Top-Secret Ballistic Missile Projects in Iran

Briefing by Soona Samsami and Alireza Jafarzadeh
October 16, 2002

Weapon Program: 

  • Nuclear


National Council of Resistance of Iran

MS. SAMSAMI: Good day, ladies and gentlemen.

My name is Soona Samsami. S-o-o-n-a. She asked me to spell it. Last name, S-a-m-s-a-m-i. Even though I've met her several times. (Laughs).

What I am going to reveal today is the result of extensive research and investigation by the Committee of Defense and Strategic Studies of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, with the benefit of the Command Headquarters inside Iran of the People's Mujaheddin Organization of Iran.

Right now I'm going to share with you this information. The Iranian regime has completed Shahab-4 missile tests at a missile firing range facility located 80 kilometers -- which is 50 miles -- south of Semnan, which on the map we have located it, in May and August of this year. The test was carried out by the 5th Raad -- which is R-a-a-d -- Missile Brigade at this site. This is a modified version of SS-4 ballistic missile, with a range of 2,000 kilometer, which is about 1,250 miles, and 1.5-ton warhead. The missile is 22 meters, or 72 feet, long and weighs 42 tons. This was tested both by steel and aluminum bodies, and both tests have been successful.

At the time of testing, Revolutionary Guards Air Force Commander Ahmad Kazemi, which is spelled K-a-z-e-m-i, which is -- Revolutionary Guard Missile Force Commander Hassan Tehrani Moqaddam and a number of commanders from the army and joint chief of staff were present. The missiles' CEP, which is the error of the missile, is 2.5 kilometer.

When in May 2002 the regime's defense minister, Shamkhani, was asked about the test, he referred to a Shahab-3 test to deceive the international community and deviate attention from the Shahab-4 project.

But in reality, through our information revealed from inside Iran, that has been test of Shahab-4, which has been successful, and in fact it was a complete Shahab-4 test. And this is what is so important about this information we have.

And after Shahab-3's successful testing, a couple of years ago, Defense Minister Shamkhani said that the regime was developing a missile named Shahab-4. But immediately after then-U.S. Defense Secretary William Cohen's statement on this issue, Shamkhani retracted his remarks and claimed falsely that this missile was being developed as a vehicle for launching satellite into orbit. William Cohen warned in July 2000 that the development of long-range missiles by the regime in Iran was a dangerous development.

This missile, equipped with navigational systems, is assembled at Hemat industrial complex on Damavand Teheran Highway. The plant belongs to Revolutionary Guard Corps. These missiles, with a range of 2,000 kilometer, as I said, which is 1,250 miles, will bring all the capitals in the Middle East and vast territories in Europe and North Africa and the U.S. forces stationed there within the missile range of the Iranian regime. That's why it's so dangerous.

After the completion of Shahab-4, the regime is now developing Shahab-5 and -6, with greater range, range of 4,000 kilometer, and Shahab-6, also named Kowsar -- K-O-W-S-A-R, Kowsar -- which is an intercontinental ballistic missile -- as we call it, ICBM.

Shahab-3 missile is the same as Nodong I of North Korea, the missile from North Korea, with an increased range of 1,300 kilometer. It was concluded that the missile should be equipped with chemical and biological warheads in order to make it effective in any confrontation.

On September 26, '98 when Shahab-3 was displayed for the first time in a parade by the mullahs. On this missile, it was written "U.S. cannot do a damn thing" and "Israel must be wiped off the face of the earth."

The Revolutionary Guard Corps has another missile development plan known as Jam missile project, which is at the Guards Air Force base known as Chamran base near the town of Jam, which is 220 kilometers south of Bushehr, on the Persian Gulf. I'm sure you are all -- know about the Bushehr site.

There is a considerable number of surface-to-surface missiles pointing to waters and beaches on the other side of the Persian Gulf and ready to target U.S. ships in the Persian Gulf if instructed to do so.

The regime has organized a huge and costly apparatus known as Aerospace Industrial Organization, which includes a large number of factories, complexes and research centers, which I have the list of it available. And I'm sure all of you have it in your kit. And these centers are to develop more missiles with greater power and range. This organization, the Aerospace Industrial Organization, is under the command of a Revolutionary Guard named Ahmad Vahid Dastjerdi.

The Mechanical Industries Complex under the supervision of Brigadier General Rahimi is one of the groups related to the Defense Industrial Organization controlled by the Ministry of Defense. This plant is also involved in the manufacture of bodies, parts and subsystems of Shahab missiles.

Now the doctrine of this warfare. The mullahs' Supreme National Security Council, chaired by Khatami, has held a series of meetings in recent months to review the regime's military doctrine. In these meetings, the National Security Council approved the doctrine of asymmetric warfare. This, according to the regime's strategists, means that because the mullahs' armed forces stand no chance in a conventional confrontation in the age of highly advanced military technology and ultra-modern weapons, they must resort of other tactics, including terrorist attacks and the use of weapons of mass destruction.

And their means of delivery is ballistic missiles.

On targeting resistance bases, Revolutionary Guards Brigadier General Ali Larijani, head of the state-run radio and television network, in April 2001 warned Iran's southern neighbors in the Persian Gulf region and -- referring to firing 77 missiles against mujaheddin camps on Iran-Iraq border region, said in Tehran's Friday prayer, "The -- " missile attack on mujaheddin camps " -- was a warning to small countries in the region not to step on the lion's tail." Khatami had earlier declared, on August 1st, 1998, that, quote, "Iran will not ask for anyone's permission to develop its -- " so-called " -- defense capabilities," unquote.

Here I'll show you -- this is site of Semnan. This is where the Shahab-4 was tested. This is Tehran here, which is almost like three hours driving from Tehran. And this is the Bushehr side, which I referred earlier. And most of that (mist ?) that I showed you earlier -- these facilities and centers of research are located around Tehran, here, and with one exception, which is in city nearby, Tabriz, here.

So if you have any questions, we have more detailed information. Some of that I've passed to you. And some in over here ready with my colleague Mr. Jafarzadeh there, to respond to any of your questions.

Thank you very much.

MR. JAFARZADEH: Any questions?

John, please.

Q Were these tests flight tests, or were they on the ground?

MS. SAMSAMI: Yes, actually, they tested, you know, on the air. You know, it's a firing test.

Q So they actually launched the missile?

MS. SAMSAMI: Right. Right. This is the significant of it, as a matter of fact -- is that.

MR. JAFARZADEH: In other words -- if I may add a couple of things to that, because the regime knew that such a flight test could be detected, that's why they camouflaged it under the cover of a Shahab-3 missile test. Their intention in the past few years has been to conceal the Shahab-4 missile program, and they use different means, different tactics, to conceal it, and this is the way that they conceal their actually -- you know, the launching of the missile, the fire test -- test firing of the missile.

Any other questions? Please.

Q You mentioned that it has a range that could reach Europeans, some European capitals. Would you be specific about what -- where you think the threat from these missiles would be in Europe? Which cities? What, I mean --

MS. SAMSAMI: Well, as you see here, this is the range which -- you know, it covers a lot of Europe. You know, it's like -- half of, you know, Europe is covered. So, you know -- and here you have a lot of North African countries as well, and a lot of Arabic countries, as well as this side. So I think it's very dangerous.

MR. JAFARZADEH: Any other questions? Please.

Q I have two questions. One, Shahab-4 -- was that all homemade, or with important component parts? And the same question about Shahab-5 and -6, which will be developed, number one.

And number two, what do you think the aim of the regime of Iran, Islamic regime, is in compiling such dangerous and very effective armaments? For what purpose?

MS. SAMSAMI: Yes. Respond to your first question -- as we have the information, parts of this missile, Shahab-4, is coming from North Korea and then has been assembled and being, you know, improved by Iranian regime.

(To Mr. Jafarzadeh.) And regarding 5 or 6, you should have any comment --

MR. JAFARZADEH: Yes. In times of -- as she said, this missile, Shahab-4, could not have been put together or test-fired without foreign assistance. In the past they have benefitted from the support of the Chinese, the Russians, and we know presently definitely the North Koreans are involved in this. They have had a number of contracts, dealings with them in terms of getting equipment, the know- how, and that's the way they were able to get to this point.

And it's even more true regarding Shahab-5 and Shahab-6 that this could not take place without foreign assistance, both in the terms of the know-how and the equipment.

In regards to the second question -- (to Ms. Samsami) -- did you want to elaborate on that?

MS. SAMSAMI: Go ahead.

MR. JAFARZADEH: In terms of the second question, the main objective of the Iran regime is that because they believe in the doctrine of the global Islamic rule -- this is -- this was the theory of Khomeini himself, and he wanted to expand his authority to the rest of the Islamic world, if not the whole world. And therefore, they have been following that doctrine, and in fact as things deteriorate inside Iran, faced with demonstrations, protests, strikes by their population, especially the youth, they feel -- they find themselves in more need of exporting their crisis and exporting their terrorism beyond Iranian borders.

And therefore, the more you will see demonstrations and the protests inside the country, the more you will see emphasis on the use of these weapons such as these missiles.

Q A follow-up. In your remarks you mentioned Mr. Khatami's remarks that these are defensive missiles.

MS. SAMSAMI: So-called.

Q So-called. How could such powerful (weapons ?) be for defensive purposes, with such range?

MS. SAMSAMI: Yes, this is exactly why we're revealing this information today and in this other press conference about the atomic capabilities of the Iranian regime last month. I'm sure the word of the news conference was everywhere, you heard about it. I mean, the dangers, the security of the whole region, actually, is endangered about this missile test and these plans. They call it so-called "defense," you know, project. And you know Khatami is the head of the National Security Council in Iran, so all the planning, all the details of every launching, you know, attacking anywhere is actually signed by Khatami.

Q (Inaudible) -- on this is that for the first time, the council and U.S. government aims are the same, destroying and removing all these dangerous weapons from the Middle East.

MS. SAMSAMI: Well, our aim always, you know, in the NCR has been always revealing wherever the regime has been endangering security of the people around the world. You know, this has been a principle. For years we have been doing that, you know. I'm sure you have seen the coverage of all these efforts we have had.

MR. JAFARZADEH: One thing I wanted to add. It's ironic that the Iran regime claims defensive purposes for whatever they do. I don't know how we can define this defensive, when you find Iranian regime's involvement all over the world; more than 80 percent of all major terrorist attacks around the world have been conducted, directly or indirectly, by the Iranian regime. Whether it was the Khobar Tower bombing in Saudi Arabia, which we revealed the information right here, or it was the bombing of the Jewish community center in Argentina, or their involvement in Lebanon in terms of taking hostages and their plans to buy nuclear weapons, none of this could be defined as defensive.

And therefore, the role of the National Council of Resistance consistently over these years has been to expose this information, to halt the advancement of these programs of the Iranian regime, and help the national security and the global peace by doing these kind of things. And therefore, we believe the right approach as far as the West is concerned, including the United States, is to be firm and decisive against the Iranian regime. No one should be beguiled by this, you know, moderation business of the ayatollahs. And therefore, the right approach is to be decisive and at the same time reaching out to the people of Iran and the Iran resistance who are trying to establish democracy and human rights in the country.

Any other questions? John. And then you will --

Q How can you tell the difference between a Shahab-3 flight test and a Shahab-4 test?

MR. JAFARZADEH: Well, technically speaking, this might be difficult. That's why they felt that this is the way they can camouflage it. We didn't distinguish based on technical things; we distinguished it based on information from within the Iranian regime. We know it was a Shahab-4 test based on the information we have gotten from inside the Iranian regime. As you may know, the Iranian regime has been very, very angry at the resistance in providing this kind of information, having tremendous access and popularity inside Iran to top secret information. And this is similar to the previous information. This is where it has come from.


MS. SAMSAMI: Just let -- excuse me. Let me add that as regards the information, we actually had people inside while the test was, you know, launched. I mean -- so that is how, you know, we got all these details. The timing, you know: how many -- air time, and all these details, you know? They had people on the site at this test.


Q Given the statistic that you cited that the Iranian regime is responsible for about 80 percent of the terrorist attacks in the world, why do you think that the U.S. government is focusing on Iraq rather than Iran in its war on terror?

MS. SAMSAMI: Well, that's just the policy of the United States, so I can't respond for that. What we understand is that we should bring the attention of the world community as information we get from inside Iran -- very dangerous. And, well, the United States calls Iran the leading state sponsor of terrorism. So on that, we're doing ours. You know, you have to ask -- (laughs) -- the United States for that.


Q Are there signs from what you can see that Iran may be feeling some threat from the U.S. war on terrorism, and that might be pushing it to increase or to accelerate its missile development program?

MR. JAFARZADEH: Well, this has always been the policy of the Iranian regime, the asymmetric doctrine, that in order to basically deter the world from focusing their attention on the Iranian regime's outlaw behavior, they should rely even more on terrorism, even more on weapons of mass destruction, not seizing it, not stopping it. This has been their ideology, this has been their policy. And regardless of what approach is being taken there, they are not going to abandon their policies, you know, in terms of putting aside terrorism and weapons of mass destruction. Only if they see extreme decisiveness, because they only understand the language of force and decisiveness. Therefore, the only thing that can really turn around the whole situation is that when they see the outside world is serious is about it, the outside world is thinking of a fundamental change in Iran and is reaching out to the people of Iran and the resistance to bring about a change.

You will be next, please.

Q Given the (impending/impinging ?) U.S. strength that's been -- (inaudible) -- do you think the Iranian government has the motivation to use the Shahab-4 missile against U.S., Israeli or Iraqi targets?

MS. SAMSAMI: Well, if I understood your question well, I think the range shows, you know, that he has the fire, you know, on his hands -- on her hands. So I'm sure, you know, they're going to take advantage of any, you know, possibility coming up. But other than that, I can't speak for that.

MR. JAFARZADEH: Any other questions?

Q Have you communicated this to the U.S. -- about the missile test to the U.S. government?


Q What was the response?

MS. SAMSAMI: Well, we haven't got any response yet. So -- because we just got this information within, you know, a couple of days. And the moment we got it, we passed it on. So I'm sure it takes some time to respond.

MR. JAFARZADEH: Any other questions? Thank you very much. I'd like to thank everybody.

And thank you.

MS. SAMSAMI: Thank you. (Applause.)

MR. JAFARZADEH: Thank you. (Chuckles.)

Factories affiliated with the Aerospace Industries Organization