Magazine article Arms Control Today

Assessing Whether Iran's Ballistic Missiles Are Designed to Be Nuclear-Capable

Magazine article Arms Control Today

Assessing Whether Iran's Ballistic Missiles Are Designed to Be Nuclear-Capable

Article excerpt

By Michael Elleman and Mark Fitzpatrick International Institute for Strategic Studies, February 2018

Analysts Michael Elleman and Mark Fitzpatrick assess which of Iran's 13 ballistic missile systems are designed to be nuclear capable, as defined by the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) and UN Security Council Resolution 2231, while taking into account various trade bans that seek to limit missile proliferation. The authors assert that judging intent and what it means to be "designed to be capable" versus just "nuclear capable" as defined in Resolution 2231, is difficult to assess objectively. Still, they write that it can be done by considering factors including motivation, system development, nuclear hedging, and emphasis on accuracy. The authors find that eight of Iran's ballistic missile systems exceed MTCR standards and are deemed nuclear capable, although two are based on Soviet Scud missiles that were designed to carry conventional weapons and can be reasonably assessed to not have been designed for nuclear use. …

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