By Michael Elleman, Senior Fellow for Missile Defence, IISS, and Mark Fitzpatrick, Executive Director, IISS-Americas
Let's be realistic: Iran will not surrender its ballistic missile program. Rockets play too central a role in Iran’s defense and deterrence posture, especially given its antiquated and inferior air force. The need for missiles is also deeply embedded in the national psyche, from the days in the mid-1980s when acquiring and firing back Scud missiles was the only way to retaliate against Iraqi missile strikes on Iranian cities.
It should be possible, however, for the United States and its allies to limit Iran’s missile program. This includes preventing it from obtaining intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM) and intermediate-range systems (between 3,000 and 5,500 kilometers in range). Such a prohibition is realistic, because Iran today does not have any such programs and while countries are typically loath to give up existing capabilities they are often willing to accept limits on what they do not have. The facts are clear: None of the missiles Iran has under development come close to being able to hit the United States. Nor can they reach much of Europe beyond its southeastern corner.
Read the full article in War on the Rocks