Text of press conference by Ms. Soona Samsami, NCRI US Representative – October 16, 2002, Washington, DC
What I am going to reveal today, is the result of extensive research and investigation by the Committee of Defense and Strategic Studies of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, with the benefit of Command Headquarters Inside Iran of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran, which I am going to share with you.
Shahab-4 Missile Test
The Iranian regime completed "Shahab-4" missile tests at a missile firing range facility located 80 km (50 miles) south of Semnan in May and August this year. This is a modified version of SS-4 (Sandal) ballistic missile with a range of 2000 km (about 1250 miles) and a 1.5-ton warhead. It is 22 m (72 feet) long and weights 42 tons. This was tested with both iron and aluminum bodies. At the time of testing, Revolutionary Guards Air Force Commander Ahmad Kazemi, RG Missile Force Commander Moqaddam and a number of commanders from the army and the joint staff were present. The missiles’ CEP is 2.5 km.
These missiles, equipped with navigational systems, are assembled at Hemmat Industrial Complex on Damavand -Tehran highway. The plant belongs to the Revolutionary Guards Corps.
With these missiles, with a range of 2000 km (about 1250 miles), the regime will have all the capitals in the Middle East and vast territories in Europe and North Africa, and the US forces stationed there within its missile range.
Shahab-4 development under the cover of launching satellites
After Shahab-3’s successful testing, Defense Minister Ali Shamkhani said that the regime was developing a missile designated Shahab 4. But immediately after then-U.S. Defense Secretary William Cohen’s statement on this issue, Shamkhani retracted his remarks and claimed falsely that this missile was being developed as a vehicle for launching satellites into orbit. William Cohen warned in July 2000 that the development of long-range missiles by the regime in Iran was a dangerous development.
Plans prepared to accelerate Shahab 5 & 6 development
After the completion of Shahab 4, the regime is now developing Shahab 5 and 6 with greater range. Shahab 5 will have a range of 4,000 km and Shahab 6, also designated "Kowsar", is an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM). The regime’s experts and officials have sent their proposals and plans for the development of these missiles through the joint chiefs to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. These proposals are under study at the joint chiefs headquarters by GC Brigadier General Mohammad-Reza Naqdi, head of the logistics at the general command. He is the former commander of the counter intelligence of the security forces, with a long record in suppression and export of terrorism. The clerical regime is trying to cut short the time required to develop advanced missiles by obtaining sensitive technology from abroad.
Shahab-3 to be equipped with chemical and biological warheads
Shahab 3 missile is the same as Nodong-1 of North Korea with original range of 1,000 km, capable of carrying a warhead of 750 to 1000 kg. The regime tested Shahab 3 with increased range of 1,300 km for the first time in July 1998. In this test the missile exploded in mid-air 100 seconds after it was launched.
After a year and a half it was again tested unsuccessfully in February 2000 and left behind some civilian casualties. Eventually in July 2000 it was tested for the third time and this time the test was successful. But in view of its CEP of 3 km, it was concluded that the missile should be equipped with chemical and biological warheads in order to make it effective in any confrontation.
On September 26, 1998, when Shahab 3 was displayed for the first time in a parade marking the anniversary of the first Persian Gulf war, the mullahs had written on the missiles: "U.S. cannot do a damn thing" and "Israel must be wiped off the face of the earth."
Semnan, a new test site
In previous years, Revolutionary Guards tested their missiles in the region of Qom’s salt lake, about 140 km south of Tehran. But after several disastrous firings, which left behind civilian casualties at the landing site, the Guards chose an alternative site known as "Qasr-e Bahram" in Siah Kouh region near Varamin (30 km south of Tehran).
But they had to change the testing site after two unsuccessful tests of Shahab 3 missiles to avoid leakage of information. Also, the rough road along which the missiles had to be transported to reach the launch site caused problems in the launching and wiring systems of the missiles. The launching and the wiring systems of the missiles are vulnerable, because they have been tinkered with for increased speed and engine power. Eventually the testing site was moved to Semnan "firing range" in Dasht-e Kavir. This site was also used during the Shah’s regime for testing Katyusha rockets and artillery pieces.
Missiles ready to target U.S. ships in the Persian Gulf
The Revolutionary Guards Corps has another missile development plan known as "Jam missile project" at the Guards Air Force base known as Chamran Base near the town of Jam (220 km southeast of Bushehr on the Persian Gulf). There is a considerable number of surface to surface missiles pointing to waters and beaches on the other side of the Persian Gulf and ready to target U.S. ships in the Persian Gulf if instructed to do so. Guards Brig. Gen. Sa’adati, commander of Chamran base, and his deputy, Brig. Gen. Nikbakht, commands the missile units. The missiles were transferred from Mostafa Khomeini base on Qom-Tehran highway to Mehrabad Airport in Tehran and later by plane to Bushehr.
Missile forces increased to 5 brigades to expand Guards’ capability
The missile force of the regime is under the control of the Revolutionary Guards Air Force and its command headquarters is at Dastvareh Base on Karaj highway, north of Chitgar Forest Park. After the development of Shahab 3 missiles, Revolutionary Guards formed two new missile brigades, designated Raad and Qaem, and increased their missile forces from 3 to 5 brigades, all on the basis of a plan to expand the Guards’ missile capability and the power to launch a large number of missiles simultaneously. The Fifth Raad Missile Brigade is stationed in Sajjad base in Bidganeh village in Fardis near Karaj and is responsible for launching Shahab 3 and 4 missiles. Guards Brig. Gen. Heidari-Javar is the commander of this brigade and his deputy is Brig. Gen. Moin-Zadeh. Revolutionary Guards Commander in Chief Rahim Safavi said last year: "Organizing five ballistic missile groups has been the biggest task in the Air Force. At the moment the deterrent capability of the Islamic Republic has been raised with these ballistic missiles and Iran is among the big missile powers in the region…"
Bases loaded with missiles
The Alhadid missile brigade is stationed at Almehdi Base in Fardis near Karaj. Foreign military advisers are active on this base. This brigade has Scud B and C (Shahab 1 and 2) missiles and targeted Mojahedin’s Ashraf Camp in 1994 and 2000 with missiles. A base known as Shohada north of Kermanshah and another base by the name of Imam Ali Amadgah near Khoram-Abad are related to this brigade and have launching platforms for Scud B and C missiles.
The 19th Zolfaqar Missile Brigade is stationed in Sajjad base and holds one-ton missiles known as Al-Nazeat (with 100 km range) and 3.5 ton missiles known as Al-Zelzal (with 200 km range).
The 23rd Towhid Missile Brigade has been stationed in mountainous region of Khorram-Abad in western Iran.
There is also a missile unit in the Guards’ army known as "15 Khordad Missile Group" which holds a variety of short-range missiles named as Fajr (dawn) and Oghab (eagle).
The mullahs’ regime possesses 250 to 300 Shahab 1 missiles (same as Scud B) with an approximate range of 300 km, which brings most of Iraq, all of Kuwait, important industrial centers and oilfields in Saudi Arabia and UAE within range. There are also 150 Shahab 2 missiles (the same as Scud C missiles) in the regime’s arsenal.
Additional apparatus to develop more missiles
The mullahs’ regime has organized a huge and costly apparatus known as Aerospace Industrial Organization, which includes a large number of factories, complexes and research centers to develop more missiles with greater power and range. This organization is under the command of Revolutionary Guard Ahmad Vahid Dastjerdi (the chart holding names of 15 factories under this organization which produce, assemble or manufacture parts for development of missiles is enclosed). In addition to this organization, the Mechanical Industries Complex under the supervision of Brig. Gen. Rahimi, is one of the groups related to the Defense Industries Organization, controlled by the Ministry of Defense. This plant is also involved in the manufacture of bodies, parts and sub-systems for Shahab missiles.
Missile development, a permanent feature of mullahs’ defense policy
The mullahs’ regime has placed the missile development programs and stockpiling of weapons of mass destruction with a heavy cost among its top priorities in the past two decades. The regime’s guiding theory, as described by Mohammad Larijani (advisor to former foreign minister) in 1984, was "the theory of Um-al-Qora" (Mother of All Islamic Lands). Khomeini dreamed of setting up a "Union of Islamic Republics" using the slogan of "Liberate Jerusalem Via Karbala" and his advisors said that the strategic aim was that "Iran should be the Um-al-Qora of the Islamic world." They said "Um-al-Qora means the place where the leadership of the Islamic world is based."
Larijani added that the regime’s "defense system is based on two pillars: the ability to destroy and the ability to retaliate. The ability to destroy means that if the enemy must know with certainty that if it invades Iran, its forces will be destroyed here… As for our retaliatory power, the Americans may hit one of our ships, but we need not respond by hitting one of their ships. We will hit the Americans where they can find no safety… In our defensive powers, we must plan those locations anywhere around the world where we can strike at the Americans." (Larijani, Ibid.)
The acquisition, development and stockpiling of weapons of mass destruction alongside export of terrorism and fundamentalism have been the two permanent features of the foreign and defense policies of the medieval regime ruling Iran since the very beginning and remain so today.
Doctrine of asymmetric warfare
The mullahs’ Supreme National Security Council, chaired by Khatami, has held a series of meetings in recent months to review the regime’s military doctrine. In these meetings, where discussions were dominated by top commanders of the Revolutionary Guards, the SNSC approved the "doctrine of asymmetric warfare." This, according to the regime’s strategists, means that because the mullahs’ armed forces stand no chance in a conventional confrontation in the age of highly advanced military technology and ultra-modern weapons, they must resort to other tactics, including terrorist attacks and the use of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery, ballistic missiles. Brig. Gen. Mohammad-Ali Jaafari, commander of the Revolutionary Guards’ army, recently declared: "After the war with Iraq and the reconstitution of our forces, access to much more advanced weapons and those with much longer range, especially in the field of surface-to-surface missiles, was pursued in earnest."
He added: "As the likely enemy is far more advanced technologically than we are, we have been using what is called ‘asymmetric warfare’ methods. We have gone through the necessary exercises and our forces are now well prepared for this." (Official news agency, IRNA, October 9, 2002)
Hashemi Rafsanjani had said earlier: "We must prepare ourselves to confront the enemy’s new aggression. We shall respond to this aggression by striking at their heartland." (State-run television and radio, July 16, 2002)
Targeting Resistance bases, a "warning to small states"
The mullahs’ regime has left no doubt as to its intentions when it comes to missile development and procurement programs. In addition to the intentions mentioned above and its objectives in the eight-year war, the mullahs’ regime has used different types of missiles, particularly Scud-Bs, to launch attacks on Iranian Resistance’s camps. The clerical regime fired three Scud missiles at Camp Ashraf on November 6, 1994, and three more missiles on June 10, 1999. The mullahs fired 77 surface-to-surface missiles at seven camps of the Iranian Resistance in the Iran-Iraq border region on April 18, 2001. A few days later, Revolutionary Guards Brig. Gen. Ali Larijani, head of the state-run radio and television networks and a close confidant of Khamenei, ominously warned Iran’s southern neighbors in the Persian Gulf region and said in Tehran’s Friday prayers: "The [missile attack on Mojahedin camps] was a warning to small states in the region not to step on the lion’s tail." (IRNA official news agency, April 27, 2001)
Khatami had earlier declared on August 1, 1998 that "Iran will not ask for anyone’s permission to develop its defense capabilities."