There’s not a lot of red meat for U.S. hawks in the Pentagon’s latest congressionally-mandated report on Iran’s military power. Greg Thielmann notes that the report repeats that Iran has not yet made the decision to build nuclear weapons and makes it clear that Iranian progress towards an ICBM which could justify spending billions on boondoggle missile defense plans is frozen in place while it concentrates on improving it’s short and medium range arsenals.
However Jeffrey Lewis believes the report
holds a significant chunk of flesh for Israeli hawks contains a significant sentence that shouldn’t be ignored (see comments for reason for this edit – SH):
the report contains the most direct official confirmation that Iran has sold ballistic missiles to Hezbollah. In my opinion, this ought to be the lede:
In close cooperation with Syria, Iran has provided Lebanese Hizballah with increasingly sophisticated weapons, including a wide array of missiles and rockets that allow Hizballah to launch weapons from deeper in Lebanon or to strike Israel.
I haven’t seen such a clear a statement in an official document. US officials have been willing to say that Iran transferred missiles to Syria, but have been much more careful to avoid confirming the transfer to a non-state actor like Hezbollah. That is, in part, because some Israeli officials have described the transfer of ballistic missiles to Hezbollah as the sort of thing that would earn a body an airstrike.
Perhaps the word ”œmissiles” in the phrase ”œmissiles and rockets” means something other than Scuds and Fateh-110s. If so, I’d be interested to hear what that might be.
The phrase could well refer to guided weapons rather than unguided ones – anti-tank or anti-aircraft missiles such as those used by Hezboullah against invading Israeli forces in 2006 – but I agree with Jeffrey that Congresscritters and journalists should be seeking clarification of this statement.