petrochemical industry, Central Bank and financial sector, transportation infrastructure, and added dozens of names to the list of sanctioned individuals. These restrictions bar institutions in those countries from having a business relationship with any Iranian banks— including its Central Bank and its affiliates—as well as expanding the sanctions on Iranian individuals and placing new restrictions on the import of Iranian goods.

On November 21, 2011, the US Treasury Department designated Iran’s entire financial sector, including the Central Bank (and all Iranian banks) as “money laundering entities” for Iran-related transactions under Section 311 of the USA Patriot Act. On December 31, 2012, President Obama signed a FY2012 national defense authorization bill (S.1867) that contained an amendment that required the President to prevent a foreign bank from opening and account in the United States if that bank processed payments for oil through Iran’s Central Bank. Section 1245 of the act imposed these unilateral sanctions on the Central Bank of Iran in ways that impose major penalties against entities — including corporations and foreign central banks — which engage in transactions with the Iranian central bank. The sanctions on transactions unrelated to petroleum were to come into force 60 days after the bill was and sanctions on transactions related to petroleum were take effect a minimum of 180 days after the bill's signing. The amendment provided for a renewable waiver of 120 days duration if the President determined that doing so is in the national interest. On December 1, 2011, the amendment passed 100-0. These initiatives reflected the impact of a letter sent to president Obama signed by 92 Senators on an August 9, 2011 that called for “a comprehensive strategy to pressure Iran’s financial system by imposing sanctions” on the Central Bank of Iran.

The US Department of State also launched a “virtual embassy” for Iran in December 2011. This consisted of a website which was quickly blocked by Tehran amidst allegations that the US was attempting to recruit spies and foster internal regime change. US State department officials claimed that the site was merely an attempt to communicate to Iranians about their ability to secure student visas and explain US policy. It appears that the effort was aimed at weakening support for the regime among young, technically savvy Iranians. This was one of a series of US attempts to make pro-American media and resources available to populations inside Iran.

A high level State Department official summarized the new US policy on sanctions in December 2011: “Our policy leverages the power of multilateral action and of likeminded countries to pressure Iran to comply with its international obligations, coupled with an offer to engage diplomatically…if Iran is serious about negotiating and addressing our and the world’s concerns about its nuclear program.”18 The Obama White House is steadily escalating this aspect of US and Iranian competition, but it is doing it carefully and in ways that focus on international action rather than unilateral US action. A Chapter IV has shown, the series of statements and speeches that the President and White House have made through March 2012 not only reflect the US desire to avoid military action, but show that tighter sanctions will be pursued gradually and in ways that maximize multilateral buy-in. The Iranian financial, oil, transport, and petrochemical system will be increasingly isolated, to the extent possible. The Administration will attempt to inform and 18

Wendy Sherman, Statement before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, 1 December 2011.

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, 2012 empower population centers within Iran, in hopes that they will rise up to challenge the regime as external financial constraints—along with domestic mismanagement—cause economic stagnation. While some analysts believe that this new push on sanctions could pave the way for US military action in Iran, statements by both the President and Secretary of Defense Panetta comments indicate that military strikes—while “on the table”— are unlikely to be pursued by the Administration at this time. A range of senior US officials and officers have also said that limited preventive military strikes on Iran would not destroy Iran's nuclear ambitions, but only delay them for several years. As Secretary of Defense Panetta has said, the relevant targets “are very difficult to get at.” The reactions from Iran in late 2011 and early 2012 indicate that stronger sanctions and diplomacy are putting increasing international pressure on Iran. As the chronology below shows, most of Iran’s leaders still take a mixed stand on the effectiveness of sanctions:19 

Ayatollah Khamenei’s March 2012 statement provides one such example of the mixed messages typical from Iranian leaders. Responding to President Obama’s stated preference for diplomacy over war, Khamenei said “[t]his is good talk and shows and exit from delusion, But the U.S. president continued saying that he wants to make the Iranian people kneel through sanctions. This part of this speech shows the continuation of illusion in this issue.”

On February 19, 2012, Iran’s government responded to European Union sanctions by ordering a halt of oil exports to Britain and France. Earlier, the EU had moved to cut off Iranian oil imports and freeze Iranian central bank assets by July 2012.20

On February 17, 2012, Iran’s senior nuclear negotiator, Saeed Jalili, declared his country’s “readiness for dialogue” at “the earliest possibility”.21

On January 24, 2012, Mohsen Qamsari of the National Iranian Oil Company declared to Mehr News Agency that “Iran can readily find new customers for its oil. We have no problem in selling oil.” However, two days prior, on January 26, the former Iranian Oil Ministry deputy, Mehdi Hosseini, admitted that “Losing the European oil market will have an impact on Iran’s economy which needs rational planning by the authorities. Selling oil at sub-market level prices is not a good way to counter the oil embargo.”

January 9, 2012: Supreme Leader Khamenei said in a sermon broadcast by state television on that, "The Iranian nation believes in their rulers ... Sanctions imposed on Iran by our enemies will not have any impact on our nation...Sanctions will not change our nation's determination...The Islamic establishment ... knows firmly what it is doing and has chosen its path and will stay the course...The chain of power of the people consists of two interconnected factors: first is the definitive decision of

19

For an excellent chronology that provides much fuller historical depth, see Varun Vira, Henry A. Ensher, David Pupkin, Stephen Szrom, Maseh Zarif, Daniel Katz, Eiman Behzadi, Kerry Harris, John Karian, Sanctions on Iran: Reactions and Impact, AEI, November 1, 2011, http://www.irantracker.org/us-policy/sanctionsiran-reactions-and-impact. Two of the October entries in the above list are taken from this report. 20

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/20/world/middleeast/iran-halts-oil-shipments-to-britain-andfrance.html?scp=1&sq=iran%20sanctions&st=cse http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/18/world/middleeast/swift-network-moves-closer-to-expulsion-ofiran.html?scp=10&sq=iran%20sanctions&st=cse. 21

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, 2012 the Islamic Republic regime not to deviate from its path and resistance in face of the oppression of superpowers, and secondly, the clever and resolute presence of the loyal people.” 22 

January 1, 2012: IRNA reported that, "President Ahmadinejad stated during an address to the 51st Annual meeting of the Central Bank of Iran that, “The CBI is responsible for balancing the country’s monetary and financial market and it should try to promote justice and national income in the society.” Pointing to the enemies' various plots to put pressure on the Iranian nation, Ahmadinejad said the CBI is the backbone of the country in facing enemy pressures and it should be so powerful, self-confident and firm in thwarting enemy plans. Concluding his remarks, Ahmadinejad said there is no special economic problem in the country and the economic indices have improved compared to the past."23As mentioned above, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad recently said before Parliament that the current sanctions regime was “the heaviest economic onslaught on a nation in history,” adding “every day, all our banking and trade activities and our agreements are being monitored and blocked.”

October 29, 2010: National Iranian Oil Company deputy, Mohsen Qamsari, said Iran “reached new agreements for receiving money for Iran’s oil exports” and that “Iran’s central bank has different and diversified ways and methods for receiving its money from selling oil to India…at the moment there is no Indian accumulated oil debt to Iran.” An Iranian state media outlet claimed Indian firms are making payments for oil imports through Russia’s Gazprombank. An “Indian industry source” told Reuters there have only been discussions about opening Indian accounts with Gazprombank, and that India continues to make oil payments to Iran through Turkey’s Halkbank. India previously paid off a $5 billion oil debt by submitting payments through Halkbank. 24

October 26, 2010: Iranian Deputy Minister of Economy and Finance Mohammad-Reza Farzin, speaking at the German Council on Foreign Relations, claimed that Iranian imports increased to $24 billion in six months, $8 billion of which came from Europe. Farzin predicted that “Iran-East trade” will reach approximately $140 billion.25

September 14, 2011: Rafsanjani states in a speech to Iran's assembly of Experts on September 14, 2001 that, "Gentlemen, you should be vigilant and careful. Do not downplay the sanctions ... people should not be tricked...Iran has such a big capacity that it is able to overcome (the sanctions), but I am doubtful that these capacities are being utilized in a proper way, We have never had such intensified sanctions and they are getting more and more intensified every day. Wherever we find a loophole, they (Western powers) block it,"26

Some Iranian officials have responded with their frankest admissions to date that sanctions are having a major impact. Iran has also issued threats to “close the Gulf” and carried out missile tests and military maneuvers. Yet, it has called for a new round of negotiations and claimed that the US and President Obama had called for such talks. The end result can be successful negotiations, the beginning of years of more intense US and Iranian confrontation at every level, or a crisis that leads to armed clashes or serious conflict.

Reuters – Mon, Jan 9, 2012, http://news.yahoo.com/khamenei-says-iran-not-yield-sanctions112703921.html; http://dagobertobellucci.wordpress.com/2012/01/09/islamic-republic-of-iran-sayyedkhamenei-iran-lives-victory-sanctions-on-iran-to-fail/. 23 IRNA, http://www.irna.ir/ENNewsShow.aspx?NID=30743969November 1: Iranian President Ahmadinejad said “our banks cannot make international transactions anymore” in a speech before the Iranian parliament.[5] 24 Iran Downplays Report India Paying for Oil via Russia,” Reuters, October 29, 2011, http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/10/29/iran-india-oil-idUSL5E7LT06U20111029 25 Top Iranian Economic Official Highlights Futile Western Sanctions,” Iranian Student News Agency, October 26, 2011, http://www.irna.ir/ENNewsShow.aspx?NID=30632263 26 Reuters, Tehran, September 14, 2011 11:00am EDT May 17: Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast denied a U.N. report that Iran and North Korea frequently exchanged ballistic missile technology, saying “our scientific and technological capabilities are high enough so that we do not need any other country to give us such technology.” 22

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, 2012 The end result is that the Iranian regime fluctuates between admissions of the effect of sanctions, calling for negotiations, threats to close the Gulf, and carrying out military exercises while boasting about Iran’s capability to deter and retaliate. While the full effect of new sanctions will not become apparent until late 2012 at the earliest, they are already causing economic instability by significantly cutting into revenue from Iranian energy exports, as well as creating serious banking and trade problems. Further, as Iran continues to be seen as an unreliable supplier by energy consumers, it is losing buyers and scrambling to find markets for its crude oil. The Iranian Rial has destabilized and fell to record lows in January as currency markets reacted to the prospect of more limited foreign trade. While Iran’s Rial was trading at about 10,500 rials to one U.S. dollar as recently as December 2010, the exchange rate slid to 16,800 rials to a dollar at its low in January 2012. Iran’s government, economy, and citizens are feeling the effects of intense sanctions, and indications point to ever worsening economic conditions. The end result can be Iranian negotiations, the beginning of years of more intense US and Iranian confrontation at every level, or a crisis that leads to armed clashes or serious conflict. On the one hand, Iran’s threats and exercises have been followed by the announcement that it is creating a new, far better sheltered underground uranium enrichment facility and deploying much more efficient centrifuges. On the other hand, Iran’s Foreign Minister called for renewed nuclear talks in January. Unfortunately, this call for negotiations – and Iran’s claim that it was the US and President Obama who had pressed for them – may be an all too familiar gambit to buy time.

Setting the Stage: The Impact of Iran’s Dependence on Petroleum Exports and Iran’s Vulnerability In order to understand the pressures Iran faces from sanctions, it is necessary to understand just how dependent Iran is on petroleum and gas exports. Regardless of what Iranian officials may say, Iran is highly dependent on petroleum exports for both its economy and government revenues, and is highly vulnerable to both sanctions and military attacks or embargoes on key facilities. Iran’s economy has been weakened by the Iran-Iraq War, sanctions, years of mismanagement and badly structured state intervention, and endemic corruption. As Figure V.1 shows, Iran has massive oil and gas reserves, although it has politicized its estimates ever since the Iran-Iraq War in order to increase its relative importance. For example, the EIA reports that the, “Oil & Gas Journal, as of January 2011, Iran has an estimated 137 billion barrels of proven oil reserves, 9.3 percent of the world's total reserves and over 12 percent of OPEC reserves. In July 2011, OPEC released its 2010 Annual Statistical Bulletin that raised Iran’s proven reserves to more than 151 billion barrels of crude. Some analysts are skeptical of this estimate, however, as Iran revised its reserves a week after Iraq had revised its own, leading some to speculate the move was political.” The EIA also reports that, “Iran has the world’s second largest natural gas reserves but the sector is under-developed and used mostly to meet domestic demand. Natural gas accounts for 54 percent of Iran’s total domestic energy consumption. Most of the remainder of energy consumption is attributable to oil, with marginal contributions from coal and hydropower. Iran is expected to increase natural gas production from its offshore South Pars natural gas field in the Persian Gulf, an integral component of energy sector expansion plans.

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, 2012 The location of these reserves, Iran’s pipelines and export facilities, and key potential targets in Iran’s petroleum system are shown in Figure V.2. Massive oil and gas reserves do not translate into national wealth unless they are produced and sold. Iran only had a per capita income that the CIA estimated at around $12,200 even before the US and Europe imposed new and far more Draconian sanctions in late 2011 and early 2012. Iran’s per capita income ranked 84th in the world and was by far the lowest rank of any major oil producer in the Gulf. Iran also had an unemployment level in excess of 15%, and youth unemployment somewhere between 20-30% -- when acute underemployment was taken into account. Some 18.7% of the population was below the poverty line, and Iran’s middle class and business class had already suffered from years of inflation, state intervention, and government corruption.27 The US Energy Information agency estimates that Iran received some $73 billion in petroleum export revenues in 2010, and $959 in per capita revenues – roughly one twelfth of the entire per capita income.28 Oil revenues were Iran’s only major source of hard currency, and the CIA estimates that they account for 80% of all Iranian exports in 2011, or some $78 billion out of a total of $131.8 billion in annual exports. Their value was roughly equivalent to the nation’s entire total for imports in 2011 ($76.1 billion.). The Iranian economy could not function without them, and is sufficiently marginal so every dollar equivalent matters – particularly since Iran’s reserves only totaled some $109.7 billion at the end of December 2011.29

Sanctions and Oil Production Capacity Sanctions and embargoes can affect two major aspects of Iran’s energy income: its ability to develop its reserves and maintain or increase its export capacity, and its actual exports. Experts disagree over both the impact of sanctions to date, and Iran’s broader problems in maintaining and increasing its production capacity. Iran naturally denies such problems and advocates of sanctions tend to make exaggerated claims. The US Energy Information Agency seems to be relatively neutral, and it makes public analyses that seem to track broadly with in house OPEC and IEA studies. In the case of oil, EIA reporting in February 2012 noted that,30 … As per the Iran Transactions Regulations, administered by the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), U.S. persons may not directly or indirectly trade, finance, or facilitate any goods, services or technology going to or from Iran, including goods, services or technology that would benefit the Iranian oil industry. U.S. persons are also prohibited from entering into or approving any contract that includes the supervision, management or financing of the development of petroleum resources located in Iran. See OFAC’s Iran Transactions Regulations page for more information.

CIA, World Factbook, “Iran,” March 8, 2102, https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-worldfactbook/geos/ir.html 27

28

EIA, OPEC Revenues Factsheet, ttp://www.eia.gov/cabs/OPEC_Revenues/Factsheet.html.

CIA, World Factbook, “Iran,” March 8, 2102, https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-worldfactbook/geos/ir.html 29

EIA, DOE, Country analysis http://205.254.135.7/countries/cab.cfm?fips=IR

Briefs,

30

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, 2012 The state-owned National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC), under the supervision of the Ministry of Petroleum, is responsible for all upstream oil projects, encompassing both production and export infrastructure. The National Iranian South Oil Company (NISOC), a subsidiary of NIOC, accounts for 80 percent of oil production covering the provinces of Khuzestan, Bushehr, Fars, and Kohkiluyeh and BoyerAhmad. Nominally, NIOC also controls the refining and domestic distribution networks, by way of its subsidiary, the National Iranian Oil Refining and Distribution Company (NIORDC), although functionally there is a separation between the upstream and downstream sectors. The Iranian constitution prohibits foreign or private ownership of natural resources. The government permits buyback contracts that allow international oil companies (IOCs) to enter into exploration and development contracts through an Iranian affiliate. The contractor receives a remuneration fee, usually an entitlement to oil or gas from the developed operation, leaving the contractor to provide the necessary capital up-front. Once development of a certain field is complete, however, operatorship reverts back to NIOC or the relevant subsidiary … Since the 1970s, Iran’s production has varied greatly. Iran averaged production of over 5.5 million bbl/d of oil in 1976 and 1977, with production topping 6 million bbl/d for much of the period. Since the 1979 revolution, however, a combination of war, limited investment, sanctions, and a high rate of natural decline in Iran’s mature oil fields have prevented a return to such production levels. An estimated 400,000-700,000 bbl/d of crude production is lost annually due to declines in the mature oil fields. To offset natural decline rates, Iran’s oil fields require structural upgrades including enhanced oil recovery (EOR) techniques such as natural gas injection, which has put even greater strain on energy supply due to rising demand for natural gas domestically. Iran’s reserves are not confined to the southwest and offshore Persian Gulf, creating potential for further discoveries. Iranian has oil reserves under the Caspian Sea, but exploration and development of these reserves have been at a standstill due to territorial disputes with neighboring Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan. Iran also shares a number of both onshore and offshore fields with neighboring countries, including Iraq, Qatar, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia. There were a number of new discoveries in Iran over the past couple of years. In May 2011, NIOC announced a discovery of a deposit of light oil (35° API gravity) in the Khayyam field, offshore in the Hormuzgan province. The field had been discovered in 2010 but was originally classified as a gas field. According to the NIOC, the volume of in-place oil at this field is 758 million barrels, of which around 170 million barrels are recoverable. Also in May 2011, Iran announced the discovery of new onshore oil fields in its south and west with an estimated half a billion barrels of reserves. In late 2010, Iran claimed the discovery of new crude finds near gas reservoirs in the Persian Gulf, holding total in-place reserves of more than 40 billion barrels of oil, however recoverable reserves could be less than 10 billion barrels. There are few upstream oil projects in development, and those that are proceeding have been slowed by the loss of expertise, technology and funding in the wake of various sanctions. The most promising prospects for a boost in production capacity comes from two specific projects: Azadegan and Yadavaran. Other current oil projects include Jofeir, Resalat, and Forouzan, all of which have been significantly delayed due to sanctions. The Azadegan field was Iran’s biggest oil find in 30 years when announced in 1999. It contains 26 billion barrels of proven crude oil reserves, but its geologic complexity makes extraction difficult. The field is separated into two portions: North and South Azadegan. China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) is developing North Azadegan in a two-phase development with ultimate total production estimated at 150,000 bbl/d (75,000 bbl/d for each phase). In 2004, a consortium of NIOC (25 percent) and Japan’s INPEX (75 percent) signed an agreement for development of the southern portion of the Azadegan field. In 2006, INPEX lowered its stake to 10 percent and following growing pressure in the wake of sanctions last year; it pulled out of the project completely in October 2010. In September 2009, a subsidiary of CNPC, China National Petroleum Corporation International Limited (CNPCI), signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with NIOC to develop South Azadegan in two phases. Yadavaran is the other promising upstream oil development project. China Petroleum & Chemical Corporation (Sinopec) signed a buyback contract at the end of 2007 to develop Yadavaran in two phases. The first will produce at a plateau of 85,000 bbl/d (by 2014), while the second will boost production to 185,000 bbl/d by 2016.

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, 2012 Over the past year, a number of new exploration projects have been undertaken and completed. The completed exploration projects include the Anaran Block, which consists of two large oil fields, Changooleh and Azar (expected to produce 67,000 bbl/d and 68,000 bbl/d, respectively). In addition, exploration projects in the Koohdasht, Garmsar, and Tousan Blocks have been completed, with disappointing results. Some of the exploration projects resulted in no successful gas and/or oil discoveries. Overall, according to FACTS Global Energy (FGE), Iran’s discoveries of crude oil and condensates totaled 10.7 billion barrels in 2010.

Iran’s development problems have been compounded by the fact that the Iranian National Oil Company and government have done a notoriously bad job of structuring attractive proposals for outside investment and participation in petroleum deals – although they sometimes eventually compromise on more financially realistic agreements. Investment in Iranian oil and gas does not give the outside country or company control over Iran’s reserves, forces it to sell to the highest bidder at world prices, and presents the constant risk of nationalization or unilateral cancellation without compensation. Iran’s internal political instability adds to this risk and the end result is that energy investments in other more stable oil exporting countries often offer better terms. Outside powers and companies are also increasingly cautious about dealing with Iran in ways that lead to tensions with the Arab oil and gas exporting states.

Sanctions and Gas Production Capacity In the case of gas, Iran has some 16% of the world’s conventional proven gas reserves. The Energy Information Agency (EIA) of the US Department of Energy (DoE) estimates that Iran has 1,046 TCF vs. 1,680 TCF for Russia, which has the largest conventional reserves in the world and 896 TCF for Qatar, which ranks third in the world. 31 However, fracturing and other technological reserves are sharply reducing the importance of conventional vs. total reserves, and Iran’s percentage of potentially commercial reserves may be closer to 8% than 16%. 32 Iran currently only produces 4.3% of world conventional gas, and has limited export capability. In contrast the Arab Gulf states have some 26% of the world’s conventional gas reserves and produce some 10% of world gas. 33. The EIA reports that, 34 The National Iranian Gas Company (NIGC) is responsible for natural gas infrastructure, transportation, and distribution. The National Iranian Gas Exports Company (NIGEC) was created in 2003 to manage and to supervise all gas pipeline and LNG projects. Until May 2010, NIGEC was under the control of the NIOC, but the Petroleum Ministry transferred NIGEC, incorporating it under NIGC in an attempt to broaden responsibility for new natural gas projects. Due to the poor investment climate and international political pressure, some international oil companies including Repsol, Shell, and Total have divested from Iran’s natural gas sector. In response, Iran has looked toward eastern firms, like state-owned Indian Oil Corp., China’s Sinopec, and Russia’s Gazprom to take an increased role in Iranian natural gas upstream development. Activity from these sources has also been on the decline due to logistical difficulties experienced as a result of sanctions on technology and financial transactions. 31

Energy Information Agency (EIA) of the US Department of Energy’s country report on Iran as of January 2012: http://www eia.gov/countries/cab.cfm?fips=IR 32 Ibid. pp. 21, 22. 33 Ibid. EIA, DOE, Country analysis http://205.254.135.7/countries/cab.cfm?fips=IR

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, 2012 Under Iran’s buy-back scheme, foreign firms hand over operations of fields to the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC), and after development they receive payment from natural gas production to cover their investment. National Iranian South Oil Company (NISOC), a subsidiary of NIOC, is responsible for much of the southern natural gas production. …Iran’s natural gas production has increased by over 550 percent over the past two decades, and the consumption has kept pace. As demand growth rates persist, the potential for shortfalls in natural gas supply grows. Iran’s natural gas exports likely will be limited due to rising domestic demand, even with future expansion and production from the massive South Pars project, and other development projects. In 2010, Iran produced an estimated 6 Tcf of marketed natural gas and consumed an estimated 5.1 Tcf. A sizeable volume of the gross natural gas produced (7.7 Tcf in 2010) was reinjected (1.2 Tcf). As Iran implements its plans for increased crude production through EOR techniques, however, the share of natural gas used for re-injection is expected to increase dramatically. … The most significant energy development project in Iran is the offshore South Pars field, which produces about 35 percent of total gas produced in Iran. Discovered in 1990, and located 62 miles offshore in the Persian Gulf, South Pars has a 24-phase development scheme spanning 20 years. The entire project is managed by Pars Oil & Gas Company (POGC), a subsidiary of the National Iranian Oil Company. Each phase has a combination of natural gas with condensate and/or natural gas liquids production. Phases 1-10 are online. The majority of South Pars natural gas development will be allocated to the domestic market for consumption and gas re-injection. The remainder will either be exported as liquefied natural gas (LNG) and/or used for gas to liquids (GTL) projects. Kish, with estimated reserves of 50 Tcf, it is expected to produce 3 Bcf/d of natural gas. Phase I of the project, which experienced repeated delays is expected to come online in 2016. Phase I is expected to produce approximately 1 Bcf/d and Phase II of the project will produce an additional 2 Bcf/d. In addition to Kish, there are other promising gas fields that could further boost Iran’s production. However, these projects also are characterized by delays and other difficulties. These additional fields include the Golshan, Ferdowsi, and North Pars gas fields although their start-ups are unlikely to occur until the next decade.

While experts argue the details, this analysis illustrates that Iran has far greater potential to produce and export gas and oil than it has been able to exploit. The degree to which past sanctions affected delays, bid failures, and contract cancellations remains uncertain, but it is clear that sanctions have had a major impact. More importantly, they also make it clear that the new sanctions that the US and EU are imposing will make things far worse, and that the more Draconian sanctions on all Iranian banking activity being suggested by some members of the US Congress would have even more serious effects. Some powers like China and Russia may be able to ignore such sanction in making oil and gas investments, but Iran’s ability to main and expand its production capacity is fragile and the new sanction should hit hard over time.

Sanctions and Iranian Oil Exports The impact of sanctions on Iran’s ability to sell and move its oil and gas exports is far more immediate. As Figure V.3 shows, Iran has had major cycles of security problems with its oil production and exports ever since the fall of the Shah – a time when Iran’s exports peaked at 3 million barrels a day. The EIA reports that Iran exported approximately 2.2 million bbl/d of crude oil in 2010, and that. Iranian Heavy Crude Oil was Iran’s largest crude export followed by Iranian Light: “In 2010, Iran’s net oil export revenues amounted to approximately $73 billion.

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, 2012 Oil exports provided half of Iran’s government revenues, while crude oil and its derivatives accounted for nearly 80 percent of Iran’s total exports.” 35 The practical impact of Iran’s export potential must be kept in perspective. Iran at most has some 10% of the world’s proven oil reserves (137 billion barrels vs. 263 billion for Saudi Arabia, 211 billion for Venezuela, and 175 billion for Canada), and its percentage of potential reserves is substantially lower.36 Iran currently only produces 5.2% of world conventional oil liquids, and has been very slow to increase production. In contrast the Arab Gulf states have some 72% of the world’s conventional oil reserves and produce some 25% of world oil.37 Iran lacks total refinery capacity, and product export capacity, and its large, steadily growing population consumes a significantly larger part of its total production than is the case in the Arab Gulf states. Moreover, Iran has already tapped 75 percent of its known reserves, so the likelihood of new, major discoveries is low. Recently discovered sources have allowed Iran to hold oil production relatively steady, and they may even help production levels to grow somewhat in the immediate future, but new sources will not be able to offset natural declines beyond the short-term (see As a result, Iran will have to rely heavily on proven but undeveloped reserves, which will require major new investments.38 At the same time, the effectiveness of sanctions is partially dependent on the choices made by the importing nation. Figure V.3 also shows that some countries were far more dependent on Iranian exports than others at the time the US and EU imposed their new sanctions. This is a key reason why some of the new sanctions described later were tailored to give countries time to change their imports, and deal with either different refinery and product needs, or the end of preferential Iranian terms. At the same time, the same importing states have to carefully consider what happens if they do not comply. As the EIA noted in February 2010, 39 Iran’s oil exports also have been affected by sanctions. In 2011, Iran experienced significant problems with receiving payments from India for its exports, when the Reserve Bank of India halted a clearing mechanism due to sanctions. Some of the payments have been cleared through Turkish and UAE banks. More recently, NIOC announced that India has cleared all oil debts to Iran through Gazprombank of Russia and Iran has already received all overdue payments for its exports to India.

Iran also faces problems because it has very high domestic consumption of both domestic and imported petroleum products. Subsidized prices and a population that has doubled since the 1979 revolution created excessive demand. Natural gas accounts for half of Iran’s total domestic energy consumption, while the remaining half is predominately oil consumption.40 A significant portion of what Iran refines is low-value fuel oil, forcing them to rely on imports for higher value-added refined products, such as gasoline, jet fuel and diesel. These energy imports are EIA, DOE, Country analysis http://205.254.135.7/countries/cab.cfm?fips=IR

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36

BP, BP Statistical Review of World Energy, June 2011, bp.com/statisticalreview. pp. 6, 8 BP, BP Statistical Review of World Energy, June 2011, bp.com/statisticalreview. pp. 6, 8 38 Ibid 37

EIA, DOE, Country analysis http://205.254.135.7/countries/cab.cfm?fips=IR

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40

Ibid

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, 2012 essential to accommodate the growing public appetite for subsidized fuels, especially gasoline and gas oil.41 Iran has increased prices to reduce consumption, but still faces problems both in maintaining its volume of exports and because it lacks refinery capacity and has to import product. Past sanctions have already had an impact in limiting Iran’s refinery expansion plans, and the new sanctions will have a much stronger impact of Iran’s ability to get investment and technology, and to pay for product imports. The EIA notes that, 42 Iranian domestic oil demand is mainly for diesel and gasoline. Total oil consumption was approximately 1.8 million bbl/d in 2010, about 10 percent higher than the year before. Iran has limited refinery capacity for the production of light fuels, and consequently imports a sizeable share of its gasoline supply. Iran’s total refinery capacity in January 2011 was about 1.5 million bbl/d, with its nine refineries operated by the National Iranian Oil Refining and Distribution Company (NIORDC), a NIOC subsidiary. The Iranian government subsidizes the price of refined oil products, however price reforms instituted in December 2010 removed some of the subsidies, which significantly affected gasoline consumption in Iran (see Gasoline section below). Iran is an overall net petroleum products exporter due to large exports of residual fuel oil. Iran has had other difficulties with refinery capacity expansion recently. During the inauguration ceremony (led by Iran’s president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad) of the Abadan refinery expansion, a gasoline unit blew up as a result of a gas leak. It took NIORDC four months to rebuild the unit and bring it online. Finally, Iran plans to increase refining capacity with the aim to become self-sufficient for gasoline. Plans for capacity increases through expansions at existing refineries as well as planned greenfield refinery construction have been announced. Iran has issued permits to construct six new refineries with a combined refining capacity of 1.2 million bbl/d; however there has been little progress because of financing difficulties. Sanctions imposed on Iran have made it difficult for the country to import needed volumes of gasoline. The government has attempted to control consumption by implementing accelerated subsidy reform, resulting in a sharp increase in the price of gasoline. The subsidy reform spurred political opposition because of inflationary fears in the midst of an economic downturn. Furthermore, petrochemical plants were converted so that they can produce gasoline as a short-term measure. However, the converted plants produce low quality gasoline, causing significant environmental problems. In 2010, Iran consumed around 400,000 bbl/d of gasoline, about 4 percent less than consumed in 2009. Iran does not currently have sufficient refining capacity to meet its domestic gasoline and other light fuel needs. However, the government has approved a number of expansions of existing as well as construction of new refineries with the aim to make Iran self-sufficient (and an exporter of gasoline). Iranian gasoline imports were approximately 78,000 bbl/d in 2010, nearly 70 percent of total product imports. Current and proposed expansions of Iranian refineries likely will come online between 2012 and 2017. Iran is expected to remain a gasoline importer next year, however if proposed expansions occur as planned, it is possible the country will become a gasoline exporter in 2015.

Sanctions and Iranian Gas Exports Gas exports are far less important to the Iranian economy than oil exports, but the EIA estimates that, “Iran imports natural gas from its northern neighbor Turkmenistan. According to FGE, imports jumped to 1.1 Bcf/d between January and October 2011 as a result of completion of the 41

Ibid

EIA, DOE, Country analysis http://205.254.135.7/countries/cab.cfm?fips=IR

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, 2012 Dauletabad-Hasheminejad pipeline. Iran has been importing natural gas from Turkmenistan since 1997.Iran exports natural gas to Turkey and Armenia via pipeline. Turkey, an importer since 2001, received 762 MMcf/d in 2010, while exports to Armenia totaled 24 MMcf/d in 2010.” 43 The main impact of sanctions and US diplomatic pressure to date has been in reducing Iran’s capacity to export. The EIA reports that, 44 Iran has an extensive natural gas pipeline system, which includes trunk lines, import/export pipelines, and gathering and distribution lines. The backbone of the domestic pipeline system is the Iranian Gas Trunkline (IGAT) pipeline series, which transport natural gas from processing plants to end-use consumers. Development of IGAT pipelines, fed by South Pars development phases, is important to Iran’s natural gas transport. IGAT-8 (2012/2013) will run nearly 650 miles to Iran’s northern consumption centers, including Tehran. IGAT-9 and IGAT-10 are still in the planning phase and are not likely to become operational before 2017. Iran exports natural gas via pipeline to Turkey and Armenia. The Iran-Turkey pipeline began exports in 2001 with 34 million cubic feet (MMcf) per day and exports gradually rose to 762 MMcf per day in 2010. In May 2009, Iran began exports of natural gas to Armenia after a couple of years of delays. Exports to Armenia totaled 24 MMcf per day of gas in 2010 in exchange for electricity. Pipeline exports to Armenia are expected to increase to 224 MMcf per day in 2020. Future pipeline projects (at various stages of planning) include the Iran-UAE pipeline, Iran-Pakistan pipeline, and Iran-Europe gas export project. Additionally, the governments of Iran and Syria have signed several MOUs to build a pipeline linking the two countries. However, this project is becoming less likely as a result of the unrest in Syria and is predicated upon the survival of the Assad regime. A controversial pipeline proposal (Figure V.4) is the $7.4-billion Iran-Pakistan-India (IPI) line that would transport Iranian natural gas south to the Asian subcontinent. With a proposed 1,700 miles and a 5.4 Bcf/d capacity, the pipeline has been stalled in the past due in part to disputes over the cost of the shipments. Iran and Pakistan have finalized gas sales and purchase agreements, but without India’s participation in the negotiations. It is probable that Iran would extend its domestic Iran Gas Trunkline 7 (IGAT-7) pipeline into Pakistan, avoiding the creation of a new, parallel pipeline.

It again is unclear how much US sanctions and diplomatic efforts have really limited these pipeline developments. Their cost, and the risk of going through Afghanistan and Pakistan is a major deterrent without any other factors. This is less true in the case of Turkey, but Iran also has not always presented viable business terms.

Iran’s Energy Targets While it is not directly related to sanctions, Figure V.2 highlights the fact that Iran has many highly vulnerable energy targets that are potential hostages to any Iranian effort to “close the Gulf” of the kind described in Chapter III. Iran’s main oil export terminals and other ports could easily be mined by air, or be hit surgically with precision guided munitions or cruise missiles. 45

43

EIA, DOE, Country analysis http://205.254.135.7/countries/cab.cfm?fips=IR

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“Iran,”

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EIA, DOE, Country analysis http://205.254.135.7/countries/cab.cfm?fips=IR

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44

This target analysis uses the data in EIA, DOE, http://205.254.135.7/countries/cab.cfm?fips=IR 45

13

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, 2012 Iran’s main oil terminal is at Kharg Island and is easy to “close” or destroy using mines, cruise missiles, and stand-off air munitions. The EIA reports that Kharg Island has a crude storage capacity of 20.2 million barrels of oil and a loading capacity of 5 million bbl/d, but it is along the upper coast of the Gulf, and any ships or tankers moving in or out could be easily embargoed or attack. Lavan Island is closer to the Strait, but only has the capacity to store 5 million barrels and load 200,000 bbl/d. Other terminals that are potential – but much less important targets -- include Kish Island, Abadan, Bandar Mahshar, and Neka (which helps facilitate imports from the Caspian region). 46 As Figure V.5 shows, many of Iran’s refineries are near the coast and easy to strike – and present an attractive follow-up target to any Iranian reprisals for a preventive strike. Similarly, Iran’s internal gas distribution system has no major impact on world oil exports and the global economy, but has many critical points that could cut off gas to key cities and areas in Iran. Such strikes could be combine d with strikes on electric facilities to have a major temporary impact on a city like Tehran. Iran’s power grid is another attractive set of targets and one where attacks could be combined with attacks on Iran’s domestic gas distribution system. Even though Iran exports electricity to some of its neighbors -- including Iraq -- its power grid is extremely vulnerable, as are many of its generating facilities.47 The EIA reports that Iran generated 201.6 billion kilowatt hours (Bkwh) of electricity in 2009, and consumed 161.5 Bkwh. This was generated from a network capacity of 53 gigawatts (GW), which is strained during times of peak demand. Approximately 97 percent of total electricity supply was generated by conventional thermal electric power that inevitably creates highly vulnerable targets and key points in the distribution systems that are equally vulnerable. Moreover, EIA reports that, “some power plants are running as low as 10 percent of their nameplate capacity as Iran’s electricity infrastructure is largely in a state of dilapidation and rolling blackouts become endemic in summer months. The amount of generation lost in distribution is a central indicator of the disrepair of the electricity network, with upwards of 19 percent of total generation lost during transmission…Iran has focused on meeting higher demand by expanding gas-fired combined-cycle and hydroelectric power capacity. Expansion of electric power generation capacity will require significant investment, made much tougher by international sanctions. The government has announced that it has opened the sector to foreign investment, but sales of existing state-owned facilities as well as new independent power projects has been almost non-existent.” It should be stressed in making these points, however, that the fact Iran has many targets, and its lack of modern aircraft and surface-to-air missiles make it highly vulnerable, is scarcely an incentive to carry out such strikes – particularly if they do lasting damage to key facilities or EIA, DOE, Country analysis http://205.254.135.7/countries/cab.cfm?fips=IR

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The EIA reports that Iran is a net exporter of electric power and currently exports electricity to neighboring states including Armenia, Pakistan, Turkey, Iraq, and Afghanistan. Azerbaijan and Armenia supply electricity to Iran. Armenia and Iran will increase the volume of electricity that they deliver to each other on a seasonal basis, according to a November 2011 agreement. Total volume of power swapped between the two countries will rise from 350MW at present to 1,200MW following the completion of construction of a third, 400-kV transmission line connecting Iran and Armenia, expected for mid-2012.

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, 2012 long-lead-time-for- replacement components. Moreover, it is far easier to talk about precision that avoids civilian casualties, unnecessary collateral damage, and avoids lasting damage, than it is to execute such strikes. Escalation is always a two-way street, particular if Iran shifts to a long conflict or attrition or reacts by rushing to go nuclear. Cutting Iran’s export capability affects the global economy and not just Iran. Moreover, it will be the urban residents of Iran that suffer most from attacks on gas or electric facilities and distribution, and not the government. Like sanctions, the people will suffer before the ruling elite. The fact remains, however, that no discussion of the vulnerability of the Arab Gulf, or closing the Gulf, should ignore the fact that anything Iran initiates can not only be dealt through counter targeting, but Iran will lose virtually any conflict that involves serious escalation not only in terms of military losses but economic losses as well. This may not deter Iran from either going on with its nuclear efforts or from initiating some form of clash or conflict. It is axiomatic, however, than any nation sophisticated