A new U.S. Defense Department report to congress says that Iran might have the ability to strike the U.S. with nuclear weapons by 2015.
The report, which was submitted to congress on April 19, has an unclassified analysis that outlines near term and long term threats from Iran. The threats include the country’s nuclear ambitions and its desire to expand its influence throughout the Middle East.
“With sufficient foreign assistance,” the report states, “Iran could probably develop and test an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of reaching the United States by 2015.” The report also says that “Iran’s nuclear program and its willingness to keep open the possibility of developing nuclear weapons is a central part of its deterrent strategy.”
According to information from the Department of Defense:
The written report to Congress cited Iran’s influence in the Middle East — including its proxies Hezbollah and Hamas, in Lebanon and Gaza, respectively — and its reach into Iraq and Afghanistan. Military and defense officials have characterized such behavior as “destabilizing.”
Defense officials have been saying that Iran is one of the top security challenges for the United States. In an April 14 briefing, Michele Flournoy, undersecretary of defense for policy, told the Senate Armed Services Committee that President Obama’s administration sees the challenges posed by Iran as a top national security concern.
According to an April 20 Global Security Newswire report, Iran’s missile capabilities are of serious concern.
Tehran’s missile capabilities are a concern given suspicions in Washington and other capitals that the Middle Eastern nation hopes to develop nuclear weapons — an assertion long denied in Tehran. The Obama administration has been pursuing new economic restrictions aimed at curbing Iran’s atomic activities (see related GSN story, today).