What's a Cruise Missile Doing in Iranian Hands?
Iran's Islamic Revolutionary regime prepared this week to mark the 25th anniversary of its victory over the Shah by launching a sophisticated missile dubbed Raad and its accompanying advanced radar system designated DM-3b. Minister of defense Rear Admiral Ali Shamkhani led the ceremony in full naval dress uniform.
The official handout described the radar system as navigating and guiding the combatant missile in its final stage. The medium-range Raad missile is equipped with a self-guidance device. Shamkhani enthused: the two systems manufactured in Iran's state aviation industry further enhance the capabilities of Iranian armed forces.
What the handout did not reveal was that Raad is no ordinary coastal or shipboard projectile but a cruise missile, capable of halting Personal Gulf shipping by blockading the Hormuz Strait. It can also choke off incoming and outgoing sea traffic via the Shatt al-Arb, Iraq's only exit point for its oil exports and entrance for its vital imports.
DEBKA-Net-Weekly's Gulf sources report launching bases for the new missiles are going up at four places on Iran's Gulf coast: the northern end at Bandar a-Khomeini opposite the mouth of the Shatt al-Arb and facing Kuwait and Bahrain, at Bushehr, site of its nuclear reactor, at the big Bandar Abbas naval base and Revolutionary Guards headquarters, and at Bandar e–Lengeh west of Qeshm Island.
From these installations, Iranian missiles will cover the tanker and merchant ship lanes leading into the Persian Gulf from the Indian Ocean through the Gulf of Aden.
A fifth launching base will be located on the small highly-strategic island of Great Tumb situated just north of the Hormuz Strait at the mouth of the Gulf.
According to our military experts, the locations of the new Raad missile bases betray both aggressive intent and determination to defend Iran's Gulf shore from assault by warships or hostile marine landings. Iran's military command appears to be preparing the country's national defenses for an anticipated American attack in the course of 2004 or early 2005.