Director of National Intelligence, Daniel Coats, submitted a report to Congress Thursday, informing them that Iran’s work on their ballistic missile is moving forward, and could certainly be used to launch a nuclear weapon.
In the report, Coats writes:
Iran is pursuing capabilities to meet its nuclear energy and technology goals and to give it the capability to build missile-deliverable nuclear weapons. Ifit chooses to do so. its pursuit of these goals will influence its level of adherence to the JCPOA. We do not know whether Iran will eventually decide to build nuclear weapons.
We judge that Tehran would choose ballistic missiles as its preferred method of delivering nuclear weapons, if it builds them. Iran’s ballistic missiles are inherently capable of delivering WMD, and Tehran already has the largest inventory of ballistic missiles in the Middle East. Tehran’s desire to deter the United States might drive it to field an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM). Progress on Iran’s space program could shorten a pathway to an ICBM because space launch vehicles use similar technologies.
Iran also poses a cyber security threat. Coats said in the report, “Tehran continues to leverage cyber espionage, propaganda, and attacks to support its security priorities, influence events and foreign perceptions and counter threats – including against US allies in the region. Iran has also used its cyber capabilities directly against the United States.”
The report cited two specific incidents: “In 2013, an Iranian hacker conducted an intrusion into the industrial control system of a US dam, and in 2014, Iranian actors conducted a data deletion attack against teh network of a US-based casino.”
Additionally, he states that Iran remains an “enduring threat to US national interests because of Iranian support to anti-US terrorist groups and militants, the Asad regime, Huthi rebels in Yemen, and because of Iran’s development of advanced military capabilities.”
“Iran continues to develop a range of new military capabilities to monitor and target US and allied military assets inthe region, including armed UAVs, ballistic missiles, advanced naval mines, unmanned explosive boats,submarinesand advanced torpedoes, and anti-ship and land-attack cruise missiles. Iran has the largest ballistic missile force inthe Middle East and can striketargets up to 2,000 kilometers from Iran’s borders. Russia’s delivery of the SA-20c surface-to-air missile system in 2016 provides Iran with its most advanced long-range air defense system.”
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