Covert support for terrorism ‘unabated’
Iran is continuing to develop missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons despite an interim agreement on its nuclear programs, according to a Pentagon report.
“Although Iran has paused progress in some areas of its nuclear program and fulfilled its obligations under the Joint Plan of Action (JPOA), it continues to develop technological capabilities that also could be applicable to nuclear weapons, including ballistic missile development,” a one-page unclassified summary of the report says.
A copy of the report was obtained by the Washington Free Beacon.
The report was due to Congress in January but was not sent to the Armed Services Committee as required by law until this month. Analysts said the delay appeared designed to avoid upsetting Tehran and the nuclear talks.
State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said this week that the increase in nuclear production was expected and that the amount has increased and decreased.
Iran’s military also continues to threaten the strategic Strait of Hormuz, the Pentagon report said.
“Iran continues to develop its capabilities to control the Strait of Hormuz and avenues of approach in the event of a military conflict,” the report said, adding that Tehran is “quietly fielding increasingly lethal weapon systems, including more advanced naval mines, small but capable submarines, armed unmanned aerial vehicles, coastal defense cruise missile batteries, attack craft, and ant ship-capable missiles.”
U.S. officials said Iranian backing for Houthi rebels in Yemen is also aimed at gaining access to the strategic Red Sea strait called the Bab-el-Mandeb, which, like the Strait of Hormuz, could be used by Iran to disrupt oil and other shipping.
Tehran’s support for terrorism also has not stopped, according to the Pentagon.
“Iran’s covert activities appear to be continuing unabated,” the report says. “The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods Force (IRGC-QF) remains a key tool of lran’s foreign policy and power projection, particularly in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Bahrain, and Yemen.”
The IRGC Quds Force also is continuing to improve its access within foreign countries and its ability to carry terrorist attacks “to safeguard or advance Iran’s interests,” the report said.
Mark Dubowitz, another Iran expert, said Tehran is continuing to develop long-range ballistic missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads, in violation of U.N. Security Council limits.
“The Obama administration ceded to Iranian demands that their missile program was non-negotiable and, instead, has tried to reassure Congress that this missile threat can be mitigated by constraining Iran’s ability to develop a nuclear warhead,” said Dubowitz, executive director of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.
“This major administration concession to Iran will greatly complicate the U.S. intelligence community’s ability to detect whether Iran has develop a nuclear warhead-carrying ICBM capable of reaching the continental United States,” he added. “By its very nature, it is much more difficult to detect and prevent warhead development, which can take place in small, covert facilities, than it is to determine the nature and extent of a hostile missile program. In yet another example of how deeply flawed the emerging Iran deal will be, Tehran will have a much easier pathway to develop systems.”
Full article: Pentagon: Iran Continuing Work on Nuclear Systems (Washington Free Beacon)