Israel Keeps Wary Eye on Iranian Missile Buildup
By Barbara Opall-Rome 4:38 p.m. EDT August 29, 2015
TEL AVIV — Israel is keeping a “very sharp eye” on Iran’s modernized
ballistic missile arsenal and will be “ready to respond” should the
Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) attempt to export the new Fateh 313 to
Lebanon- or Syria-based proxies, a defense official says.
“We assess that Iran has begun to stockpile them,” the official said of the
500-kilometer-range, solid-fueled missile, unveiled in Aug. 22 ceremonies
for National Defense Industry Day in the presence of Iranian President
Hassan Rouhani. “You can be sure we are monitoring any attempt to move these
out of the country by air, land or sea.”
He added, in a not-so-cryptic reference to the multiple times weapon
shipments have either been seized on the high seas or attacked by air, “Our
red lines are very clear to all and we are obliged to act on them.”
Tal Inbar, a missile expert who heads the Space Research Center at the
Fisher Institute for Strategic Air & Space Studies, noted that Iran’s
ability to extend the range of the Fateh 313 to double that of its
predecessor, the Fateh 110, attests to the maturity of its aerospace
“This is not a trivial thing to extend the range to such an extent," Inbar
said. "The Iranians say it was achieved by way of a new formula for the
solid fuel, but more probable is that they did it by reducing the size of
Regardless of how the Iranians managed to extend the range, and regardless
of the likely penalty in warhead weight as compared to the Fateh 110 and its
estimated 600-kilogram payload, Inbar said the precision-delivered system
would be extremely lethal in the hands of Hezbollah.
“It means that from the farthest point in Lebanon, this missile can
accurately hit high-value targets throughout Israel,” he said.
And while Iranian officials have stated that the missile is ready to enter
production, Inbar concurred with the defense official who assessed that the
Fateh 313 was already in serial production. “It won’t be long until dozens
are delivered to the IRGC,” he said.
Uzi Rubin, a prominent missile expert and founding director of the MoD’s
Israel Missile Defense Organization, said that as long as the new missile
remains in Iran, it poses a direct threat to neighboring Arabian Gulf states
and considerable swaths of Saudi Arabia.
“The raison d’etre of this system is to deter the gulf states. ,,, And if
the gulf states are worried, they have very good reason,” he said.
Like other experts, Rubin surmised that the Fateh 313 has already entered
“They’re starting to stockpile the system. The Iranians showcased it in a
storage area,” said Rubin, who, like Inbar, pored over images and video
shown on Iranian state media.
He added that in the hands of Hezbollah or the Iranian-supported regime of
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, “It would be a very effective weapon
Israeli experts here noted that in a conference of the Ahl al-Bayt World
Assembly in Tehran earlier this month, an organization operating under the
supervision of the office of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, clerics and
political leaders flagged Iran’s continued commitment to support and arm
A paper published by the Tel Aviv-based Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism
Information Center quoted Rouhani as telling conference participants that
Iran “flew the flag” of Islamic renaissance and resistance throughout the
world and would continue to do so, despite the July 14 nuclear agreement
between Tehran and world powers.
The paper quoted Ali-Akbar Velayati, Khamenei’s adviser for international
affairs, from an Aug. 15 interview translated from Iran’s Fars News Agency
that “the situation of the resistance front had improved” and that the
nuclear agreement “would make it possible to increase Iran’s support for its
The Israeli intelligence center also quoted from an Aug. 9 Fars News Agency
report in which Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said that Iran
intended to preserve its defensive capabilities and send weapons to its
“He said that without Iran and the weapons it provided to the countries
fighting terrorism, the capital cities of the Middle East would have been
occupied by ISIS,” wrote Raz Zimmt, editor of the paper, titled Spotlight on
Iran, which was published Aug. 23 by the intelligence center.