The Iranian government claims to have tested a new anti-aircraft missile Nov. 18 in a military exercise aimed at pressuring the West.
The Christian Science Monitor reports the test of Iran’s new anti-aircraft missile was designed to send leaders at a North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) summit in Lisbon, Portugal, a warning. Iran’s goal was to get NATO leaders to back off their plans to strengthen their defenses with an anti-aircraft missile shield.
The range of the missile which was fired is yet unknown, but experts believe Iran doesn’t have the capability to strike targets at an extended range as of yet. Iran claims to have replicated a Soviet-era S-200 missile and improved upon its design.
Iran’s latest military maneuver was supposed to rattle NATO allies as they congregate in Lisbon Nov. 19-20. Thus far, NATO has been unable and unwilling to oblige Iran accordingly.
Iran’s Military Aggression
Iran has been engaged in military exercises designed to show off its improved home-grown defense force. With a trade embargo against Iran, it has little choice but to create its own weapons and missile systems.
Russia came under pressure from its allies to deny sales of any advanced rockets to Iran, citing their nuclear ambitions. The missile firing also comes on the eve of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s meeting with his Russian counterpart, Dmitri Medvedev in Azerbaijan.
The current NATO summit is being held to address what needs to happen to the organization over the next 10 years. One of the priorities for the 28-member military alliance is to develop a missile shield with the cooperation of Russia for common defensive purposes.
Nowhere has NATO stated the missile defense has anything to do with Iran specifically. Other goals of the summit include making NATO forces more deployable and mobile if needed. The dismantling of four of 11 command bases is also slated for discussion.
NATO Summit Goals
The goals of the NATO summit are simple. The alliance was originally created to combat the spread of communism and the Soviet Union. That purpose evaporated 20 years ago. Now it’s time to update and modernize the alliance to combat new threats.
Iran is trying its best to become relevant and get noticed by Western leaders through test-firing an antiquated missile system. Thus far, the country has not made much progress. With arms embargoes to Iran, any weapons it gains will have to be bought on the black market or developed themselves. In either scenario, NATO must be prepared.
For now it appears Iran accomplished very little by test-firing their anti-aircraft missile. If that fact changes in the near future, NATO’s goal is to be ready.
Peterson, Scott, “Iran missile system tested, rhetoric sharpened on eve of NATO summit,”Christian Science Monitor.
NATO, “Summit meetings of Heads of State and Government,” NATO.int.