Table of Iran's Missile Arsenal

April 30, 2021

Publication Type: 

  • Weapon Program Background Report

Weapon Program: 

  • Missile

Iran's missile arsenal is the largest and most diverse in the Middle East. Many of its missiles are inherently capable of carrying nuclear payloads, which has long been an international concern: U.N. Security Council resolution 2231 “calls upon” Iran “not to undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons.” U.N. restrictions on Iranian procurement of missile technology, as well as targeted sanctions on entities involved in missile development, remain in place through 2023. Nonetheless, Iran has persisted in developing a wide array of ballistic and cruise missiles that are either inherently or potentially capable of carrying a nuclear warhead, as well as space launch vehicles (SLVs) that use many of the same technologies as intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs).

In addition, Iran has made substantial improvement over the past decade in the precision, accuracy, and survivability of its missiles, which make them an increasingly potent conventional threat. Iran has employed missiles in combat on multiple occasions since 2017, including a ballistic missile attack on Iraqi bases hosting U.S. forces in 2020. Iran has also transferred missiles to proxies such as Yemen’s Houthi rebels, who have used them to strike civilian targets in Saudi Arabia on numerous occasions. Iranian leaders have repeatedly declared their country’s missile program to be non-negotiable, despite efforts by the United States and its partners to negotiate restrictions on Iran's missile development as part of a long-term agreement.

The table below sets forth what is publicly known, claimed, or estimated about the size and capability of Iran's potentially nuclear-capable missiles. Milestones in the development of these missiles are available here. The history of their development is described in an Iran Watch background essay, Iran's Missile Program: Past and Present.

Name

Type[1]

Max Range

Payload

Propulsion[2]

CEP[3]

Status

Shahab-1 (Scud B)

SRBM

up to 300 km

770-1,000 kg

liquid fuel, single stage

~500m

deployed

Shahab-2 (Scud C)

SRBM

~500 km

~700 kg

liquid fuel, single stage

 700 m

deployed

Qiam-1

SRBM

700-800 km

650 kg

liquid fuel, single stage

<500 m[4]

deployed

Fateh-110

SRBM

300 km

500 kg

solid fuel, single stage

100 m[5]

deployed

Fateh-313

SRBM

500 km

<500 kg[6]

solid fuel, single stage

10-30 m[7]

deployed

Zolfaghar

SRBM

700 km

450-600 kg

solid fuel, single-stage

unknown

deployed

Dezful

SRBM

1,000 km

unknown

solid fuel, single stage

unknown

displayed

Raad-500

SRBM

500 km

unknown

solid fuel, single stage

30 m

displayed

Shahab-3

MRBM

1,300 km

~750 kg

liquid fuel, single stage

~3 km

deployed

Shahab-3 variants
(Ghadr, Emad-1)

MRBM

up to 2,000 km

750-1,000 kg

liquid fuel, single stage

As low as 500 m

tested successfully

Sejjil

MRBM

2,000-2,500 km

1,000 kg

solid fuel, two stage

unknown

tested successfully

Khorramshahr (BM-25/Musudan)

MRBM[8]

2,000-4,000 km

1,800 kg

liquid fuel, single stage[9]

 ~1.5 km

limited number delivered

Safir
 

SLV

2,100 km[10]

500-750 kg[10]

liquid fuel, two stage

N/A

operational

Simorgh

SLV

4,000-6,000 km[10]

500-750 kg[10]

liquid fuel, two stage

N/A

no successful launches

Qased

SLV

2,200 km[10]

1,000 kg[10]

liquid and solid fuel, three stage

N/A

operational

Zuljanah

SLV

4,000 km[10]

500 kg[10]

liquid and solid fuel, three stage

N/A

undergoing tests

Soumar

LACM

700 km

unknown

turbojet engine

N/A

likely operational[11]

Hoveizeh

LACM

1,350 km

unknown

turbojet or turbofan engine

N/A

successful test claimed by Iran

Footnotes: 

[1] Ballistic missiles can be divided into five classes based on range: close-range (less than 300 kilometers), short-range (300 to 1,000 kilometers), medium-range (1,000 to 3,000 kilometers), intermediate-range (3,000 to 5,500 kilometers), and intercontinental (more than 5,500 kilometers). As of April 2021, Iran’s ballistic missile arsenal is composed mainly of short-range ballistic missiles (SRBMs) and medium-range ballistic missiles (MRBMs), although some work on longer range missiles is suspected. Space launch vehicles (SLVs) are designed to launch satellites into orbit, but could potentially be reconfigured as ballistic missiles due to their similar characteristics. Land-attack cruise missiles (LACMs) function essentially as pilotless aircraft and do not fly on a ballistic trajectory, thus posing a challenge to missile defense systems.

[2] Missiles can be classified according to whether they are liquid-fueled or solid-fueled. A liquid-fueled missile engine produces more thrust per pound of fuel than a solid-fueled engine, but is more complex and can require many precision-machined and moving parts. Some types of liquid-fueled missiles must also be fueled at their launch site, which makes them easier for an opponent to detect and destroy. Solid-fueled missile engines are relatively economical and easier to maintain and store. Solid fuel also allows for a more rapid launch. Solid-fueled missiles are therefore generally less vulnerable in combat.

[3] Missile accuracy is commonly measured by circular error probable (CEP): the radius within which, on average, half of all missiles fired will land. For example, given a missile with a CEP of ten meters, if one hundred were launched at a target, on average fifty would land within ten meters of the target.

[4] As the Qiam-1 was one of the missiles used in the January 2020 strike on U.S. forces in Iraq, which was widely considered accurate, it is possible that the Qiam-1’s CEP has improved.

[5] Iran has reportedly developed a guidance kit for the Fateh-110 that, when attached, can reduce its CEP to 30 meters or less.

[6] Inferred from the fact that the Fateh-313 has a smaller nose cone than the Fateh-110, its base model.

[7] Based on its likely use in the January 2020 ballistic missile attack against U.S. forces and damage assessments of that attack.

[8] Iran claims that the Khorramshahr’s maximum range is 2,000 km, thus complying with a reported self-imposed range limit of 2,000 km for all Iranian missiles. The greater range of the Soviet SS-N-6 and North Korean Musudan (BM-25) missiles, on which the Khorramshahr is based, suggests that the true maximum range of the Khorramshahr may be as high as 4,000 km. If the true range is greater than 3,000 km, the Khorramshahr would be classified as an intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM).

[9] Based on the fact that the Musudan (BM-25) missile, on which the Khorramshahr is based, is single-staged. Some independent analysts estimate that the Khorramshahr may be two-staged.

[10] Estimate if reconfigured as a ballistic missile.

[11] Iran has transferred a variant of the Soumar missile, the Quds-1, to the Houthis, who have employed it successfully against targets in Saudi Arabia.