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Iran’s arsenal for attack: advanced ballistic missiles and drones

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Iran’s arsenal for attack: advanced ballistic missiles and drones

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Iran’s threat of “retaliation” against Israel has put the spotlight back on the arsenal of the Islamic Republic, starting with the two central tools in the offensive on Tel Aviv: the missiles and drones at Tehran’s disposal.

On the missile front, the Iranian news agency ISNA has mapped the nine devices that could directly hit Israel in the event of an attack. The list, cited by Reuters, includes the «Sejil», capable of flying at more than 17 thousand km per hour and with a range of 2,500 km, the «Kheibar», with a range of 2 thousand km and the «Haj Qasem”, with a range of 1,400 km and named in homage to the commander of the Quds Force Qasem Soleimani, killed by the United States in 2020.

As for drones, a technology that makes Iran one of the largest producers in the world, Tehran declared in August the construction of an advanced drone, called Mohajer-10. Its characteristics are a range of 2 thousand km and the ability to fly for up to 24 hours with a payload of 300 kg. Tehran defends its arsenal of ballistic missiles as a weapon of deterrence against the United States, Israel and other “potential targets in the region”, confirming its interest in expanding it. One of the latest announcements on the matter came in July 2023 when Irna, the country’s official news agency, reported the presentation of Tehran’s first hypersonic ballistic missile, described by the authorities as capable of flying five times faster than speed of sound and on complex trajectories to intercept. The Iranian arsenal is completed with a wide range of short and medium range missiles and cruise missiles, cruise missiles that move on a guided trajectory. In the block of short and medium range ones mapped by the Arms Control Association, a research center in Washington DC, appear the Shahab-1 (range of 300 km), the Zolfaghar (700 km), the Shahab-3 (800- 1,000 km) and the two missiles under development Emad-1 (up to 2 thousand km) and Sejil (1,500-2,500 km). Among the “cruise” missiles, Tehran is equipped with models such as the Kh-55, nuclear-capable air-launched weapons with a range of up to 3,000 km and the advanced Khalid Farzh anti-ship missile, characterized by a range of approximately 300 km and capable of carrying a 1000 kilo warhead.

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An offensive on Israel would be equivalent to Iran’s official involvement in the conflict, which has so far been experienced with an indirect contribution to the cause of Hamas. Over the years, Tehran has woven a network of anti-Israeli alliances that fall under the so-called “axis of Resistance”: a network of agreements that range from the Lebanese militiamen of Hezbollah to the Yemeni Houthi rebels, up to the dozens of armed groups that appeared in Post-2003 Iraq or pro-Assad forces operating in Syria. Precisely in Damascus, the cradle of the possible casus belli of the Israeli attack, the militiamen of the Sons of Jazira and Euphrates Movement operate: a force that the US think tank The Washington Institute for Near East Policy frames as a “tribal militia” in harmony with Assad and hostile to the West.

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