Iran's Ballistic Missile Programs: An Overview

February 4, 2009

Weapon Program: 

  • Missile


Steven A. Hildreth

Author's Title: 

Specialist in Missile Defense

ran has an active interest in developing, acquiring, and deploying a broad range of ballistic missiles, as well as developing a space launch capability. This was spotlighted several times since 2008. In mid-July 2008, Iran launched a number of ballistic missiles during military exercises, reportedly including the medium-range Shahab-3. At the time, a Pentagon spokesman said Iran was “not testing new technologies or capabilities, but rather firing off old equipment in an attempt to intimidate their neighbors and escalate tension in the region.” Subsequent analysis of the July 2008 missile launches shows Iran apparently digitally altered images of those launches. Iran announced other missile and space launch tests in August and November 2008. In February 2009, Iran announced it launched a satellite into orbit and “officially achieved a presence in space.” This short report seeks to provide an overview of the reported or suspected variety of Iranian ballistic missile programs. Because there remains widespread public divergence over particulars, however, this report does not provide specificity to what Iran may or may not have, or is in the process of developing. This report may be updated.