July 11th, 2012
05:10 PM ET

Pentagon: Iran improving its missile capabilities

By Mike Mount

Iran is steadily improving its missile capability and could be able to test a missile that could reach the U.S. shores within three years, according to a new Pentagon report assessing the status of the Iranian military.

"Iran has boosted the lethality and effectiveness of existing systems with accuracy improvements and new submuntion payloads," which allows missiles to drop explosives over a wider area causing more destruction, according to the report.

RECOMMENDED: Pentagon: Iran missiles more accurate

The missiles were part of war game exercises conducted by Iran last week. Iran's government said it was testing missiles capable of hitting U.S. bases around the Middle East.

"During the war games, long-range, medium-range and short-range missiles will be used and will be fired from different points across the country," which an Iranian spokesman said was designed to test the precision and efficiency of the warhead and missile systems.

The Pentagon report was created in April, ahead of the most recent Iranian war games, so intelligence from those exercises was not included in the report. Additionally, U.S officials could not confirm the accuracy of the Iranian statements about the latest exercises.

The latest report did cite Iranian war games held in 2011 in which Iran launched several missiles, "including a multiple missile salvo."

The 2012 report was signed by Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and sent to defense committees on Capitol Hill last week. It said regular ballistic missile training continues throughout the country and continues to develop missiles that can hit Israel and Eastern Europe, including an extended-range Shahab-3 and a medium-range ballistic missile, called the Ashura, that can fly more than 1,200 miles.

The report repeats what has been stated publicly by the United States, that over the last 20 years Iran has "placed significant emphasis on developing and fielding ballistic missiles," that could threaten the United States, coalition and partner countries around the Middle East and to project power in the region.

The report also maintains that Iran is still capable of testing a long-range intercontinental ballistic missile by 2015, "with sufficient foreign assistance."

The United States and NATO have begun to field an anti-ballistic missile shield in the southern and eastern parts of Europe to protect from such a threat.

But weapons analyst John Pike said the missile shield is not fully operational.

"You know 2015 is very soon. Certainly if you believe the 2015 forecast, Iran would have that ballistic missile before the United States has a defense against it," Pike, weapons expert at GlobalSecurity.org, said on Wednesday.

Regarding Iran's continued desire to develop a nuclear weapon, the report reiterated already released information and positions the United States has held, but tied Iran's nuclear desires to Iran's ballistic missile ambition under the topic "Iranian Capabilities related to Nuclear and Missile Forces." That emphasized the over-arching threat the United States sees: Iran ultimately putting a nuclear weapon on an intercontinental ballistic missile.

Iran has also claimed to have deployed anti-ship, short-range ballistic missiles that can identify and maneuver toward ships as they fly, according to the report. After Iran's continued saber-rattling and the country's threats to close the Straight of Hormuz, the United States moved a floating base for naval special forces into the Arabian Gulf, as well as four anti-mine ships.

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Filed under: Iran • Pentagon • Security Clearance on TV
soundoff (329 Responses)
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  13. Fedora

    Iran is win

    August 31, 2012 at 11:37 am | Reply
  14. Matt

    The ship launched cruise missile has a sweet kick back, it is a credit to them, it is the real deal. Not as good as the Soviets but not far off.

    July 26, 2012 at 6:00 pm | Reply
  15. FBXL5

    CNN simply edits out my comments all the time. This "news" organization is just a big shill for the government. Anything the pentagon anonymously spits out is reported as gospel truth without question or, investigation. It's like the old days of the Soviet Union and Pravda.

    July 17, 2012 at 7:56 am | Reply
  16. disgusted by the ignorance

    And the propaganda increases so that the usa can take over another country and grab more oil. Doesn't it seem familiar? This is Iraq all over again. They don't even change their tactics; they know the sheeple will believe anything they read and fight with each other while they make their plans to invade... SHAME ON YOU SHEEPLE!

    July 13, 2012 at 3:14 pm | Reply
  17. TrueGrissel

    I don't want to lose overseas I want to Lose Here. We need a massive invasion.

    July 12, 2012 at 10:59 pm | Reply
  18. Hashim

    Iran- Don't play with match! US can wipe Iran off on the map! Guess Iran want to start to War with us.

    July 12, 2012 at 10:08 pm | Reply
    • David

      Hashim is another articulate student of history. This will be a cakewalk just like Iraq and Afghanistan, only cheaper in blood and treasure. I mean, Iran is only four times as large, and has an exponentially high level of nationalism imbued with Shi'ite Islamic traditions, so Hashim and the other brave Freedom Warriors at the tip of the spear will be overwhelmed with flowers. We will then have all that oil to use in our cars and live happily ever after. Puppies for everyone! Oh, and anyone who opposes another war to support Zionist hegemony in the Middle East is a Nazi btw/. 🙂

      July 12, 2012 at 10:47 pm | Reply
    • TrueGrissel

      They wont have to , either the US or Israel will start it then Russia and China and the middle east will join the opposition and I hope we LOSE.

      July 12, 2012 at 10:57 pm | Reply
      • dave190

        what the hell is wrong with you?

        July 24, 2012 at 12:43 pm |
  19. krm1007 ©™

    A basic tenet of capitalism is the law of Supply and Demand. In other words, no one can stop a transaction when there is a willing buyer and a willing seller. Restrictions, bans and sanctions lead to black market transactions such as occurred during prohibition. India acquired their nukes while under sanctions. Iran's case is no different. One can delay or prolong the process but cannot stop it till eternity.

    July 12, 2012 at 7:52 pm | Reply
    • krm1007 ©™

      Of all the countries that have the heat US is the only one to have used it. Guess what, it stopped a war and they both are best buddies. Says a lot doesn't it if you believe in epistemology. Just saying…..based on tenets of western thought. Not propagating it.

      July 12, 2012 at 7:59 pm | Reply
  20. Global Democratic Government Inc._ GDG ©

    Good for them. Let them have missiles. Let them have Atomic/Hydrogen/DNA Bombs. What is the big deal. Everyone and his uncle has them. Move on. The world is screwed up as it is. Millions have already been massacred. I don't think anyone's conscience, as I see it, will be bothered if a few million more are slaughtered. Unless there is a world democratic government put in place in lieu of UN/NATO/EU, there will be chaos and genocides and continued mowing down of people in the name of terrorism and patriotic act etc.

    July 12, 2012 at 7:34 pm | Reply
    • Thinker23

      I hate to blow up your bubble but Israelis do not have any reasons to believe that Iranian leaders are joking when they talk about "erasing Israel from the map" and they do not want to be vaporized by Iranian nukes. Therefore, Israelis will do whatever they can to prevent Iran from having nukes... even if it will require use of force against Iran while it still does not have the capability to nuke Israel.

      July 12, 2012 at 8:16 pm | Reply
      • David

        The only problem with what you said is that it is all total B.S. Go Google "Israeli Minister Agrees Ahmadinejad Never Said Israel Should Be Wiped Off Map." It was a purposeful mistranslation designed to lead uneducated lemmings like you into supporting another war for Israel. How did it somehow become patriotic to support a racist apartheid state (Israel) and the waste of trillions of dollars and thousands of soldiers' lives based on LIES?! Can you really look in the mirror again after Iraq and Afghanistan? (which is still going on by the way, in case Americans forgot the daily sacrifices and waste of resources going on their daily). Israel-firsters on this board make me want to hurl. 🙁

        July 12, 2012 at 10:56 pm |
      • Say it As You See It

        Israel should do what it needs to do and Iran should do what it needs to do. It is the wild west anyways. No one is in control. There is no world govt so to speak and as GDG points out. Millions of Iraqis have been vaporized and so the Afghanis, Pakistanis, Indians etc. So what if a few more follow suit? Right? is not what the current state of world affairs have taught us? That is where we are heading. A very disastrous future.

        July 13, 2012 at 10:44 am |
      • FBXL5

        So you believe all politicial rederick as total truth. Would that include the rederick constantly puked out by idiot politicians in this country or, is your belief limited to people you don't like?

        July 17, 2012 at 8:01 am |
    • JJ Vargas

      I totally agree with your concept. The world is out of control. Hillary globe trotting is adding to the oncoming disaster. She has no clue what she is doing.

      July 13, 2012 at 10:46 am | Reply
  21. smell it

    remove the sanctions slow down the brain drain and in a decade iran will swallow america whole

    July 12, 2012 at 6:31 pm | Reply
  22. fer

    jj what a joke really a ship how many batleship they have 0 stop the war prpaganda jews controled media

    July 12, 2012 at 6:21 pm | Reply
    • Thinker23

      How many battleships did Afghanistan have when it attacked the US in September, 2001, in your opinion?

      July 12, 2012 at 8:17 pm | Reply
  23. Vin

    This news of Iranian missiles increasingly becoming more accurate should make realize America to withdraw the two aircraft carriers deployed in the Persian Gulf. These are nuclear powered ships which means there is a live reactor inside the ship. What happens if an accurate missile could penetrate the hull and puncture the reactor ? Wont a new Chernobyl happen in the middle of the Persian Gulf which will firstly expose the young 6000 americans per ship to nuclear radiation? Two carriers mean 12000. And any rescue effort for 12000 people is highly impossible with the possibility of Iran capture hundreds of them. This is a very very serious issue. Sure, planning must have been done on this front, but deployment of aircraft carriers appears to be foolish brinkmanship. Daylight robbery of the US taxpayer if one ship and the aircrafts on board goes down. The aircraft carriers can be replaced by more effective smaller ships employing lesser manpower.

    July 12, 2012 at 2:26 pm | Reply
    • Jason Auston

      Deliberate theft of US tax payers money to begin with when our politicians consider Iran as an enemy.

      July 12, 2012 at 2:55 pm | Reply
  24. saeed

    iran has manufacured and designed some impressive military equipment it produces anti tank missiles that can cut through 1,2m of steel from 5 km away iran also has the persian gulf missile armed with a 600kg warhead and a speed of 4000km an hour it can level a destroyer 300km away. iran has simulated a aircraft carrier military test it buildt a floating platform of steel and cement has big has a aircraft carrier and in the middle of the sea but the test showed i would need 10 persian gulf missiles to sink a aircraft carrier.

    July 12, 2012 at 12:42 pm | Reply
    • saeedTheTowelHead

      Baaaaaaaaaaaaaaah, Baaaaaaaaaaaaaaah, Baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah, Daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaddy?

      July 12, 2012 at 1:48 pm | Reply
    • Shawn Irwin

      No,it would not take ten . . . one hit to the armory where the bombs are stored, and that aircraft carrier is history.

      July 12, 2012 at 7:45 pm | Reply
  25. War is coming and of course, its the arabs who are bringing it.

    no surprise here....the arabs know no other way....if they aint killing joooos, their killing americans, if they aint killing americans, their killing europeans...and if they aint killing europeans, they're killing each other...sunni killing shia and shia killing sunni....they bomb each others mosques, but you dont hear fancy liberals saying jack crap....hypocrites.

    July 12, 2012 at 12:23 pm | Reply
    • fer

      jews kill anyone. way that you new that is a fact

      July 12, 2012 at 6:25 pm | Reply
    • Thinker23

      Iranians are NOT Arabs. This being said, however, it's Iranians who're doing everything they can to initiate another war.

      July 12, 2012 at 8:20 pm | Reply
  26. islam is the biggest threat to world peace.

    thats a FACT.

    July 12, 2012 at 12:16 pm | Reply
    • CommonSense

      No, U.S. hegemony is the biggest threat to world peace.

      July 12, 2012 at 2:22 pm | Reply
      • Quigley

        Well said, Common Sense. Thank you.

        July 12, 2012 at 7:39 pm |
    • IranianInfo

      Sorry, but if you Google "Jewish Rabbis suck baby penis" you will learn 2 things: 1- It's true and it's the custom and law. 2- Mainstream media like CNN won't report it; so let's way for a fair news service to report true facts before we decide who really is a 'threat.'

      July 12, 2012 at 3:17 pm | Reply
      • Thinker23

        Considering that most Muslims (and not only preachers) suck grown up penises it's THEM who are really the 'threat'.

        July 12, 2012 at 8:22 pm |
  27. islam is the biggest threat to world peace.

    nuff said

    July 12, 2012 at 12:15 pm | Reply
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