Published: Fri, December 06, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

Iran is secretly transporting missiles into Iraq that may have nuclear capability

Iran is secretly transporting missiles into Iraq that may have nuclear capability

At the time, the Iranian government insisted that it was not sending missiles to Yemen, where Shiite Houthi rebels aligned with Iran have taken over much of the country.

Iran is believed to possess the largest and most diverse ballistic missile arsenal in the Middle East, according to USA intelligence assessments, with a substantial inventory of close, short and medium range missiles that can strike targets throughout the region.

As far back as August, Israel was being "blamed" for a series of airstrikes on Iraqi territory.

He said, "An initial investigation indicates that these advanced missile components are of Iranian origin". It was a key issue discussed when Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held talks on Wednesday with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Iran's stockpiling of short-range missiles in Iraq also serves as a strategic deterrent.

Since the spring, the Pentagon has beefed up its military strength in the region, adding about 14,000 troops, ships, aircraft and other assets in response to what officials said is a growing threat from Iran.

US officials told Reuters there were ongoing conversations about potentially adding additional USA troops in the Middle East, but that no decisions have been made and plans were fluid.

The letter was drafted after British, French and German ambassadors sent a letter of their own to Guterres on Wednesday, claiming that social media footage captured this year showed that Iran's new Shehab-3 ballistic missile is capable of carrying a nuclear payload. The officials did not say where the crew of the small boat was from.

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Iran has been attacking countries in the Middle East of late but disguising the origin to diminish the chances of counterattacks. Due to the lack of information and an internet blackout during the largest protests, it is hard to know how many people were killed, though the United States said on Thursday that it believes at least 1,000 people lost their lives.

Short-range missiles have a range of just over 600 miles, meaning that one fired from the outskirts of Baghdad could strike Jerusalem, notes the Times.

While the USA did not point to a specific delivery of the weapons remnants by Iran to the Houthis, officials said that markings and other characteristics indicated the missiles were manufactured in Iran. And others had specific technical characteristics, such as a certain valve, that only Iranian missiles have.

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

The ambassadors for the United Kingdom, Germany and France to the UN Security Council called on UN chief Antonio Guterres to inform the council in his next report that Iran's missile programme was "inconsistent" with a UN resolution underpinning a now unravelling nuclear deal reached in 2015 between Iran and six world powers.

Aside from its missiles, "another point of concern to the United States and our allies is Iran's rapid progress in advancing its UAV [unmanned aerial vehicle] capabilities", says Saunders. But Tehran has criticised the three European powers for failing to shield Iran's economy from the US penalties.

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