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Recent Developments:

On September 22, 2003 during an Iranian military parade, Shahab-3 "Shooting Star" missiles were displayed on mobile launchers. The parade announcer stated the missiles had a range of 1,000 miles, slightly longer than the 800 mile range attributed to them in 1998.


Missile Designation
Cross Country Comparison

USSR (heritage) DPRK Iran Pakistan
SS-N-4/Scud-BNo-dong-1 Shahab-3 Ghauri II
SS-N-4/Scud-B Taep'o-dong-1/Paeutudan-1 Shahab-4 pending?
SS-N-4/Scud-B NKSL-1* Shahab-4/Kosar?
Taep'o-dong-2 Shahab-5?
NKSL-X-2** Shahab-6/IRSL-X-4

For many years, there has been a lack of understanding of the origination of Iran's strategic ballistic missile program. Equally absent from the public discussion about the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTRC) is the exchange of information between North Korean and Iranian launch vehicle strategic ballistic missile programs and the Chinese support of both. There are several motivations for Iran's pursuit and officially acknowledged progress in developing an indigenous missile production industry. First, it is possible that the motivation for such disclosures is to demonstrate that Iran is a growing power against Israel. Secondly, Iran may wish to intimidate, other countries in the region from pursuing aggression as a strategy. Another possibility is to eliminate its reliance on foreign entities, the Russian Federation and now primarily the Peopleís Republic of China and to a lesser extent the Democratic Peopleís Republic of Korea, for its ballistic missiles and related technology. This reason may be of particular importance because the unreliable economy of North Korea may necessitate it to cease its "rogue state" behavior, which would include halting the support given to Iran, in search of economic aid from Western countries. To a large extent both Iran and North Korea remain clients or agents of the Peoples Republic of China for its near abroad policies more than any other country, with little evidence to the contrary. To a lesser extent there are other countries that could be added to this list such as Russia and especially Pakistan.

Examining the historical context of the relationship between Iran and North Korea ballistic missile programs will enhance the understanding of this potential strategic threat to the world. This understanding is essential because strategic arms control agreements can in fact create unemployment, in strategic industries, that results in additional proliferation of these technologies to countries like Iran and North Korea. To understand the true strategic threat requires a reasonable technical understanding of strategic missiles, as explained in the specific missile pages, and other systems, their technical heritage and performance limitations.

Iran's Nuclear Program Developments

Since the end of the Iran-Iraq war, the U.S. has exerted great pressure on Russia, China, India, and other countries both in and outside the Persian Gulf to withhold nuclear reactor technology from Iran. Despite occasional reports that Iran has acquired weapon-grade fissile materials from external sources or has produced such material from its own reactors, there is no hard evidence that Iran has been hiding a nuclear weapons development program. Ambiguous statements from various Iranian officials about progress in acquiring nuclear weapons may, like reports of indigenous missile production, reflect a deliberate policy of magnifying Iran's power by exaggerating its capabilities. The statements could also reflect Iran's indecision about its need for such weapons.

To support Iranian claims of not possessing a nuclear weapon or respective program, Iran submitted to IAEA inspections in 1992 and 1993. These IAEA inspections of Iranian nuclear facilities did not reveal any activities inconsistent with peaceful power development and Iran's obligations as a signatory to the NPT. Still, the relentless U.S. opposition to Iran's (legal) nuclear power development and pressure on potential suppliers of nuclear technology have significantly impeded any program Iran may have underway to acquire nuclear weapons. These nonproliferation efforts substantiate U.S. and Israeli intelligence estimates that Iranian acquisition of nuclear weapons is unlikely until between 2002 and 2010 (based on intelligence from 1995). However, it is still possible that foreign assistance, possibly from Pakistan, may accelerate this estimate. According to Singapore's Senior Minister Mr. Lee Kuan Yew, as quoted in the Washington Times on July 11, 2001, Iran is more likely to obtain a nuclear weapons or "Islamic Bomb" through Pakistan than its own research and development. In addition, Bintamin Ben-Eliezer Defense minister of Israel, as reported in The Washington Times, July 11, 2001 ("Ben-Eliezer tells Turks Iran nuke-armed by '05," Ankara, Turkey, The Washington Times, 11, July 2001, p. A12.) suggests that Iran by the year 2005 will be or may have tested a nuclear weapon. Whether Iran acquired nuclear weapons technical details from Pakistan during the years 2000-2001 remains uncertain. However, it is expected that the Islamic bomb technology will eventually travel to other Middle Eastern countries.

Chemical Biological Warfare Developments

Responding to Iraqi chemical attacks on Iranian troops during the Iran-Iraq War, Iran developed a chemical warfare capability. By the end of the war, Iran was producing nerve agents and other offensive chemicals for delivery by artillery shells and aerial bombs. Jane's estimates Iran's current stockpile of various agents at between several hundred and 2,000 tons. Syria and North Korea, both having missiles with chemical warheads, may have assisted Iran in developing such warheads for its missiles. Reports that Iran has been sponsoring work on biological weapons are unconfirmed.

Iran is still recovering economically and militarily from the destruction of the Gulf War with Iraq. Although suspected by the U.S. and other countries of sponsoring terrorist acts against American personnel and facilities, Iran does not currently pose a direct ballistic missile or other military threat to the continental U.S., Hawaii, Alaska, or possessions. Moreover, Iran is not likely in the near-term to develop an indigenous capacity to produce nuclear payloads for any of its missiles or strike aircraft. Iran may be building a capacity for applying chemical and biological agents weapons, but whether producing these "poor man's atomic bombs" are for offensive or deterrence purposes is not now evident.

Missile Programs Development

The development of the Iranian ballistic missile program has its origins in the mid-1980ís, during the Iran-Iraq War. The recent congressional review of "Iran's Ballistic missile and Weapons of Mass destruction programs" provides a detailed history of the Iranian ballistic missile program and provides insight and estimates into its present status. The following is an excerpt from that report.

"S. Hrg. 106-800
II. Iran and Proliferation
A. Ballistic Missiles

Iranian interest in ballistic missile acquisition is traceable to its war with Iraq in the mid-1980's. Iraq's modified SCUD missiles out-numbered and out-ranged those of Iran. Iran turned to North Korea to supply it with ballistic missiles. North Korea obliged, sending Iran SCUD Bs, 77 of which were fired against targets in Iraq during the second ``War of the Cities'' in 1988. There was a certain irony in this transaction. The missiles provided by North Korea had been reverse-engineered from SCUDs it had obtained from Egypt in the early 1980's.

During the Iran-Iraq war, Egypt was a staunch supporter of Iraq. Proliferation activity knows no loyalties.

By the early 1990's Iran had turned again to North Korea to acquire ballistic missiles. (Some analysts believe that Iran was involved in North Korea's No Dong program from its outset in the late 1980's and that it provided substantial funding for its development.) By the mid-1990's Iran had as many as ten No Dongs--either in component form or as completed missiles--which are evolved from SCUDs and are thought to provide the building blocks for North Korea's Taepo Dong missiles. Over the same period Iran had also begun to establish the infrastructure that would permit it to produce ballistic missiles within the country, ending its dependence on outside suppliers. By the early to mid-1990's Iran had also secured considerable technical support from Russia and China for its SCUD-based program, support that continues to this day.

The result of proliferation activity involving Iran is worth underscoring. In roughly a decade--from the time it became involved in North Korea's No Dong program--Iran has arrived at the threshold of ICBM capability. Recall the judgment of the Rumsfeld Commission in 1998:

Iran now has the technical capability and resources to demonstrate an ICBM-range ballistic missile, similar to the [North Korean] TD-2 [itself based on scaled-up SCUD technology], within five years of a decision to proceed-- whether that decision has already been made or is yet to be made.

-------- Press reports suggest that in November 1999 North Korea transferred 12 No Dong engines to Iran. It is reported that those engines were tested in February 2000. Iran successfully flight-tested the Shahab 3, which is its version of the No Dong, on July 15, 2000. In fact, in March 2000 the Iranian defense minister suggested the Shahab 3 was fully operational as of February.

-----------Iran also has the potential to pursue an ICBM-range program by building off Russian and Chinese assistance to programs other than its SCUD-based program. That is, Iran could choose to develop an ICBM different from the North Korean Taepo Dong. The Rumsfeld Commission reported that Iran ``is reported to have acquired engines or engine designs for the RD-214 engine, which powered the Soviet SS-4 MRBM and served as the first stage of the SL-7 space-launch vehicle.'' It also reported that China ``has carried out extensive transfers to Iran's solid-fueled ballistic missile program'' and that Iran has ``developed a solid-fueled rocket infrastructure. . . .'' Other sources report that Iran has received the RD-216 engine from Russia. It powered the SS-5 IRBM and the SL-8, a space-launch vehicle still employed by Russia. The step from a space launch vehicle to an ICBM is not very large or difficult. The assistance of Russia and China in these areas provides Iran with an alternate approach to ICBM-range missiles.

The Iranians discuss two programs beyond the Shahab 3, referring to them as the Shahab 4 and Shahab 5. The characteristics of these programs--that is, whether they are Iranian versions of the Taepo Dong or single or multiple stage variants on the Soviet-era SS-4 and SS-5 or something else--are unknown. It is not impossible that the names cover a number of Iranian programs. But whatever names they may have, the evidence suggests Iran, like every other ballistic missile power, is developing missiles of longer and longer range. "

Most of the Iranian missile development industry is located in Karaj, outside Tehran. Iran's missile infrastructure also includes a Chinese-built missile plant near Semnan, larger North Korean-built plants at Isfahan and Sirjan which can produce liquid fuels and some structural components, and missile test facilities at Shahroud and the Shahid Hemat Industrial Group research facility just south of Tehran. Historically Iranian missile "production" consists primarily of assembling imported ballistic missile kits.

In an effort to decrease their dependence on foreign entities, Iran is seeking to develop an indigenous missile and weapons production capability infrastructure. Iran's ballistic missile production facilities program is located in two underground tunnels between (Kuh-e-parbl) Bandar Abbas and Bushehr. It began to become a reality as early as 1996. However, the Scud B/Shahab 1 system is now said to be in production using a significant portion of locally manufactured components.

Current Iranian missile inventories are very speculative and the lower stockpile estimates are likely to be more credible than the upper range of higher estimates. Estimates of Iranís inventory of SCUD B/Shahab-1 ballistic missiles ranges from 50 to as many as 300. SCUD-B/Shahab-1 has a guaranteed range of about 280-330 kilometers. The stockpile of Iranian SCUD-Cs, with a range of 500-700 kilometers, has been estimated between 50 and as many as 450 SCUD-Cs.

In addition to pursuing a domestic ballistic missile production program, Iran has been eager to acquire foreign missiles and technology. For example, Iran targeted China's M-9 (600 km/500 kg) and M-11 (300 km/500 kg) single-stage, solid-propellant, road-mobile missiles, but U.S. pressure on China has, so far, prevented any transfers from taking place. Furthermore, the Peopleís Republic of China may also be assisting Iran in extending the range of the operation HY-1 and the HY-2 Silkworm cruise missiles. Added range to these missiles could present a serious security threat to Persian Gulf shipping activities. In addition, deployment of the Tondar-68, Iran-700 and the Fatch-110 (Victorious-110) NP-110 original designator tactical missile are highly dependent on continuing Chinese assistance, according to Jane's. China did supply Iran with the CSS-8 missile system.

Assessment of What Really Counts

Both North Korea and Iran seem to be using the "building block approach," to developing what they describe as space boosters. However, these missiles, if the appropriate decision were made, could be revised and deployed as a "Limited Range ICBM" capable of carrying a weapon. Time estimates of this possibility range from five to ten years. In addition, further research and development utilizing the existing missile technology could eventually yield a Full Range ICBM in approximately ten to fifteen years. However, it is generally believed that the DPRK (North Korea) and Iran are not currently pursuing such programs.

The estimated performance capabilities attributed to the existing DPRK and Iranian missile systems appear to exceed a realistic probability that they could deliver a lethal payload mass to the continental United States. However, these ballistic missiles do present a legitimate security threat to Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Africa. Nonetheless, the real strategic threat, verses the theoretical threat, posed by Iranian missiles is a matter of debate because of the technical characteristics of the actual missiles. The Taepío-dong-1/Paeutudan-1/Shahab-4 and the Taepío-dong-2/Shahab-5 are large liquid fueled and solid propellant missiles, which require three to five days to assemble and prepare for launch. These missiles are not designed to be deployed in missile silos or on road mobile launchers greatly reducing their strategic military utility, but increasing their political utility. In addition, the launch pads for these missiles are a not hardened targets, which makes the detection of the fueling and assembly relatively easy.

Because of the technical of these missiles it is relatively easy to detect their launch preparation and eliminate the sites through military means. It is technically possible to construct a Coffin or hardened shelter for the launch pads of the Taepío-dong-2/Shahab-5, but it is not clearly evident that North Korea or Iran is pursuing this limited strategic value option. The primary benefit of pursuing the technology associated with the Taepío-dong-2/Shahab-5 ballistic missile system is that it could lead to the development of a full range Intercontinental Ballistic Missile. Because of the aforementioned reasons and especially that North Korea and Iran have temporarily stopped or shelved the pathfinder development of the (PAEUTUSAN - 1) - Taepío-dong-1/Shahab-4 . because the Taepío-dong-2/Shahab-5 promises to assist in the deployment of a full range ICBM.

The credible threat presented by the DPRK and Iran is embodied in their silo deployable or mobile pre-surveyed launch site No-dong/Shahab-3 ballistic missile with a range of 1,350 to 1,500 km carrying a 760 to 1000 kg warhead. However, the Shahab-3 does require large and identifiable logistic support apparatus, subjecting it to identification and elimination.

At this time the credible strategic threat to the Untied States from both North Korea and Iran remains highly questionable. This does not mean that such a threat will not manifest itself in the foreseeable future but it simply does not exist today or in the immediate foreseeable future. This necessitates asking the question of just what are the North Koreans and Iranians aiming these missiles at both strategically, geo-politically and policy wise. What Iran and North Korea are developing for strategic and space launch vehicles is historically repeating the same history lessons learned during the early years of the Cold War by the United States and the former Soviet Union. The lessons learned by the United States and the Soviet Union have not been embodied in the missile programs of the North Koreans and Iranian. Their existing facilities for deployment of missiles are easily detectable and eliminated.

Although the U.S. Intelligence community has provided the U.S political leadership and policy makers with the worst case analysis of the potential threat from Iran and North Korea, with rare exception this level of a threat has rarely turned out to be the historical reality. Furthermore, in most cases the military intelligence community overestimates the security threat posed by Iranian and or DPRK ballistic missiles.

To date the U.S. has applied the following strategic defense policies against Iran and North Korea. They are Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD), denial of access to military applicable science and technologies under the multi-nation Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), as well as open and quiet, but intense, diplomacy. Furthermore, the United States is now actively pursuing the deployment of an unproven and yet to be perfected National Missile Defense system as a last line of defense against a committed WMD attack. It must be clearly understood by both Iran and North Korea that if they were to carry out such a strategic attack on the U. S. and or its allies they would be subject to an appropriate debilitating response.

Lastly, the relationship between strategic arms reduction programs and the proliferation of strategic arms technology must be examined. One specific concern is the effect strategic arms reduction will have on the large numbers of personnel that possess the technology necessary for the proliferation of WMDís and ballistic missiles. In the immediate ongoing strategic arms reduction discussions there must be a clear future for those personnel that would otherwise be unemployed from their work. This should be a part of the reduction process for the strategic arms reduction packages in order for them to not further add to the threat presented by strategic missile technology transfer.

How Real Is the Russia Technology Transfer to Iran

Iran has been a recipient of Soviet technical assistance since the Iranian, Khomeni regime came to power. A 1986 Politburo decision under the Gorbachev regime provided technical experts to assist Iran in developing the "know how" technology to create an indigenous ballistic missile and space program. To develop this infrastructure requires a large number of personal to maintain and train people on the systems in question. For example it is estimated that perhaps up to 10,000 technically qualified personnel and armed forces trainers were in Iran from 1994 through 1997. Certainly all of these weapons systems purchased by Iran and the nuclear power projects required this approximate level of personnel in the mid 1990's. Recently, the number of Russians providing Iran assistance has dropped considerably, since the mid 1990ís, with the election of Vladimir Putin. Today Iran is more dependent on the Peoples Republic of China more than any other contributor to its missile and space programs.

The Iranian missile programs most affected by the suggested Russian technology transfer and the known Chinese and North Korean technology transfers are the Shahab-4 satellite launch vehicle as well as the Shahab-5/Kosar/LRICBM and Shahab-6/LRICBM. All three of these launch vehicles appear to be Iranian reworks of the North Korean Taep'o-dong-1/Paeutudan-1 and 2 missile series.

Israeli and U.S sources have claimed that Russia has been providing Iran, Libya, China, Syria, and North Korea technology to benefit their missile development programs. This became an established reality when the U. S. Government issued sanctions again seven Russian entities on July 15, 1998. They were the Russian State owned Polyus ("North Star") Research Institute, the St-Petersburg Baltic State Technical University, INOR Scientific Center, Grafit Research Institute, Glavkosmos, MOSO Company and Europalace 2000. Again in July of 1998 the Tikhomirov Institute and Komintem plant in Novosibirsk were sanctioned. Three additional entities, the Mendeleyev University of Chemical Technology, the (NIKIET) Scientific Research and Design Institute of Power Technology, and (MAI) Moscow Aviation Institute, had sanctioned issued against them on January 12, 1999.

These sanctions prevented targeted entities from purchasing imported U.S made goods, exporting their products and services to the United States or selling their products and services to the U.S. government and its contractors, cutting off all aid to them. In total 12 Russian entities have had sanctions issued against them for significant material contributions, education and for providing military significant equipment, and or export of goods and services which could contribute to weapons of mass destruction or missile deliver to Iran according to the U. S. government. Additionally on April 24, 2000 sanctions were specifically issued against Prof. Yuri P. Savelyev, Rector of Baltic State Technical University (Voyenmekh) actually known as (Ustinov, Baltic State Engineering University). The sanctions issued were for a period of two years at the end of which they would expire. However, most the sanctions against other Russian entities were lifted prior to the two year term when the sanctions were issued against Prof. Yuri P. Savelyev.

The 1998 report from the Commission to Assess the Ballistic Missile Threat to The United States, or the Rumsfeld Report correctly notes that the Iranians have had severe problems in the management of large science and technology programs. They have also had considerable systems integration problems as correctly brought out by the report. Furthermore, the report correctly states that Iran has yet to fully develop an indigenous missile production system and Iran is unlikely to develop such a system without considerable external help through education, training and technology transfer. This would to suggest that this trend will remain for the foreseeable future in its development of the Shahab-4, and Shahab-5 missile systems but may transition with the Shahab-6 missile systems. Therefore the subsequent Shahab-4 almost certainly will turn out to be a variation on the North Korean Taep'o-dong-l/NKSL-I* missile system. Presumably the suggested subsequent Shahab-5 and Shahab-6 may also be expected to also utilize some variation on the North Korean Taep'o-dong-2.

Accused but No Sanctions Issued

In addition to the previously mentioned entities subjected to sanctions, several other Russian based organizations have been accused of similar actions, but have not been sanctioned by the United States, Government. They are NPO Trud, Energomash, Bauman Moscow State Technical University, TsAGI-Russian Central Aerohydrodynamic Institue, Rosvoorouzhenie the Russian Arms - Export Agency. What follows is a general discussion on some of those organizations that have been accused of these violations.

Rosvoorouzhenie - Russia's State Corporation for the export and import of military technology, armaments and military equipment. It was established by President Yeltsin through edit #1932 on November 25, 1993. On August 20, 1997 it was reorganized into the Federal State Unitary Enterprise or state company Rosvooruzhenie. Initially Rosvooruzheie was headed by Lt. Gen. Viktor Sarnoylov. In November of 1994 following a story leaked to the press, about Rosvooruzhenie hiding 137 billion rubles of profit from government taxation, Samoilov was replaced by Maj. Gen. Alexandr Kotelkin as its General Director. On August 20, 1997 Kotelkin was removed and replaced by Yevgeniy Qananiev

The change in the leadership in Rosvooruzhnenie was initially believed to reflect the redistribution of power between close aides of President Boris Yeltsin. Samolylov was a former military adviser of Vladimir Shumeyko, Kotelkin was reportedly supported by Alexandr Korzhakov. Considering the recent disclosures concerning potential missile technology transfer to Iran, the revolving door of the leadership at Rosvooruzhnenie seems to indicate that something more is going on than what was being publicly discussed by the Yeltsin government. In any case the U. S. Government brought no sanctions against this Russian government organization.

Bauman MSTU - Bauman Moscow State Technical University and its labs.

MAI - Moscow Aviation Institute

These graduate universities provide a basic graduate university education universally available through out the world. Educational access is available to older outdated ballistic missiles and space equipment, located both at Baumanís Orevo facility outside Moscow, and other labs for MAI in the Moscow region. This provides professors with the advantage of using recently outdated technological level systems to teach their studentís what is normally not necessarily available at a graduate school program. The students used this education to work on design training and hands on experience in dealing with the relevant technologies. This is different from what is normally available in the West. Rarely do students train on the actual ballistic missile hardware except in military closed schools and where special access is granted. Up until recently this was also the case in Russia.

Bauman and MAI were essentially closed, until recently, because they only trained Russians on older outdated ballistic missiles and space equipment. Unless one is a student or on a special tour group, access is limited to authorized personnel. With the opening of Bauman and MAI, the Russian Federation had been accused of training Iranian students to build missiles, but the charges were dropped. The education at these two schools is nothing more than what anybody else could get for all practical purposes. They are guilty of nothing more than the technology transfer done through the USAF, USN and US Army schools for allied troops.

Ultimately Bauman and MAI have allowed participating nations to assimilate Russian technology and carry it much further to their and our detriment in the long run although there are pro and con arguments on both sides on this issue. This is now why the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) exists and is signed and adhered to by over 31 nations including the Russian Federation. The mistake the U.S, MAI and Bauman are making is in training or even permitting the education of the third world nations that are not a part of the MTCR and the nuclear non-proliferation accords. The policy should be to not allow students from the non-signatory nations to be educated in the signatory nations. This applies to the US and Russia as well as the other MTCR signatory nations.

A difference between these two institutions is that the Moscow Aviation Institute was subjected to sanctions by the United States Department of State on January 12, 1999.

BMSTU - This training laboratory is located 80 km north of Moscow. It is taught by various professors whom openly admits that Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya and most other nations that possess Scud missiles have been either taught there or at other Russian military rocketry schools during the Soviet era. Through direct observation of the latest Russian Rocket troops training at the Orevo facility, I believe the technology transfer occurring is no worse than that carried out at the Red Stone Arsenal in Huntsville, Alabama and elsewhere in the US.

TsAGI - Central Aerohydrodynamic Institute - TsAGI apparently did received a series of contracts worth $100,000 to $150,000 from Iran to provide wind tunnel models for manufacturing and testing of reentry nose cone designs. In addition, it is believed that they provided assistance in wind tunnel facility designs, construction, as well as software programming development for those facilities operation. This organization has indeed been in considerable economic trouble since the fall of the former Soviet Union but the extent to which they have or have not been involved in this technology transfer is not known, except for allegations appearing in the public press. The Russian government has said that all technology transfer attempts were thwarted so far as they know since this is a Russian government facility. No sanctions were brought against this entity.

Accused and Sanctioned

Baltic State Technical University- (Voyenmekh) actually known as Ustinov, Baltic State Engineering University is located in St. Petersburg. This school is particularly proficient in solid motor design and education. Sanctions were brought against it on July 15, 1998. It stands accused of supporting a solid propellant motor development project for Iran. This institute probably has provided the training for designing tactical and larger size solid motors. This training could be applied to improving Iranian tactical missiles as well as helping with the solid propellant third stages that may be used for inserting satellites in Earth orbit or to give a longer range to strategic missiles.

This Graduate University is providing a basic graduate university education like Bauman and MAI provide. Subsequently on April 24, 2000 sanctions were specifically issued against Prof. Yuri P. Savelyev, Rector of Baltic State Technical University (Voyenmekh) actually known as (UBSTU) Ustinov, Baltic State Engineering University). Also the U.S lifted sanctions on several Russian organizations at that time including UBSTU except for the ban on Prof. Savelyev. Most of the sanctions that were issues were to last two years before expiring others were removed six months after being imposed by the U.S. Government.

It is particularly interesting that one major organization Moscow Institute of Thermal Technologies, MIT, which is the solid motor design bureau that does the actual Russian development of solid propellant and solid motor projects for Russia's strategic rockets, was not mentioned in this entire threat of sanctions process. This is because they would have been attached to the Baltic State University as a part of its educational staff or graduate advisers in all probability. During the Soviet era the state companies sponsored the students and provided professors of the applied science and technology for the universities and internship hands on trained for those students who would later go to work in their organizations even before completing graduate school.

Polyus (North Star) - The U. S. government issued sanctions against Polyus on July 15, 1998. This advanced guidance design bureau is said to have provided advanced ring laser guidance packages or technology to Iran. How accurate this report is remains uncertain. This is not the organization that designed and built the SS-4 guidance package, which is located in the Ukraine.

INOR - Scientific Production Center - Sanctions were brought against this facility on July 15, 1998. They were accused of providing samples of as well as selling quantities of maraging steel and tungsten coated graphite to the Iranians. The steel is used for the ballistic missiles airframes and tankage while the Tungsten coated graphite is used on the rocket exhaust steering vanes. It is unclear if the actual transfer occurred, but it is relatively certain that an agreement was reached to transfer the materials. Regardless, the Iranians have not been able to obtain the required coatings for the Shahab-3 graphite steering vanes to resolve their quality control issues. It is interesting to note that both Germany during World War-2 and Russia during the Cold War were able to resolve the graphite steering vane's problem with out resorting to some type of coatings for them. This therefore defines Iran's problem as being a quality control issue easily resolved.


For an examination of NPO-Trud's involvement in technology transfer issues refer to Taepío-dong-2/Shahab-5

Falsely Accused

Motorostroitel AO - This multi-branch international company is involved in both design and manufacturing of almost every jet engine or rocket engine produced by the former Soviet Union and Russia and the Ukraine today. It is possible that multiple branches could have been involved separately from NPO-Trud but this is not implied. It often served as the dedicated production factory organization during the Soviet era and is thus somehow involved in the engine deliveries for Kuznetsov to the West which were quite legal. In this particular case Motorostroitel of Samara does produce rocket engines for the Soyuz, Vostok and Molniya boosters as well as jet engines along with other industrial products separate from Kuznetsov. It also produces engine parts for Kuznetsov as well as Energomash since the industry has been reorganizing since the 1991 Russian Revolution. There is no evidence that they were ever involved in any technology transfer problems.

Iranian Espionage and Proliferation

Another means for obtaining this technology is espionage. It is understood that Iran is actively engaged in these activities and an example of this is when an Iranian spy diplomat (free lancer) was expelled from Russia. Russian internal security personnel caught a 33-year Old Iranian student diplomat named Teymuri was intern declared persona-non grata. He was kicked out of Russia as the investigation by the authorities was continued on the Russian contributors to this espionage. He was caught red handed trying to purchase free lancer classified information after being trailed for two weeks by Russian Internal Security personnel. The deals were halted while it was progress.

Weapons Systems Purchased By Iran

Chinese Systems

Supplied by the PRC under fontract along with the training required for the Iranian trainers.

Designation Name Propellant   Comments
HY-2 Silkworm Solid/Liquid 40.23-80.45 Soviet SS-N-2
HY-4 -- Solid/liquid 85-95-110-135 "Styx" old 1959-60 service entry, old technology updated, deployed in the Strait of Hormuz (Geshn Island). 435.6-500 kg warhead.
C-801 -- -- 40.225-48.27 Anti-shipping
C-802 -- -- 120.675-128.72 Half of the 150 delivered 1999 upgraded by North Korea in 2000.
HQ-2J -- -- -- Modernized version of the Russian SA-2
FL-10 -- -- --
FL-2 -- -- 51.49
FL-7 -- -- 30.57

Russian Systems

It is estimated that up to 10,000 technically qualified personnel and trainers were in Iran during 1996 and 1997. Certainly all of these systems and the nuclear projects required this level of personnel in the mid 1990s.
Designation Name   Comments
S-300 (SA-10) -- -- 96 missiles
SA-6 Gainful 64.36 39.93 kg warhead
SA-7 Strela -- Shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missile
SA-15 -- --
SA-18 Igla -- 500 Shoulder-fired missiles

North Korean Contributions

North Korean Designation Iranian Designation Quantity
Scud-B Shahab-1 50-300
Scud C Shahab-2 50-450
Nodong Shahab-3 150+
Taepo-dong-1 Shahab-4? 1-2 (R&D)
Taepo-dong-2 Shahab-5? 1-2 (R&D)
Taepo-dong-X Shahab-6? --

Iran has also purchased the following weapons systems and technology from the following main suppliers in recent years


The Russian Federation

It is estimated that up to 10,000 technically qualified personnel and trainers were in Iran during 1996 and 1997. Certainly all of these systems and the nuclear projects required this approximate level of personnel in the mid 1990ís.
  1. Fifty MIG. 29ís aircraft (squadron)
  2. Sukhoi-25ís aircraft
  3. Sukhoi-24ís aircraft
  4. Two Kilo class submarines
  5. T-62 tanks
  6. Two hundred T-72 MI tanks from Czechoslovakia
  7. APCís
  8. BMP-1ís
  9. BTR-80ís
  10. Solid motor technology education
  11. Two nuclear power plants.

Iranís - Previously owned or Purchased Aircraft

  1. Boeing - 747 transport aircraft
  2. Boeing - 707 transport aircraft
  3. F-14 Tomcat
  4. F-4 Phantoms

Sources and Resources

  1. Iran's Ballistic Missile and Weapons of Mass Destruction Programs, Hearing before the International Security, Proliferation, and Federal Services Subcommittee of the Committee on Governmental Affairs, United States Senate, September 21, 2000
  2. "North Korea Seen Delaying Missile Deal with Iran," The Washington Times, 25, Dec. 1993, p. A3.
  3. Gertz, Bill, "Iran Buys Arms From Russia," The Washington Times, pp. 1 & pA16.
  4. "Iran Testing Chinese Missiles," Aviation Week & Space Technology, 23, June 1997, p. 65.
  5. Gertz, Bill, "China agrees to deal with Iran on missiles," The Washington Times, 19, August 1999 p.?.
  6. "Iran, Khatami details plans for 25 defense projects," Tehran (Reuters), The Washington Times, 29, Sept. 1999, p. ?.
  7. Risen, James and Miller, Judith, "CIA tells Clinton an Iranian A-bomb can't be ruled out," The New York Times, 17, Jan. 2000, p. 1.
  8. Walter, Pincus, "CIA not ruling out "possibility" Iran can build nuclear bomb," The Washington Post, 18 Jan. 2000, p. A8.
  9. "1st. Secretary M. Gorbachev: considerations for Iranian space mission", "Gorbachev orders study of Soviet - Iranian space mission." Soviet Aerospace, 26, June 1989., p. ?.
  10. Lippman, Thomas W., "Israel Presses U.S. To Sanction Russian Missile Firms Aiding Iran", The Washington Post, 25, Sept. 1997, p. A31.
  11. Gertz, Bill, "Russia disregards pledge to curb Iran missile output", The Washington Times, 22, May 1997, p.A3.
    • Quotes information from teh classified Defense Intelligence Agency report
  12. Gertz, Bill, "Russia, China aid Iran's missile programs", The Washington Times, 10, Sept. 1997, pp.1 & A11.
    • A detailed Israeli intelligence report given to teh CIA details the cooperaation between Iran with the Russians and Chinese...The CIA and DIA were apparently able to substantiate most of the Israeli report on Russia as well as the PRC and Chinese Great Wall Industries involvement.
  13. Lippman, Thomas W. , "Israel presses U.S. to sanction Russia missile firms aiding Iran", The Washington Post, 25, Sept. 1997, p. A31.
  14. Gertz, Bill, "Hill group seeks sanctions against Russia for aid to Iran", The Washington Times, 2, Oct.1997, p. A11.
    • "...Pentagon officials subsequently said US Intelligence agencies had confirmed that Iran is building two missile systems based on the No-dong-1 missile..."
  15. Gertz, Bill, "Russians admit to training Iranian missile technicians", The Washington Times, 3, Oct. 1997, p.A17.
    • "The service (FSC) stopped an Iranian attempting to manufacture "Joints and parts for a liquid fueled missile engine" at NPO Trud. The parts were being built by the Russian company "under the guise as equipment for gas-pumping stations" the official said." Polyus and INOR, metal alloy producers, were also mentioned.
  16. Hoffman, Davis, "Russia says it thwarted attempts by Iran to get missile technology", The Washington Post, 3, Oct. 1997, p. A35.
    • "Thwarted", and Iranian attempt this year to have parts manufactured for a liquied fuel missile at a russian factory. The parts were being disguised as gas compressors or pumps. "...All had been detected at an early stages"... "and a stop had been put to them."
  17. Gertz, Bill, "Russia sells Iran missile metals", The Washington Times, 20, Oct. 1997, pp. A1&A11.
    • "High strength steel and special foil 620 kilograms" total was supplied to Iran by contract for its ballistic missile. INOR had already thermal treated the alloys so that the Iranian could process the materials for their specific use. These materials are used to shield guidance and instrumentation equipment.
  18. Verbin, Anatoly, "Russia deports Iranian for trying to buy missile designs", The Washington Times, ( Reuters News Agency), 15, Nov. 1997, p. A8.
  19. Gertz, Bill, "Russia conspiring with Iran on missiles", The Washington Times, 23, Feb. 1998, pp. A1 &A18.
    • Indication of FSB duplicity cooperation with BSTU and its director for "provindg guidance systems, firing circuits, pyrotechnics or explosives" and solid propellant motor lectures at teh "persepolis joint missile education center" to teh Sanam Industrial Group department 140, which is in charge of the solid propellant missile program for Iran.
  20. Gertz, Bill, "Russian Firms facing sanctions", The Washington Times, 17, July 1998, p. A8.
  21. Gertz, Bill, "Russia says U.S. put on missile sting", The Washington Times, pp. A1 & A14.
    • "One official siad the Moscow Aviation Institute is continuing to train Iranian missile technicians" (engineers and designers)
  22. Hoffman, David, 'Russia Denounces U. S. Sanctions", The Washington Post, 12, January 1999, pp. A1, 7 A24.
  23. Lippman, Thomas W., "Sanctions Imposed on 3 Russian Institutes, Thomas W. Lippman, The Washington Post, 13, January 1999, pp. A17, & A20.
    • NIKIET Scientific Research & Design Institute of Power Technology for the reactor design institute; Mendeleyev University of Chemical and Technology Know-how on heavy water production, nuclear graphite production, research reactor design.
  24. Timmerman, Kenneth, "Iran's deadly missile potential", The Washington Times, 16, July 1999, p. A15.
    • "Iran is also working with North Korea to develop ICBM's and shorter range missiles and regularly sends teams to attend Norht Korean missile launches." A significant increase in activity at Sharoud, Iran's missile test site, suggests Iran will be launching a mult-stage missile
  25. Hudson, Audrey, "Analyst fear U.S. helps Iran develop missiles via Moscow", 14, July 1999, Space News, p.?.
  26. "Iran says missiles are for defense", The Washington Times, 19, July 1999, pp.A13.
  27. Mulholland, David, "Iran-Russia ties prompt U.S. missile debate", Defense News, 26, July 1999, pp. 4.
  28. Saradzhyan, Simon, "Leaks of rocket expertise to Iran alleged", Simon Saradzhyan, Space News, 24, April 2000, p. 17.
  29. Gertz, Bill, "Firms in China, N. Korea hit with State sanctions', Bill Gertz, The Washington Times, 28, June 2001, pp. 1 & A18.
    • The US State Department issues two year long government sanctions against North Korea's Changgwang Sinyong Corp. for providing No-dong-1 liquid fule rocket engines from the No-dong-1 missile program to Iran for its Shahab-3 and follow on programs.

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